Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3, Yr A)

WHY YOU LEAVE YOUR NETS AND FOLLOW
(Matthew 4: 12-23)

Because your hope for that kingdom
has teased the edge of your thoughts
the way waters tease the edge of the shore

because his words stir that hope
in the depths of your soul
the way wind stirs the waves of the sea

because you sense that his love
like a sea without bounds
is as large as the needs of the world

and because he’s called you by name
and the heart in you swims
toward that love, toward joy, toward home

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr C)

ON DEATH AND RESURRECTION
(Luke 20: 27-38)

How shall we ask for explanation, for precision
when it is mystery opening into mystery
horizon opening to horizon
when it is silence dancing with shadow
a field holding secrets like snow

Shall we ask the river water of the sea to which it flows
the resting seed of the perfumed petal’s curl
shall we ask the whitened wood of the green leaf of springtime
the moonlit cloud of morning’s rising sun

Can understanding grasp that transcendent transformation
the clay of us breaking into blossom
the wings of us waking to the sky

What we have is the answer that Abraham heard
when he gave up trying to number the stars
what we have is the answer that Moses received
when he bowed before the bush that burned

And the answer will surface from a place deep within us
from the heart where hoping dwells in every beat
and the God of the living whose arms reach to hold us
speaks the answer, is the answer, and will be.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +7, Yr C)

THE DUST THAT CLINGS
(Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20)

Dust of a million miles of hurry,
dust of the wheels of a billion cars,
dust of the greed and the grasp and the worry,
dust of the age of unending exhaust,

dust of the pyramids, towers, cathedrals,
dust of the plowed and the killing fields,
dust of the sweat and the blood of the battles,
dust of the plastics, cosmetics, the pills,

dust of the hungry, dust of the thirsty,
dust of the cruel and the cruelly wronged,
dust of the grieving, the weeping, the weary,
dust of the run and the struggling on,

dust of the questions, dust of the mystery,
dust of the best and worst we’ve become,
dust of the ash of our anguished history,
dust of mortality’s beating drum —

shake off the grime of it, wrap it in rainbow;
shake off its hurting, heal it in light;
leave only hoping that helps us to let go
of all that would keep us from tasting new life.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +2, Yr C)

A PRAYER
(1 Kings 8: 22-23, 41-43, Luke 7: 1-10)

Come through the doors of our house, Lord.
Let us admit you whether we feel
        worthy or unworthy,
             holy or sinful,
                 faithful or wavering.
Come through the doors of our house just the same.

Come to the house of our hearts, Lord,
        our searching hearts, our contented hearts,
             our caring, giving, loving hearts,
                  our needy, angry, anxious hearts,
come to the house of our hearts in joy or pain.

Come to the house of our days, Lord,
        our happy days, our hurting days,
             our bitter days, our bright days,
                  our struggling, sorrowing, sad days,
come to the house of our days in sun or in rain.

Come to the house of our world, Lord,
        our wondrous world, our wounded world,
             our teeming world, our tortured world,
                  our singing, shouting, crying world,
come to the house of our world, and let us be changed.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 6, Yr C)

HOW TO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
(John 14: 23-29)

First you make a small opening just above your heart
and then, with great delicacy, withdraw a small part

and hold it to the light for inspection. Are you dismayed
to observe its frailty, its flaws? Just now it made

a sound like the indrawn breath of a child right before
it cries, in that moment it discovers that the more

of the world you come to know, the more frightening
it becomes. And not just fear, but guilt, harsh as lightning,

worry, grief, regret – all add their aching; you want
to hold your heart tighter in its trouble, but can’t

with tighter grip calm down the trembling. Yet just when
you might despair, you recall Christ’s promise once again

that God’s Spirit is with you here, and that Christ’s peace
is yours to claim. It is there like two more hands, each

more gentle than your own, holding your heart with you;
comfort and strength unfold their flower, courage too,

and you feel your anxiety unravel at last.
In the warm embrace of Christ’s love, letting the past

be past, mindful of the present moment alone,
you rest your peace-filled heart in a safe place. You’re home.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

HOW THE TREE WAS SAVED
(Luke 13: 1-9)

We can go there, to the vineyard,
where it’s still and green and lovely
in the luminous morning.

We can walk through
the tidy rows of vines,
to that corner with the leaning tree.
We can stand together
in the shadows of the leaves,
long and lush and fragrant.

We can touch our hands
to the gentle bark,
ask our bodies to sense
the hidden pulse of its life,
to hear the song of its veins.

I can show you the places
where the gardener turned
the sod that parted like flesh,
the dirt dripping from the shovel’s blade,
dropping like a kind of blood.

We will know how the gardener
mixed in the manure,
aromas rising
with the heat of the sun,
mingling with sweat from hot skin.

Imagine the roots newly hungry –
imagine them drinking, their thirsty tongues,
seeking the life-giving food.

Our gazes will lift and find
the ripening figs,
the fruit to be harvested in fall.

We can go there, to where
it’s green and lovely,
where the gardener does his hard work.

There is his spade.
See the wooden handle.
See its shape. So like a cross.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 1, Yr C)

ON A STORMY SHORE
(Luke 21: 25-36)
  with some words of W.B. Yeats

In a dream I walked on a stormy shore
where the nations were ships caught in wild waves,
tossed in the heave and the dark curling roar

of a blood-dimmed tide while frantic crews, brave
but confused, fought the loosed anarchy, scanned
the gyrating needles. But though the grave

loomed hungry and the violence at hand
filled many with foreboding, on each ship
some lifted heads in hope, as if the planned

harbour were near, safety waiting at trip’s
end, storms overcome and peace unfolding.
On land they’d seen the trees, the brown leaves slipped

off as if in death, naked limbs holding
only air, life seemingly departed.
But the leaves budded again, strength growing

green as summer, life and joy re-started,
winter past. Thus these hopeful ones grasped
lines on each ship, held sail firm, strong hearted,

grounded in faith, sure of One whose arms clasped
theirs in love: love greater than fear, than death;
in whom and by whom they would stand at last.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King