Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3, Yr C)

CONVERSION
(Acts 9: 1-20)

Is it only there, far away and then,
or could it be any place,
could it be this place,
could it be here and this hour?

Could it be you staring into truth as into
the sun, the searing shock of awareness
burning away what you thought you’d known,
until all you now can see is the fire of light?

Could it be your eyes trying to adjust
to truth’s reversal of shadow,
the inside-out reshuffle of all your certainty,
the upside-down disruption of rightness and way?

And there is the voice in which truth speaks
echoing in your mind like music
but whose words sting like hammers
against the stony surfaces of your soul.

Is it yours, the shiver of anxiety felt
as familiar walls of comfort begin to crumble?
The waiting in the darkened room of sorrow
for the guilt of previous prejudice to start to fade?

But now may your hands unclench, gentle;
the sea of your heart lie quiet, calm;
now may your mind become cup, open,
held in stillness like someone to be fed.

Now what you know is there is more truth
prepared for you. More insight, more
learnings to come. But now you are ready,
you are waiting, unblinking.

For God to visit as friend
to listening friend.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 2, Yr C)

WHAT THOMAS WANTS
(John 20: 19-31)

Thomas knows all about crucifixion.
Knows the nails driven into the victim
really tear the flesh,
damage the bones.

And he knows that this
is a crucifying world,
with all its violence,
greed and oppression

still hammering nails into the hands of justice,
still thrusting spears through the ribs of love,
still hanging mercy and kindness to die
and sealing up the tomb.

Thomas knows all about it.
So he knows that any real resurrection
will have to come out of ruin,
will have to come out of suffering,

will have to come out still bearing the scars
inflicted by the unjust world.

Ask him not
if he believes in
merely a God
who is greater than suffering or death;
any God worth the name
would surely prove immortal,
who may be able to pretend our pain
but could never share it in truth.

No, what Thomas wants to see
is the Lord who rises from
death by crucifixion,

who rises
from the worst that our world can do:
who rises
from hells of corruption and cruelty,
who rises
from violence and terror and hate,
who rises
from rape and torture and war,
who rises
from hunger and disease and squalor,
who rises
torn and terribly scarred
yet walking among us still,

who will touch us in
our woundedness,
who will hold us in
our brokenness,
who sees in us
the prints left by the nails,

who will put his own hurt hand upon
our heartache, fear and despair
and breathe his healing peace
into our souls.

This is who Thomas wants to see – the only
Lord he wants to believe in.

Thomas just wants to see
Jesus.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr C)

ODES FOR EASTER PEOPLE
(John 20: 1-18)

~ 1 ~

From what I’ve known of emptiness
it’s usually an empty place,
but the empty tomb of Jesus
holds the world of time and space.

From what I’ve known of losses
there’s often nothing left to be heard,
but death could not hold Jesus
and does not have the final word.

From what I’ve known of tombstones
stillness is statement and claim,
but the stone rolled back for Jesus
and all our destiny is changed . . .

~ 2 ~

We spin our tombs out of tough threads
of rage, grief, bitterness, regret,
sealed inside with our guilt, our dreads

where no light comes. And yet
we are not abandoned, and there
in the hard cocoon, if we let it,

we may begin to change. Care
breaks in, God’s loving breath, warm;
and slowly the old life, stripped bare,

begins to break apart, transform,
emerge as something different, new –
the old hurts and wounds, the torn

places, the toughened parts too
starting to heal; our being beginning to change.
In time we can choose to leave our cocoon,

and with trust, it splits open. And with strange
bright wings unfolding to the fragrant air
we surface – by death and resurrection rearranged.

~ 3 ~

I know you’re there, my Easter flower,
hidden for a while in earth’s deep darkness,
soon to break forth like song out of silence,
soon to show again your resurrection power,

rising up where no weed should be growing, out
of rough dirt, smooth lawns, cracks between stones,
rising again from being cut, pulled up, mowed down,
supposedly dead. I know the scented white shout

of the trumpets of lilies is the common choice
in sanctuaries showing Easter joy and glory,
but for me it is your undefeatable story,
the stubborn ruggedness of your sunlit voice,

that best symbolizes the resilience of faith
and the undying steadfastness of God’s love.
Try as the world might to root out and shove
you back to the dark, your bright yellow face

still blooms where it will. Irrepressible weed,
may your ever-renewing blossoms become
a sign of the kingdom of which every one
of us can be joyous, undefeated, irrepressible seed.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr B)

TO GALILEE HE’S GONE
(Mark 16: 1-8)

We saw where the body of Jesus was laid,
laid within the tomb.
And we asked
who will roll the stone away,
who will roll away the stone.

We heard the angel say Jesus has risen:
behold his empty tomb.
And we asked
where to go to find him,
now that he has gone.

