Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 7, Yr A)

TO SEE BEYOND DIVISION
(Matthew 5:38-48)

O Healer of all brokenness,
help us repent of vengefulness
and send your mercy as the sun and rain.
Giver of all gentleness,
lead us away from selfishness
that we may walk with all who dwell in pain.

Creator, grant us vision
to see beyond division,
seeing even enemies as beloved too.
May we with bold decision
bring forgiveness to fruition;
and by your gift of grace our selves renew,

that we, our own hearts mending,
to others your love lending,
embrace your kingdom coming into view.
Use us, and in our sending,
the seeds of peace thus tending,
we’ll lift a new world’s joyfulness to you.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +4, Yr C)

FORGIVEN
(Luke 7:36 – 8:3)

As if with a great wound healed,
bleeding sealed and the pain
of each day’s deep cuts gone
though not forgotten,
she pours in thanks the salt gift of her tears.

As if with a great weight lifted,
straightening a back bent low by defeat,
bonds of grief that daily crippled
undone though not forgotten,
she makes of his feet an altar for her praise.

As if with precious treasure blessed,
spilling the cupped heart’s richness and
an inner ache of emptiness stilled
though not forgotten,
she anoints the dusty feet with finest oil.

As if in new skin clothed
and shining showing the lovely blood
of a lost life found, saved
and not forgotten,
she wipes his feet with the gentleness of her hair.

And as if with her among us, we at table gathered,
graced, and Christ’s goodness touching,
hearing our own names called
in forgiveness never to be forgotten –
open our hearts and hands to serve him
in loving joyfulness of life.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +13)

THE COMMUNITY THAT LIES BETWEEN
(Matthew 18: 15-20)

Somewhere between what is
and what will be,
between this present world
and a world redeemed,

somewhere between
the world of resentment and rage
and a world at peace, sharing fullness of life,

somewhere on the journey to
the yet-to-come
lies the community of love in Christ,

where brother and sister
meet one another
as equals in the sight of God,
where the joys of one
are the joys of all,
the concerns of one
are concerns of all,
where acceptance is given
and received –

yet also where
views will painfully diverge,
where desires will differ
and divide;
where our human faults
will hurt and harm,
where we fracture
along fault-lines of pride.

We are redeemed
yet remain imperfect,
united in Christ yet
individuals to the end.
And so we need a little help
in our community of hope:
we need the reminder that where
even two of us meet,
Christ is there,
our Saviour, in our midst.

And his are the words
that can lead to healing,
that guide us to seek reconciliation,
that nudge us toward
God’s peace.

Unity begins with acceptance,
builds on hope,
is nourished by caring,
grows stronger through celebration.
But unity also can require
hard work,
the work of listening
to one another’s story,
hearing one another’s pain,
granting one another forgiveness –
and for that we are given
God’s grace.

Therefore
somewhere between what is
and what will be,
between this present world
and a world redeemed,

somewhere on the journey
to the yet-to-come
lies our community of love in Christ.

May we model to the world, so fractured,
that community gathered at his table.

May we model to a world
so in need of healing
his presence among us to save.

A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 6)

THE PRICE
(Matthew 5: 21-37)

Imagine we’ve never left Eden.
Imagine the wide Earth is the garden
and we’ve never tasted bitter exile,
enjoying for more than just a while

the miraculous abundance God has granted.
And imagine here, among all the planted
flowers and fruits, grasses and trees,
room enough to do (mostly) as we please

for Cain and Abel and me and you and
others; no need for anyone to lift a hand
against another. No need for jealousy,
resentment, bitterness or envy. . .

What do you think? Would it be
that way, would there be harmony,
no broken relationships, no feelings
hurt, no joys crushed; in all our dealings

only fairness, caring, kindness;
no greed, no self-centered blindness
to the needs of the neighbour? Could
that be us, living in our Eden? Or would

it be the case that even so the heart
would show itself to contain many parts,
like closets hidden behind different doors,
and in those shadowed corners

the usual sources of human pain –
such as the self-will that again and again
through time has been indifferent to love
and justice: that when push has come to shove

there is me and there is you, and you
just have to move, will have to lose. True?
And if so, then our separateness
from one another, this awful brokenness

that inhabits so much of daily life
would haunt us still, the sources of strife
found not in our surroundings, but inside
ourselves. Which means nowhere to hide

when the squabbling breaks out
that’s banned in the garden, the shouts
of anger or hurt, the salt tears flowing
(or hidden in pride), rifts growing

worse. . . and the spiral down beginning,
each side claiming right, unaware of sinning.
How easy it becomes for retaliation
to be tried; how hard for reconciliation

to occur. Yet that is what Christ
stands for, of course: reconciliation, the price
(in cross-shaped currency) to overcome
injustice’s hurt and whatever’s wrong

between others and ourselves.
Oh, it’s difficult – tough shells
of distrust and defensiveness
may need to be breached, forgiveness

may not be granted. But the effort
must be made.   Enter the desert
of vulnerability displayed. Take
the risk of the open heart. Rake

the coals away from the fires of pain.
And offer thanks for a healing gained.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King