Poem For The Sunday Lectionary — The Baptism Of Jesus (First Sunday of Epiphany, Yr. C)

THE WATERS
(Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22)

They’re nearby, those waters,
the waters that bathed
the feet of John, the feet of Jesus.

Those waters long ago
went down to the Dead Sea.
And left there,
caught up by the sun’s hands
to the wide and warm welcome of sky.
And left there,
moving on wind’s wings, carried
like a ship seeking haven in the
bays of an undiscovered world.

And dropped again, those waters,
from vast jars of gray cloud
onto the iced slopes of tall mountains,
the green grasses of deep valleys,
dampening the brown dusts of dry plains.

And they left there
to travel the silver streams of high mountain highways,
to hurl the white spray from the teeth of wild rapids,
to draw gentle curves under bent branches of willows,
to rest in blue lakes or to join at last
the oceans’ long shore-washing songs.

And the waters leave there
on their journey unending, these
holy waters that bathed Eve,
that Adam drank in Eden,
that stood back from Moses
and the slaves fleeing Egypt,
these waters
that ran down the face of Jesus, that
washed over his skin, that glittered
in the bounced light from the Jordan
while torn open heavens declared
how beloved is this blessed Child.

So come, let us seek the same waters.
We find them in the places that are holy,
all the places God made to receive them —
the brown pond where the geese gather their numbers,
the quick river where the trout flashes its fins,
the quiet lake where the crying gulls circle,
the hands you cup under the faucet
to splash cool wetness to your face —
every place
where to all who have ears to hear it
a voice on behalf of heaven still proclaims
how beloved, how beloved forever we are.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 3, Yr. C)

THE FLOW OF GRACE IS WHAT ERODES THE STONE
(Luke 3: 7-18)

John has news to tell that’s not well known:
the Coming One redraws the social chart.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

In fertile soil of love is God’s realm grown
that flowers in earthly justice, part by part.
John has news to tell that’s not well known.

God’s reign, therefore, in actions must be shown;
our kindness be the way it makes its start.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

Sharing, compassion, caring: these set the tone;
and from these paths of peace let none depart.
John has news to tell that’s not well known.

Be sure no greed or hate will share the throne;
we know God’s reign by love’s own gentle art.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

So change me, God, within, spirit and bone.
Break the selfish shell around my heart.
I listen for the news that’s not well known:
God’s flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

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

WHY YOU LEAVE YOUR NETS AND FOLLOW
(Matthew 4: 12-23)

Because your hope for that kingdom
has teased the edge of your thoughts
the way waters tease the edge of the shore

because his words stir that hope
in the depths of your soul
the way wind stirs the waves of the sea

because you sense that his love
like a sea without bounds
is as large as the needs of the world

and because he’s called you by name
and the heart in you swims
toward that love, toward joy, toward home

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +4, Yr C)

FORGIVEN
(Luke 7:36 – 8:3)

As if with a great wound healed,
bleeding sealed and the pain
of each day’s deep cuts gone
though not forgotten,
she pours in thanks the salt gift of her tears.

As if with a great weight lifted,
straightening a back bent low by defeat,
bonds of grief that daily crippled
undone though not forgotten,
she makes of his feet an altar for her praise.

As if with precious treasure blessed,
spilling the cupped heart’s richness and
an inner ache of emptiness stilled
though not forgotten,
she anoints the dusty feet with finest oil.

As if in new skin clothed
and shining showing the lovely blood
of a lost life found, saved
and not forgotten,
she wipes his feet with the gentleness of her hair.

And as if with her among us, we at table gathered,
graced, and Christ’s goodness touching,
hearing our own names called
in forgiveness never to be forgotten –
open our hearts and hands to serve him
in loving joyfulness of life.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3,Yr C)

LORD, BE THE ONE WHO READS TO US
(Luke 4: 14-21)

Lord, be the one who reads to us this morning.

Speak to us the words of Holy Scripture.

May your words enter the air like breezes wafting,
enter the air like spring rain strongly falling,
like birds dipping and diving over the quiet pond
of your people’s attentive listening.

Let your words enter our blood like quick fish swimming,
swimming as if exploring the streams of home,
urgent as if to seek a place of spawning,
flashing like dreams reflecting on memory’s stones.

May your words enter our minds as sharpened instruments,
edged like a master carpenter’s metal tools
that cut into the wood of hardened thinking,
that cut across the grain of dark imaginings,
that carve out bold new shapes for our minds to use.

Let your words burn in our hearts as fragments of flame
with brightness almost beyond our eyes’ beholding,
kindling fires of hope from despair’s dark ashes
in visions of life reborn from oppression’s shadow,
vivid with joy and the glory of grace unveiled.

Then let the words sing in our souls like a harmony of nations
chorusing together in thanks for a world made new.
And the song that rises like sun in the freshness of morning
is the music of your people praising what God’s love can do.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +11, Yr B)

RECIPE FOR THE BREAD OF LIFE
(John 6: 35, 41-51)

Start with the Word made flesh –
full of grace and truth.

Add living water
drawn from the spring
that gushes to eternal life.

Mix with the Spirit
that blows where it will.

Flavour with fruit
of the true and living vine.
(Note: will contain love.
Will produce joy that is full.
)

And most importantly of all:

Give Jesus’ flesh for the life of the world.
(Requires a cross.
Leaves an empty tomb.
Serves: God’s beloved world.
)

Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +10, Yr B)

PRESENCE
(John 6: 24-35)

We looked for him on the east side,
looked for him after eating
the loaves and fishes, after
they collected the leftovers, 12 baskets-full –

looked for him among the dreams
of a king of conquering power –

looked for him among the memories
of manna long ago –

dream-memories of a then,
of a when-God-was-with-us

      (the way we look for life in possessions,
      among belongings, career obsessions,
      our hearts sifting sand for hope and joy) –

and did not find him there;

so crossed the lake to find him
where he had left behind
the leftovers,
the once-upon-a-past

to share the life not found in heaping baskets,
not found in power or possessions,
yet satisfying the longing of the
searching, hungry heart –

the love, the grace, that
can best be known in now

being the bread from heaven
that is God with us today,
no matter the side of the lake
where we are found.