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.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 4, Yr B)

THE SERPENT DIES
(Numbers 21: 4-9; John 3: 14-21)

No need to explain how the serpent’s bite
surfaces (stealthy as the coming of night)
while you’re reading the news; or worried and alone;
or when suffering long; or when a doctor intones
challenging words; or when darkness falls;
or the voice on the end of the telephone call
declares a once-loved relationship done;
when hope seems lost, when joy seems gone.

No need to explain how this serpent hides
next door to our hearts, marks left inside
where poison drips from the tip of its fangs:
in rage, in bitterness, in lonely pangs
of guilt and regret; in the resentments we bear.
And in hurts that we cause we do our own share
of spreading its toxin and resulting grief.
The serpent is death – the fear of it.  Relief

ever seems to elude us; but we may declare
its ultimate defeat; for above its shadow there
rises greater light – see, lifted up,
the one who for us drank the cup
of suffering, whose love even in death
conquered its evil; by whose living breath
we also may thrive. We turn trusting eyes,
snake-bitten, upon Christ, and the serpent dies.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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

MENDING THEIR NETS
(Mark 1: 14-20)

It is a day that could be like any other.

The water is calm in the morning light
as the gulls thread the air with their singing.

The sun is warm on the backs of their necks
as the fishermen bend to their mending.

The blunted points of their wooden needles
float in, float out of the webbing –

create a loop, pinch with finger and thumb,
thread the needle through and then around again,

tighten the knot, pick up the next mesh –
callused hands repeating the operation

that has been handed down, fathers to sons,
from generation to generation.

The net’s hole rapidly closes. Conversation
weaves in, weaves out while they’re working,

returning often to talk of a preacher
whose words have set their hopes rising,

the hopes handed down like the knowledge
in their hands, woven into the fabric of living.

The wind is warm on the cheeks of his face
as the preacher comes near with his message.

The world is torn, there is brokenness of heart,
there are wounds everywhere in creation.

But the preacher has news, good news of change:
that God’s healing love is accessible,

and he knows this good news can mend the torn world,
can be threaded into every heart’s beating.

Now the preacher is calling them, calling their names,
calling them to take up new labour,

calling them to see, with the vision of hope,
people gathered in newness of community,

one they will help build, like a great catch of fish,
abundant with fresh possibility.

The water is calm in the morning light
and the gulls continue their singing.

The sun is warm on the backs of their necks
as the fishermen join Christ in his mending.

It is a day that is not – and yet could be – like any other . . .