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

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

THE TIME HAS COME
(John 12: 20-36)

The time is here: be lifted, Human One,
to glorify the God whose rule is love;
the hour of sacrifice is why you’ve come.
Now may we hear the voice that speaks above!

The time is ripe: be planted, Faithful Seed,
to be the grain that life abundant gives.
Teach us the death-to-self that is our need —
that willingness to serve is how to live.

The time is now: shine out, O Lord of Light
into our hearts, into the shadowed earth;
show us the way to love; give us the sight
that sees in every soul eternal worth.

The time has come: be lifted, Holy One,
to draw all people to your saving grace;
as children of your light may we become
the ones who share your love through time and space.

Copyright ©2015 by Andrew King


Note: For use as a hymn (metre: 10 10 10 10), I might suggest the tunes Ellers or Harris. Other suggestions?