Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +20, Yr B)

THE QUESTIONING
(Mark 10: 17-31)

The day breaks gray,
the light uncertain
as if unsure of its purpose,
as if making up its mind
about morning; it eases
to a window where a weary
man is leaning, wakeful, eyes
restless, scanning an inner
horizon where thoughts
that will not sleep
cluster, diverge, repeat
their incessant questioning.

The light wanders his rooms,
collects glints from the filigree,
the fine silken fabrics,
the ornaments of wealth,
but his eyes do not follow
its path. With clear memory’s vision
what he sees are other eyes:
the pair that beheld him
yesterday on the road.

“One thing you lack,” Jesus said,
to him who lacked for nothing.
“Sell what you own and follow me.”
And there was warmth in Jesus’ eyes,
there was love for him who questioned
about inheriting eternal life.
But then
such sadness in their depths
as he turned away.
Now today his thoughts, unsettled,
gray as dull daybreak,
interrogate the hollow
in his soul.

Behind him in his rooms
stretch the trophies of the years,
the gathered costly trinkets
that once so warmed his heart.
But their colours seem now cold
and today he is uncertain
about what is and is not “treasure”.
And he cannot turn his face
from the window.
He cannot
turn his gaze from the road.

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +18)

R.S.V.P.
(Matthew 22: 1-14)

I thought I had it here a while ago,
the invitation to the wedding feast.
I’m busy, but I think I’d like to go.

Priorities have swamped me, as you know;
a banquet invitation’s just the least.
I thought I had it here a while ago.

The king’s included both the high and low,
which seems to me a rather foolish piece.
I’m busy, but I probably can go.

I’ll bet this generous king would give out clothes
to all for whom good robes are out of reach.
I thought I read it here a while ago.

But I’ll go as I am, thank you, to show
I’m fine, I’ve need for no one’s saving grace.
I’m busy, but I think I’d like to go.

They’ll tell me it’s an honour, I suppose.
I guess I could take my invited place.
I thought I had it here a while ago.
I’m busy, but perhaps I’ll try to show.

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.

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.