Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr. A, 2020)

WILDERNESS
(Matthew 4: 1-11)

How few of us know wilderness,
here in these towns, sprawling cities,
the gray of their streets,
green shrunk down to
dots of lawn, patches of park,
the remnant trees silent
in their memories of an earth
mourning its lost forests
as Rachel would mourn for her children.

Perhaps this is wilderness: this loss
of wild nature, its replacement by
concrete and asphalt and steel,
its thinning rivers, its sickened oceans,
its creatures dwindling like the leaves
of a disease-stricken tree.

Perhaps this wilderness is where
the Christ must come today:
into this new human solitude,
this place slowly being emptied
of all life not our own,
this place where even God
becomes harder to find,
our relationship to the divine
put under hard pressure,
our temptation to be ourselves
the only god we will serve,
tempted to pretend we are invulnerable.

O Holy One, come into this,
our self-made wilderness.
Come be with us in the loneliness of
our cell phones and computers,
come be with us in our hunger
for the meaning of our life,
come into the wasteland we
are making of the earth,
this kingdom of our arrogance where
we so often forget the life-giving love of God.

O Holy One, help us here,
before this wilderness becomes
one we do not
know how to leave.

Copyright ©2020 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 5, Yr A)

COME FROM THE FOUR WINDS, O BREATH
(Ezekiel 37: 1-14, John 11: 1-45)

All across the valley, scattered like stones,
lie the remnants of life in dry piles of bones,
and the flesh that was joy is long, long gone.
Shall the bones live again?
Ask the wind for its song.

The bones are as white as the teeth of the sun;
the bones are reminders that hope is all done,
and the tears of our grief are flowing on and on.
Shall the bones live again?
Ask the wind for its song.

Tears flow in the valleys in the lands of death,
but the Spirit is coming with new life-giving breath:
flesh again will clothe bone where once there was none.
And we will stand again
to join the wind in its song.

See the Christ at the graveside, Christ with his tears;
hear the voice that speaks love to our pain and our fears,
and hear his command
to let the shroud be undone.
In Christ we live again,
sings the wind in its song.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

HELP US TO SEE
(John 9: 1-41)

What would we see, Lord,
if you healed our blindness today?

Would we see you at work
in the ones we think to be sinful?

Would we see you at work
among the outcasts of the world?

Would we see your love
for the poor, the homeless, the hungry?

Would we see your compassion
for the weak, the helpless, the afraid?

Would we see you
in the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee?

Would we see your likeness – can we grasp it –
in each one of ourselves?

Help us to see, Lord. Heal our blindness today.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

WAITING AT THE WELL
(John 4: 5-42)

How often have I come here,
Jesus, to this place of
old faith and fresh neediness,
bent down with the burden
of my failures, stumbling
in my thirsting for hopefulness,
the cracked vessel of my heart
leaking grief. . .

how often have I come here
not expecting you in the heat
of my pressures,
not expecting you in the stress
of my confusion,
yet meeting you
who offers water to the helpless,
who quenches the raw thirst
for acceptance,
who gives the deep sustenance
of kindness without payment,
the nourishment of love without limit. . .

how often have you met me,
refilling my heart, leaving me
astonished again in the depths of my being
that you waited here
for me, even me?

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr A)

THE CROSS CASTS ITS SHADOW
(Matthew 4: 1-11)

Pressured by hunger’s insistent immediacy
the test is to resist mere expediency.
He tosses a stone from his dusty hand.

Urged to consider an evident mortality
the test is to embrace the human reality.
His feet stay firm upon the patient land.

Confronted by power’s alluring temptation
the test is to live out a servant’s station.
He chooses to reject an earthly command.

O needy ones, humble ones, mortal and frail,
consider the Saviour’s sacrificial scale.
See the cross cast its shadow on the desert sand.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Palm Sunday, Yr C)

CRY BLESSÉD
(Luke 19: 28-40; John 12: 12-16)

Now comes the giver of peace to the troubled,
now comes the bringer of hope to the weak;
now comes the healer with strength for the hurting;
rides on a donkey the king that we seek.

Now comes the hen to the den of the foxes,
now come the gentle wings open and wide
to comfort the fearful, gather the lost ones;
wings pierced with nails, a wound in the side.

Now comes the Word who is good news among us,
now comes the Shepherd who lays down his life;
behold him, the Lamb of God’s saving mercy;
the Light against whom the darkness will rise.

Blesséd the One who brings God’s love and justice;
blesséd the One who calls us to the same;
blesséd the One who can break death’s dominion;
blesséd the One who has come in God’s name.

Lift high the branches, the palm leaves of praising;
cover with garments of praise the hard ground;
soon comes betrayal, too soon the injustice;
too soon the grief and forgotten the song.

Cry “blesséd!” the One who goes through the trial,
cry “blesséd!” the One who suffers the pain;
cry “blesséd!” the One who bleeds God’s forgiveness.
Cry “blesséd!” the One who’s with us in God’s name.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King


For a slightly lighter treatment, may I suggest “The Story Of Palm Sunday (As Told For The Young)”, found here.

Poem for the Sunday Lectionary (Lent 5, Yr C)

THE ANOINTING
(John 12: 1-11)

Already the sun has set, pulling the light from the sky behind it.
Already the shadows have detached themselves from lamps
and clustered in the corners of the room.

As the smells of the eaten meal begin to fade, the talk to rise,
you sense the time has come to take the jar, the alabaster jar,
the one you have kept so long, and almost holding your breath,

you kneel at the feet of Jesus.
His eyes on you are gentle, seeming to see into your heart,
into your own private shadows, but his love casts out your fear

as you untie his sandals’ thongs and open the lid of the jar
to the powerfully fragrant amber-coloured nard.
The oil slowly pours. The first drops hit the ankles, flow

downward over the bones toward the rough skin of his heels,
spreading over the curved top of the foot. Still you pour this thanks,
this liquid praise, running it to his toes, dripping it from the insteps

while the fragrance builds and builds, ascending like the incense
in the temple, rising from this altar of bones and skin,
skin a shade of road dust, veins the colour of sorrow

which you drape with your hair of midnight, letting it fall
and tumble, and as you use your hair like a towel the fragrance soaks
you both, smell of awe and holiness, smell of love and sacrifice,

scent of light and shadow in a wave like something approaching
that will be stronger than death and burial, that will fill the house
of mind and heart like a perfumed burst

of dawn.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King