Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 2, Yr A)

STILL HUNGRY FOR THE DREAM
(Isaiah 11: 1-10, Matthew 3: 1-12, Romans 15: 4-13)

See the vision, hear the message:
wolf and lamb lying down in peace,
nothing hurting, nothing wronging,
war and violence all ceased.

Jesse’s stump shall grow new blossom,
from that root new branch and leaf,
come to judge the world with justice,
come to heal the needy’s grief.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

In the wilderness a preacher
burns our souls like desert sand,
calling for fruit of repentance,
says the kingdom is at hand.

There is One, says John, who’s coming,
who’s the One that we desire.
He will bathe you, not in Jordan,
but in the Holy Spirit’s fire.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

Open up the heart to hoping:
Christ the light that leads to day.
Hear the message, see the vision,
as the prophets point the way.

          Saviour, can you help our hearts,
          still hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Saviour, help us now to turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

HERE WE COME, JOHN
(Luke 3: 1-6, Luke 1: 68-79, Malachi 3: 1-4)

Here we come, John, to you in the wilderness
walking hot sands in the empire of death

carrying our hope like a child in its weakness
carrying our need like a babe seeking breath

our souls weeping tears of the griefs of the ages
our hearts bleeding pain of the stress of our years

yearning like birds seeking freedom from cages
for newness and fullness of life free from fear

and facing the mountains that tower with injustice
and dreading the valleys grown deep with despair

and craving the dawn of a new day upon us
and wondering how current God’s promise of care

we come to you, John, and you preach repentance
and wash us in Jordan in refreshment’s release

that we might experience the joy of forgiveness
and on the world’s roads walk a pathway of peace

so speak to us, here, in or out of wild places
that our lives like gold or silver refined

mirror God’s goodness as we lift up our faces
to follow the Coming One with new heart and mind.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +7, Yr B)

THE APPROACHING
(Mark 6: 14-29)

Lamp light catches the edge of the sword
just before its swing
and for an instant there is
a memory
of sunlight dancing on water
and droplets glittering in air
as his hands pour Jordan
over the bowed head of one
who, standing there,
has brought all hope
into one sharp focus,
and John smiles,
his heart already soaring
toward the approaching dove
as the blade begins to descend.

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

VOICE OF JOHN
(John 1: 6-8, 19-28)

Voice of John,
die not away.

Among us stands one
we do not know:

still point the way.

In our world of dread,
in our world of death,
in our longing lives

still point the way.

Where love is lost,
where anger soars,
to tear-stung eyes

still point the way.

Where peace is not,
where joys are few,
in our broken cries

still point the way.

In our search for truth,
in our search for hope,
amid the world’s lies

still point the way.

Among us stands one
we need to know;
our questions rise.

Still point the way.

Voice of John,
die not away.
Be heard today.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 2, Yr B)

AT THE EDGE
(Mark 1: 1-8)

You shuffle your feet at the water’s edge,
shield your eyes with your hand
from the blaze of the sun,
take another glance at the face
of the man in the river
that long ago was the boundary

between an old life and new, and you hear
his word of summons, words
that urge repentance for preparation
for the Anointed,
and he offers the water to flow
over your skin as a sign

that your sins have been forgiven,
and he’s saying there is One
coming after him to baptize
not with water but the Holy Spirit of God,
so that you think, as you stand there
at the edge of the river, how on the edge

you are of something quite powerful
that feels larger than words, than
the mightiest river, washing over and into you,
drowning your heart with something
like joy, like the goodness of a hope
you’re almost afraid to believe in,

but every time you shuffle
your feet as if to leave
they grow a little wetter with the water,
until at last you take a step, and then
another, and again, until it’s you
waist deep with John the Baptizer,

and the sun beating down on the flowing
surface seems to say
“Yes!” to your heart
which isn’t drowning after all,
which in fact, in your chest,
has gone striding into the world,

following the sun past the river to
what comes next on the horizon,
amazed, expectant, praising.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 1; The Baptism of Jesus)

JOHN BAPTIZES JESUS

(MATTHEW 3: 13-17)

He takes the light that dances on the flowing surface of the water.
He takes the dancing water that is filled with the flowing light.
He has waded into the river that is umbilical with life.
He is waist deep in the life that flows umbilical through the river.

He stands with the man whose words are pitchers of grace and light.
Stands with the man whose grace is like life, like a flowing river.
He fills his pitcher with the water, with the light, with the flow of life.
He pours it over the man waist deep with him in the water.

Grace descends, glittering, like wings unfurling in the air.
The air shimmers, it dances with sound, sounds of the river
flowing, the water pouring, the men breathing; the light glittering,
grace flooding, the wings beating, words surfacing: God’s son.

He hears, he sees, he is soaked in the sound and the light and the water.
He rejoices in the gift of it, he rejoices in the grace, in the one
who is standing there with him in the water.
For he knows that all of it is goodness. That all is a new beginning.
That all of it is part of God’s river.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

A Poem for the Sunday Lectionary (Advent 3)

To John, In Prison (Matthew 11: 2-11)

We walked with you into the ancestral river,
up to our knees in the noisy past
– feeling the way it constantly
pushes against us – hearing
with you the river retell our story:
the journeys made to new beginnings,
the missteps, the slips, the falls
that overwhelmed us, nearly drowned,
swept away – seeming to regain
just enough of our footing as the tides
of nations surged, as they surge
around us today.

In the hurts we suffered and committed
you saturated us,
in our regrets and in our prayers
you immersed us, lifting us then
not just from the river but
toward the air and the sun.

With you we smelled the freshness of the water,
shook off insincerity, duplicity like dust.
With you we’ve breathed hope, prophets remembered,
promises rehearsing of a joyful day to come.
With you we’ve stood and waited,
even in present imprisonment,
even as stuttering torches spit light at shadows
that seem to mock all hoping, all night long;
waiting to be reassured that justice will be done.

We continue to be with you, John, in the darkness,
yearning for more than another day to dread:
yearning for a sign that old promises can be trusted,
that prophet visions can be touched at last –
that life can be renewed wherever death has entered.
We are yearning for the river to refresh us again.
We are yearning for someone to refresh us again.

Copyright © 2013 by Andrew King