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

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

RETURN
(Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32)

The shadow of a cloud moves over the road,
over the fields, passes the distant house.
You shade your eyes from uncovered sun,
your brown hand holding dirt
under brittle nails.

There in the fields your father’s workers
are bending. Your empty stomach moans.
You’ve rehearsed your speech. Shuffled the words
in your mouth like dusty pebbles – the taste
of shame, bitter, sharp as stone.

How frail those words seem now as you pause
on your oh-so-weary feet, the smell of the sows
still on your clothes, stuck like the memory
of other words: the ones you used that day
you demanded your inheritance –

as if your father, to you, were already dead.
Now you wonder what there will be
in those eyes, what words will come
from his mouth. Your brother you know:
strict, unbending, rigid as the tools

that work the crops; his words will be iron blades.
And you feel you deserve nothing else
from the ones you insulted and deserted.
But your hunger today overpowers your fear
and you start your feet on the long dirt lane

that leads to the house of your father.
There is a stir in the field. A figure shouts,
a man is running toward you. And suddenly
time seems to speed all motion as the earth
tilts down toward that figure, the familiar face,

the arms so strong, the arms that now reach
to enfold you; and the voice you’d forgotten
calls for a robe and a ring and a feast prepared;
and the world itself is blurring, it’s blazing,
as light through your tears begins dancing;

and there is your brother, last to come in,
and rather reluctantly smiling; but
the music plays, and you think what you hear
is all heaven and your father singing,
and the words to the song are all the same word,

for it’s love that you need:
love that you left,
love you have found in returning.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

HOW THE TREE WAS SAVED
(Luke 13: 1-9)

We can go there, to the vineyard,
where it’s still and green and lovely
in the luminous morning.

We can walk through
the tidy rows of vines,
to that corner with the leaning tree.
We can stand together
in the shadows of the leaves,
long and lush and fragrant.

We can touch our hands
to the gentle bark,
ask our bodies to sense
the hidden pulse of its life,
to hear the song of its veins.

I can show you the places
where the gardener turned
the sod that parted like flesh,
the dirt dripping from the shovel’s blade,
dropping like a kind of blood.

We will know how the gardener
mixed in the manure,
aromas rising
with the heat of the sun,
mingling with sweat from hot skin.

Imagine the roots newly hungry –
imagine them drinking, their thirsty tongues,
seeking the life-giving food.

Our gazes will lift and find
the ripening figs,
the fruit to be harvested in fall.

We can go there, to where
it’s green and lovely,
where the gardener does his hard work.

There is his spade.
See the wooden handle.
See its shape. So like a cross.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King