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

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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.