Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +15)

ALL OF GRACE
Matthew 20: 1-16

Like sun that shines the same on every face,
both vineyard and the work, the owner’s gift.
We learn at end of day it’s all of grace.

Upon the earth each person has their place
as surely as each star its nightly shift,
and sunlight falls the same on every face.

By mercy we’re all winners of the race;
by mercy every lowly gets a lift:
by mercy do we learn it’s all of grace.

God’s vineyard spans the globe; there’s lots of space
for all who hear God’s call to heal its rifts
like sunlight chasing pain from every face.

Let none begrudge the width of God’s embrace
which reaches from the safe to those adrift.
We learn at end of day it’s all of grace.

Until our human love can keep apace
with God’s, may labour be a sharing of the gift
that shines like sun the same on every face.
At end of day, we praise: it’s all of grace.

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +14)

FORGIVENESS IS . . .
Matthew 18: 21-35

Forgiveness is sending flowers
with a card of congratulations
to one who has come through
suffering: yourself.

Forgiveness is taking the stone
that broke the blade of the plow
and transferring it to the center
of your garden.

Forgiveness is digging a hole
into cracked and thirsty earth
and not just pouring in water
but planting a tree.

Forgiveness is emptying the goblet
into which you poured the poison
and placing it, clean and shining,
on the farthest shelf.

Forgiveness is shaking loose
the pinched, cracked skin
you have been living in
and leaving it behind for the crows.

Forgiveness is tearing in two the curtains
that enclosed your heart’s hurting
and letting in the dusty light
to bathe the wound.

Forgiveness is removing the pins
from the wings of two
dead butterflies
and watching both those butterflies
fly away free.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +7)

NO TIME LEFT FOR WAITING
(Matthew 13: 44-52)

No time for spreadsheets,
for the accountant’s calculations.
No time for checking the agenda,
the meetings scheduled.
No time for the radio station’s
business headlines,
for Googling the financial news.
Let the other hunters continue
to dig on their various islands –
places you have tried before,
long through the soulless days,
the heartless nights –
today you have discovered
the riches you’ve been waiting for,
searching for,
you and the world waiting and searching,
your whole life.
No time for the rear-view mirror.
No time for the GPS to suggest
alternate routes that might
contain less risk or cost.
This is highest value; this is greatest treasure;
the pearl the world in its wisdom
has been diving for, coming up empty handed.
This is worth staking your day,
your path,
your life upon.
This is life itself.
It is the kingdom of heaven.
It is Christ, and the way
he teaches and gives.
It is the love of God for you
and for the aching, breaking,
yearning world.
No time left for waiting.
Come and buy the entire field.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +6)

BECOMING OUR CALLING
(Matthew 13: 24-43, Genesis 28: 10-19)

We start from where we are
on this journey of becoming
our calling, God-given and God-accepted:

a field of weeds and wheat
growing in us together
(God will do and does the harvesting);

handfuls of dough
prepared for the leaven
that empowers becoming bread;

a small seed of mustard
newly planted, destined for
a sheltering shrub.

We start from where we are
on this journey of becoming
our calling, God-given and God-accepted:

lost or wandering to a future
less than certain, or fleeing
from fears or regrets of the past,

making our bed in
night-time wilderness,
pillow feeling like stone.

Let the hungering world
remind each field of
its importance; let the flying

birds tell the shrubs
of their significance;
let the descending night

speak to wanderers
of our neediness, but let
the stars part their curtain

and let the stairway
be revealed, let the angels
appear that travel its

open doorway, that are
with us on our journey
wherever we are.

Let the hand of God
be seen at work already
in our harvest;

let the yeast of God
be revealed at work
already in our dough;

let the voice of God
be heard from where
the angels reach,

and in the barren night-time,
lifting our head
from lying upon stone.

Let the voice remind us
we are in God’s keeping
and that wherever we are

is Bethel.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +5)

THE SOWER
(Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23)

1.
Early morning, before the newly risen sun
begins to lay full force against the back,
the heavy sack of seed hangs by a strap
from the sower’s shoulder.
One hand holds it open,
the other dips and rises
in perfect rhythm with the slow stride.
Sweeping wide through the quiet air
the seeds spray over the varied terrain
but the sower scarcely seems to care
that some lands among stones, some
among weeds, that seed lands upon
thin soil as much as on good.

2.
Careless the sun, careless the rain.
Careless the wind, the bird singing.
Careless the white snow on black branches.
Careless the dappled light of the green forest.

Careless the waves curling in the moonlight.
Careless the geese scraping the autumn sky.
Careless the frog’s voice in the reedy water.
Careless the sweet scent of the pink flower.

Careless the butterfly emerging into air.
Careless the starry darkness, the gray dawn.
Careless the raw beauty. Careless the wild goodness.
Careless such seeds from the sower’s hand.

3.
Fling seed of new life over all the earth,
Loving Sower.
Seed mercy in the stony soils of our hate.
Seed justice in the weedy ground of our selfishness.
Seed hope in the scorched sands of despair.
May the harvest be abundant with joy.

Fling your seed into the dusty lands of my life,
Wise Sower.
Seed the dry earth of my stony heart.
Seed where weeds crowd, where their leaves
shade the sunlight.
Seed the deep soil of my hungry soul.
Grant harvest, abundant with joy.