Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +10, Yr C)

SONNET FOR AN UNFINISHED GROWER
(Isaiah 5: 1-7; Psalm 80: 8-19)

She steps among the briers and the thorns,
her grieving heart unsure of what she’ll find.
The ruin of what once were luscious vines,
the wreck of so much love: it makes her mourn.

Here and there among the tangle of weeds
a lonely vine still shows, and small clusters
of green globes defiant; and she musters
hope that it can be saved. She knows the need

will be for sweat and toil and tears, love’s pain.
She sighs, her bent knees touch the soil, fingers
reach and tug. Is thus how God’s love lingers
to till our hearts and tangled world again?

Perhaps this vineyard yet can grow as meant
the fruits of justice, leaves of peace unbent.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

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Poem For the Sunday Lectionary, Epiphany 2, Yr. C

FOR THE JAR OF THE EMPTY HEART
(John 2: 1-11)

Sometimes, through no particular fault
of your own, the accumulated cares
of life build up and the storage vault
that holds your strength and hope goes bare.

Sometimes you gaze in longing east
to see the light of the dawn breaking
but clouds block the sun. And that feast,
that celebration you intended making

of life: sometimes the songs won’t come,
laughter fades, and like wine run dry
the jar of joy stands empty, a hollow drum.
But what if God knows this, and why

Jesus came to the wedding feast that day
was to show that God is with us in those
times of barren dryness, when what may
fill our heart’s jar are only tears, lid closed,

and lost the way to hope’s refreshing well. . .
What if Jesus comes that day expressly to spill
into that void his fresh and living water, telling
darkness to roll back for light, filling

the waiting jar of the empty heart
with Love’s own Presence: finest wine indeed.
Yes, Christ comes that life’s feast may truly start —
Love both source and goal, our deepest need.

So fill us to our brims, life-giving One;
may we be sharers in your earthly story.
May we spill love and joy ‘til that realm has come
that fills this precious world with all your glory.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent IV, Yr. C)

THE CHILD LEAPS IN ELIZABETH’S WOMB
(Luke 1: 39-45)

The child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb
to greet God’s coming gift:
may mothers and infants everywhere
share in that blesséd lift.

May hungry children leap for joy
that hunger soon will end;
that suffering ones, that fearful ones,
find help from heaven’s friends.

In this world so torn by hate, may
each know love’s embrace.
May those who’ve felt the pain of war
know peace is heaven’s face.

The child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb.
In us is there a twin?
May hearts everywhere join in eager response
to God’s love, near, within.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Advent 2, Yr C)

THE RIGHT TIME
(Luke 3: 1-6)

It had lain in the corner of the room,
an old box long unopened, collecting dust.
It had stood upon the top shelf of the cupboard,
a jar almost forgotten, tightly sealed.
But it was time.

The sun had risen as it always does,
people moved through streets, the thirsty fields.
The rulers of the world still issued edicts.
The poor still suffered and struggled.
Aching hearts in shadow.
The empire complacent in its harsh control.

Everywhere the accepted routines of life.

But in this John knew that the time had come.
Time to take down the almost forgotten jar,
to open at long last the dusty box of hope
and set free the contents strong as
pungent clouds of incense, strong as
inescapable swarms of stinging bees.
Time to disrupt the usual routine.
Time to release the remembered promise
of a God who is out to shake the empires
of the trapped and desperately dreamless
sleeping world.
John knew it was the right time then.
It remains the right time now.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +26, Yr B)

PRAY FOR US, HANNAH
(1 Samuel 1: 4-20)

Pray for us, Hannah, in our bleakness, our barrenness,
God’s realm in us slow in coming to birth.
Pray for us here in our struggles, our brokenness,
yearning for justice to come to the earth.

Pray for us, Hannah, in the world’s night of lovelessness,
around us the hurting so often unheard.
Pray that all those who cry out in their helplessness
receive for their cries an answering word.

Pray for us, Hannah: the foundations are shaking
that underlie hope for a new world to come.
Pray that we discover God’s will in us waking,
calling forth faithful response to love’s drum.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

For a poem on the Gospel lesson for this Sunday,
may I suggest “With Painful Groans

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr B)

CHOICES OF GOD
(Ruth 3: 1-5, 4:13-17)

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” 1 Cor. 1:27

How foolish of you, God, to choose
these weak ones, these widows,

these powerless in their poverty,
these vulnerable, so needy,

migrants seeking refuge,
landless, needing shelter,
hungry and hurting for food.

What use can the weak ever possibly be
to your hope for an earth made new,
your will for a world transformed?

What use can they be, so often ignored
by the rich, abused by the strong?

But we see these seemingly
insignificant women
become agents of your power in the world,

agents of history, progenitors of change,
contributors to our hoped-for salvation.

How foolish your choices
may seem to us, Holy One.
Yet how wise and how mighty
in the end.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3, Yr A)

EMMAUS ROAD
(Luke 24: 13-35)

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that I think it passes not far from my church,
runs through the local shopping mall,
runs through the main street of town,
through the neighborhoods where the houses
are so close together;
runs almost anywhere today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that maybe those who walk on it,
lonely in their grieving, stressed in their worrying,
fearful and anxious and searching for hope,
they look like me in the mirror some days,
and sometimes they look like you,
like just about anybody today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that the place where Jesus meets us,
where he shows up to walk and talk with us,
to come into our kitchens and break bread with us,
or where he reveals himself to us in the stranger,
in the person we can’t imagine as God’s beloved,
that place could be almost anyplace today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that I think I have some of the smell of it
soaking through to my skin when it rains;
have some of the dust of it sticking right here
on the leather of my worn-out shoes;
and this morning, in the sanctuary, the light
pouring in, isn’t that Christ sitting next to me
in the pew?

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King