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

WITH PAINFUL GROANS
(Mark 13: 1-8)

God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown:
the Spirit labours long in human hearts.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Like the tumbling of the temple’s ancient stones
change will pull some precious things apart.
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.

Deep change, like tremors in earth’s shifting bones,
reshapes the world, redraws the social chart.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Rejecting hate, which far too many own,
can sow the seed of change that needs to start –
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.

Oppressive power, clinging to its throne,
is like the seized-shut brake that stops the cart.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

God’s will for justice, peace, has been made known
but bears fruit only part by tender part:
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

 

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (All Saints Day, Yr B)

EVEN NOW
(John 11: 32-44)

Even now,
in the shadowed
tomb of hopelessness,

even now
in the darkness
of the grave of grief,

even now
in the echoing
cave of loneliness,

even now
when pain
knows little relief,

even now
you can bring
light to the darkness,

even now
you can set free
the bound,

even now
you can roll stones
from the entrances

of all that
keeps joy
underground;

even now
you are Creator
of new tomorrows,

even now
you are Redeemer
of lost todays,

even now
Lord, bring
healing to our sorrows,

even now
Lord, let your love
win the day.

See also “Love That Has No Limits” (A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary, Lent 5)

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +22, Yr B)

BARTIMAEUS
(Mark 10: 46-52)

Where have you been today, Bartimaeus?
“I’ve been in a world of hunger and fear and darkness.
I’ve been by the side of the road I name despair.
I’ve been cast off, like something beyond repair.”

What have you heard today, Bartimaeus?
“I’ve heard the pain of those who cry for justice.
I’ve heard the pain of those who cry for peace.
I’ve heard someone is near who brings release.”

What do you need today, Bartimaeus?
“I need to know that joy can rise from ashes.
I need to know that hope can rise from grief.
I need to see the sun touch the lifted leaf.”

What did you do today, Bartimaeus?
“I called to the Son of David who comes to save us.
I called to the One who mercy freely gives.
I called to the One whose power opened my grave.”

Where are you going today, Bartimaeus?
“To be with Christ as he brings new days to others.
To follow the One who’s brought me this new sight.
To share with all God’s people this new life.”

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +13, Yr B)

THE “CAN’T-FOLLOW-JESUS-ANY-MORE” BLUES
(John 6: 56-69)

Seems the bread of heaven’s just too hard to chew.
Said, this bread of heaven’s just too hard to chew.
I’m chokin’ on flesh that’s given for me and you.

Says his words are spirit, but they feel more like a knife.
Says his words are spirit, but they feel more like a knife.
Yet he tells me his words hold the power of eternal life.

Don’t know ‘bout a Lord who’d lay down his life for love.
Said, what kind of a Lord lays down his life for love?
This world, my friend, is a place of push and shove.

Want a Christ who’s got a better way to succeed.
Need a Christ who’s got a better way to succeed.
Want someone who’s tough, who lets the other guy bleed.

Funny how hungry I feel down to my shoes.
Said, funny how hungry I feel down to my shoes.
Can’t seem to shake these empty-feeling blues.

Wish the bread of heaven wasn’t so hard to chew.
Is the bread of heaven really so hard to chew?
Maybe need that flesh that’s given for me and you.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +9, Yr B)

FRAGMENTS
(John 6: 1-21)

Fragmentary our faith at times
and fragmentary our commitment;
fragmentary our hope at times
and fragmentary our prayers;
fragmentary our love at times
and fragmentary our sacrifice;
fragmentary our vision at times
and fragmented our lives.

Yet put into service for you, Lord,
nothing fragmentary is lost
and possibility abounds:

possibilities of faith
possibilities of commitment
possibilities of hope
possibilities of prayer
possibilities of love
possibilities of sacrifice
possibilities of vision
and possibilities of life.

Gather us up, possibility-making Lord.
Gather up all our fragments.

Let the abundance of all we can be
overflow.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +5, Yr B)

FRINGES OF THE GARMENT
(Mark 5: 21-43)

Thin as a delicate cloth, this thing called
hope.
Thin as blood that flows in unceasing
hemorrhages.
Thin as the useless remedies tried over years.
Thin as the remnants of strength being drained
from your bones.
Thin as your breath when you lie sleepless at night
with fear.
Thin, in your isolation, as the ragged memories
of touch.
Thin, increasingly, as prayer.
Thin and worn and fading, this thing called hope.

How to explain its sudden thickening strength,
as if the wick of a lamp had grown new breadth,
light increasing, shadow retreating,
when the news came of him of whom the people
were speaking,
by whom lepers are healed, the lame walking,
in whose presence and word the kingdom of God
seems near;
how to explain this strange sensation of something
nearing wholeness again
as the fabric of hope seems to glow with
freshened colour?

He is here.
Let others, whose hearts in undented plates of armour
have the leisure, search for cool exalted explanations.
Those whose hearts like yours have known the painful
failures,
have borne the desperate years with threadbare
courage,
will understand the way your feet are running,
the way your hand is reaching,
the way your touch is grasping for
even the fringes
of the garment that
he wears.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +4, Yr B)

AFTER THE STORM
(Mark 4: 35-41)

Clenched the straining oars so hard our fingers almost bled.
Stomachs now can ease their knotted tension.
Coughed down slanting waves’ white foam, wind within our heads.
Now slowing lungs can rest in storm’s suspension.

Clouds slide back, the moonlight marks the stillness of the sea.
No shadow moves as water drips from faces.
Our widened eyes are fastened on the one upon his seat
whose words have changed the night: for now our places

in this world, once thought so fixed, have been upturned,
and now can happen things we never dreamed.
For if our fears can be undone, the storm we dread unchurned,
and fate prove quite more open than it seems

by trust in Jesus’ word, then many unchallenged powers
might be changed. Though injustice roil the sea,
let it be made to yield to love; though hard the hours
of pain, God’s care set healing free

and death itself be taught that life is master. So let
our cloaks’ wet cloth cling to our skin,
remind us that even this storm-filled world yet
can be changed by love. And let that day of peace at last begin.