The angel said he’s going ahead of you:
to Galilee he’s gone.
And we asked
what he’ll do in Galilee
in the place we know as home.

The angel said you’ll find him where new life
lifts hearts of those in tombs.
So we asked
to be those who serve him,
who show that life has won.

We find him risen feeding the hungry,
risen among the poor,
and we meet
him among the friendless
and bringing the homeless home.

Thus we say, today, in our Galilee,
pointing to the empty tomb:
see where God
is rolling the stone away,
is rolling away the stone.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3)

ROAD, TABLE, ROAD
(Luke 24: 13-35)

The weary miles coat our feet in the dust
of the Emmaus road. Afternoon sky
shimmers with heat, and the light, like a crust

of fire cast off by the sun, scrapes at eyes
already raw from weeping. We have left
Jerusalem, but not our grief – he died,

the one we called our Lord – and we, bereft
of purpose, joy and hope, now try to find
our way without his leading. Like a cleft

tree or uprooted vine, our hurting minds,
stung by the strength of death, cannot conceive
of anything greater still; thus we’re blind

to hope too wild for cracked hearts to receive –
angels saying Christ’s risen from the tomb –
the news the women would have us believe.

So we dully plod the dusty road, gloom
our only companion until someone
joins our journey: just a man, we assume,

like us; and while we talk of all just done
in Jerusalem, he listens, mildness
in his voice as he probes our words, tale spun

from our bewildered thoughts. Though the blindness
of our sad minds to who he is remains,
yet our hearts begin to feel a lightness

as this one stranger, his words kindling flame,
shows from Scripture what Christ had come to do.
Uplifted, rapt (though still he gives no name),

surprised to find that hope has surged anew,
we beg his presence at our evening meal.
But when he takes the bread, gives thanks, the view

we have of him is changed, for now his real
identity is revealed: Christ, who gave
himself for the life of the world, who sealed

the new covenant in which we are saved
by his body given, his blood shed – and
who, raised by God, triumphed over the grave.

Questions will wait; we don’t, can’t understand
it all, but hardly care. Weary no more,
we want to tell the others what we can;

hurrying we head through the open door
to the road again, to Jerusalem.
Sensing how much more there now is in store

for the hungry of the world, we’ll tell them
that Jesus who died and rose is our bread –
that he is life, greater than death. Praise him!

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 2)

THOMAS THE TWIN
(John 20: 19-31)

John 11:16 – Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

1.
But you fled, as the others did, when he was arrested.
From a distance you watched him suffer, die on the cross.
That night you lay down on a bed of hot coals,
and the fire of your words burned your eyes.

2.
All day the memories came like old boats beached in darkness.
You couldn’t seem to recall the shapes of simple flowers
yet could not forget the faces turned toward
him on the Galilean hills.
The wet clouds in your eyes hid the sun.

3.
You were not with the others when the women told their news.
You found it hard to breathe behind the shut doors of the house;
your legs needed movement, your eyes wanted sky, as if trying
to prove your soul was not entombed.

4.
Grief circled you like a city, you circled in your despair,
you circled back to the house, a moth in shadow, seeking light.

Faces smiled, filling your eyes like bright candles,
holding out to you astonishing news, a hot flame.

You wondered: is this what the moth sees
before it dies?

5.
How you longed for the news to be true,
longed as the stilled ship longs for new wind in its sails,
as eyes in a deep cave long for light.
Longed to be able to touch him again.
For him to be able to touch you.

6.
Now he is here, and let your heart lift from hurting.
Now he is here, let your lungs fill with breath.
Now he is here: your mind kneels in wonder.

Touch him in the midst of your fellow disciples,
see him, your crucified and living Lord,
listen as he speaks to you the blessing of peace.

7.
Let your eyes be filled, Thomas, with horizons of light.

You died with him.

Now rise with him too.

A Poem For Easter Sunday

NOW FOR THE DAWNING
(John 20: 1-18)

Now for the dawning, now for the morning,
now for the chasing of sorrow’s night,
now for the rising, now for rejoicing,
now for darkness fleeing before light,

now for beginning after the ending,
now for the rolling of stone from tomb,
now for the dancing, now for the praising,
now for breaking the grip of gloom,

now for the greening, now for the flowering,
now for the garden bursting with life,
now for the singing, now for the sharing,
now for the peace in place of strife,

now for the laughing, now the embracing,
now for the joyful freedom of heart,
now for the healing, now for the caring,
now for nourishing the weaker part,

now for forgiveness, now for redemption,
now for repairing that which was torn,
now for the mercy, now for the justice,
now for the plowshare made from the sword,

now for believing, now for the hoping,
now for our lives and creation made new,
now for the giving, now for the serving,
ever celebrating what God’s love can do.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King