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

LAMB, WE LONG TO KNOW YOU
(John 1: 29-42)

Rabbi, we wish to learn from you:
tell us, where are you staying?
Our spirits near exhaustion, bent beneath our trophies,
our car wheels spinning, phones and laptops flickering,
the earth below our houses reeling from our heat,
we think our wisdom great as soaring mountains, as suns,
yet we have learned so little of life’s gentle meaning,
our weapon-wielding words betray our souls’ deep neediness,
our grasping hands disclose only desperate emptiness,
listen as our hearts reach out for new beginnings:
Teacher, we wish to learn from you.
Tell us, where are you staying?

Messiah, we need to follow you:
Show us, where are you leading?
We have walked blind alleyways of selfishness and hatred,
we have fallen into pits of bitterness and anger,
the hungry cry out from the ditches we’ve created,
the powerful push the weak into smaller, smaller corners,
voices of pain are echoing in unhearing hallways,
the digital city leans over lives with thin foundations,
hear us as our hearts reach out for fresh direction:
Messiah, we need to follow you.
Show us, where are you leading?

Lamb of God, we long to know you:
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.
In you we see in human form the fullness of God’s caring,
in you we see the majesty of grace forever shining,
compassion’s face, mercy’s hands that bear the scars of loving,
your flesh a curtain opened that leads to God’s own presence,
sharing with us our struggles, embracing us in our brokenness,
your words and way a path that offers peace and wholeness,
hear us as our hearts reach out for transformation:
Lamb, we long to know you.
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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A Poem For Christmas Eve/Day

THE FLIGHT OF THE HEAVENLY HOST
(Luke 2: 1-14)

They flew over cities of a thousand old sorrows,
they flew over hills of a hundred hard griefs,
they flew over fields of love fallen in ruins,
and over dim hovels long haunted with yearning,
and over bright palaces of the powerful feasting,

and in their old graves the prophets
looked up to see them,
and the brown grasses bent to the rush of their passing,
and the wild seas lifted their waves in adulation,
and the pilgrim wind wept with the joy of their singing,

and the angels flew on to the pivot of history,
they flew upon wings made of messages of light,
and the prayers of the ages rose up to enwrap them,
and they stopped over stones of moss-covered memory
where hope’s moldered bones had lain down to die,

and the night held its breath and the dark knelt to listen,
and the trees brought the stars close with trembling hands
as a baby’s first cries cut the air in a stable
and shivering stunned shepherds
heard praises fill the Bethlehem sky.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

NOW IS THE MOMENT
(Romans 13: 11-14)

I thought I heard a noise just now
like a wind rising, like a sea rolling

I thought I heard a note just now
like metal beaten, like a hammer ringing

I thought I heard a sound just now
like a child laughing, like a woman singing

I thought I heard the world just now
and it was crying, it was pleading

I thought I heard a voice just now
and it was calling, it was summoning

then I knew what I heard was change just now
for night will be ending and day coming

and I knew what I heard was the Lord just now
saying “Now is the time for awaking.”

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Reign Of Christ)

SONG FOR THE CRUCIFIED KING
(Luke 23: 33-43)

The king has no castle, just a piece of a tree,
and there’s a crooked sign hanging for the world to see,
and his friends have all left him,
like the light of this day.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

There is justice denied, and the Christ betrayed.
There was a new world coming but I guess it’s been delayed,
and the dreams that we held,
looks like they’re slipping away.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

He came preaching mercy, and healing he gave.
He saved the lives of others, now he too will know the grave;
yet his words are love,
as if it’s here to stay.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

The warplanes are screaming, the children are lost;
The planet is heating, and at what kind of cost;
and the hungry are hurting
while they kneel to pray.
But God’s strange kind of kingdom
shows the world there’s a different way.

It’s darkness when cruelty and greed show their face.
It’s darkness when our hatreds crucify God’s grace,
but the love of the Lord
brings to light a new day.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
and it’s going to be ruled in this way.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr C)

ON DEATH AND RESURRECTION
(Luke 20: 27-38)

How shall we ask for explanation, for precision
when it is mystery opening into mystery
horizon opening to horizon
when it is silence dancing with shadow
a field holding secrets like snow

Shall we ask the river water of the sea to which it flows
the resting seed of the perfumed petal’s curl
shall we ask the whitened wood of the green leaf of springtime
the moonlit cloud of morning’s rising sun

Can understanding grasp that transcendent transformation
the clay of us breaking into blossom
the wings of us waking to the sky

What we have is the answer that Abraham heard
when he gave up trying to number the stars
what we have is the answer that Moses received
when he bowed before the bush that burned

And the answer will surface from a place deep within us
from the heart where hoping dwells in every beat
and the God of the living whose arms reach to hold us
speaks the answer, is the answer, and will be.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +22, Yr C)

OLD WOMAN
(Luke 18: 1-8)

Here you come again, old woman,
holding your hands out in pleading,
your worn hands, your wrinkled fingers

that have endured through such long holding,
holding the broken-hearted,
your back bent to carry their burdens,

your face so lined with compassion,
your eyes so calm yet piercing,
gazing steadily into our own

as again you plead your case to us,
asking us for justice for your little ones,
for the suffering and for the powerless,

for the hungry and hopeless and fearful,
pleading with us to enact the mercy
that fills your own heart forever,

while we in the robes of our self-importance
examine all our options,
consider our many excuses,

consider perhaps an adjournment
to get ourselves a coffee,
to look up the legal loopholes,

but unable to get you out of our minds,
you with your stubborn persistence,
your dogged determination,

your unwillingness to be silent or to let us go
until we, too,
have been saved.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +21, Yr C)

THANKFULNESS
(Luke 17: 11-19)

is the leap of the heart to the notes of a music
discovered at the center of creation

is morning light spilling through the windows of the soul
and sometimes best experienced at evening

is the tasting of the fruit you have found because your journey
just now passed through a hidden orchard

is the fragrance of the perfume that your spirit pours out
when it opens in both sun and rain

is the depth of the moment when you awake to healing
and a thing that helps you get there

is the voice and the words and the song they bring
when joy is released to the world

is breath in the lungs of all that is love

is the life of a healthy soul.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King