Poetry as a spiritual practice │ new postings every Wednesday

Easter Sunday

Year C readings:

  • Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
  • 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43
  • John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

The Ballad of the Sheaf of Corn

Bombs were falling all around
in the darkest hour of the war.
Bombs were falling in London town;
death was in the air.

Within the city, there was a parish
where the people soldiered on.
The harvest festival was a time to cherish;
the work of the church goes on.

The church was decked with local fare
on a fateful Saturday morn.
The smells of autumn filled the air.
In the center—a sheaf of corn.

It wasn’t long after that
the Luftwaffe made a call.
The festive church was laid flat.
There was nothing left at all.

Rubble remained in the months ahead.
Winter turned to spring.
Green shoots rose from the dead
as summer was on the wing.

The people of the church could see in the growth
of the ruined sheaf of corn
a sign that life is stronger than death,
a sign of life reborn.

April 21, 2019

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Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Year C readings:

  • Isaiah 50:4-9a
  • Psalm 31:9-16
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • Luke 22:14 – 23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

Rescue Me

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Whenever my actions come to naught
and I feel as useless as a broken pot,
you rescue me.

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Whenever I sigh and waste in grief
and flutter to earth like a falling leaf,
you rescue me.

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Make your face to shine upon me;
let your loving kindness flow free
to rescue me.

April 14, 2019

NOTE: This little poem is now a church anthem, thanks to Kerry Lewis. He set the words for a solo male voice.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Year C readings:

  • Isaiah 43:16-21
  • Psalm 126
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • John 12:1-8

You Do Not Always Have Me

The flowing lake is always filling,
but is never full.
Once there was a true sense of fullness
of which all that now remains
is an empty print and trace.
The lake strains for completion
with waters around it—
seeking in things that are not there
the help it cannot find
in those things that are.
Instead,
there is a chronic ache
that comes from feeling incomplete.

April 7, 2019

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Fourth Sunday in Lent

Year C readings:

  • Joshua 5:9-12
  • Psalm 32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Jealousy

Your father’s love is certain. This you know.
All that is his is yours. You know it’s true.
If you are safe and sound in your father’s love
and all his blessings still belong to you,
why resent the feast for the prodigal son?
Why the sudden anger? Why the scorn?
Your brother once was lost, but now is found.
Your father must rejoice with love unbound.
Your father cares for you: What has changed?
All his goods are yours: What has changed?

For us, this tale is one we understand.
We may be safely wrapped in our father’s love.
We may enjoy the gifts of his generous hand.
But a rush of jealousy can make us doubt his love.
We need to stop and ponder why we doubt.
Why the anger? What is this about?
Our father’s grace extends to every child.
It pleases him when all his children are reconciled.
Our father cares for us: What has changed?
All his goods are ours: What has changed?

March 31, 2019

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Third Sunday in Lent

Year C readings:

  • Exodus 3:1-15
  • Psalm 63:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
  • Luke 13:1-19

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

In nature’s design, the rule of life is clear.
The useful thrive, advancing from age to age.
They manage to master time’s turning page.
The useless take up space for a while, then disappear.
In God’s design, uselessness is a grave offense.
If we’re not bearing fruit, what good are we?
This is the lesson of the barren fig tree:
If you take sustenance from the soil, you must produce.
Unlike the natural world, in God’s design
there may be room for hope and a second chance.
To achieve your promise, you might be granted grace.
But even the patient planter draws the line.
Take advantage of your one last chance
before he orders the gardener to clear the space.

March 24, 2019

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Second Sunday in Lent

Year C readings:

  • Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
  • Psalm 27
  • Philippians 3:17-4:1
  • Luke 13:31-35

Unrequited Love

I admired a worldly woman
with children in her loving care.
I made my plea for love;
rejection was swift and sure

I wanted to gather her children
as a hen protects the brood,
desiring to set their path
for destiny great and good.

Her friends and close advisors
convinced her I was a fraud
because, they said, I flouted
the Law and disrespected God.

I offered a transformation,
but now it is time to leave.
Her house is left to her.
With a heavy heart I grieve.

However, I shall return
when people with one accord
declare, “Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of the Lord.”

March 17, 2019

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First Sunday in Lent

Year C readings:

  • Deuteronomy 26:1-11
  • Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
  • Romans 10:8b-13
  • Luke 4:1-13

Grace for All

The prophets Isaiah and Joel assure us
that the matter of Law and achievement is flawed.
Zeal for the Law of Moses won’t save us:
the word of faith is the way to God.
This is echoed by the Apostle Paul.
The end of the Law is grace for all.

Legalism is with us still. It is sad
to see justification as a joyless chore
for someone measuring good vs. bad,
wishing and hoping for a plus score.
Listen and learn from the Apostle Paul—
the end of the Law is grace for all.

March 10, 2019

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Last Sunday After Epiphany

Year C readings:

  • Exodus 34:29-35
  • Psalm 99
  • 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
  • Luke 9:28-36

Stay Awake!

Jesus is on a high mountain, deep
in prayer. Simon Peter and the brothers James
and John are on the edge of falling asleep.

As he prays, Jesus’ face begins to change
and his clothes shine as bright as a lightening flash
and the men are shocked to suddenly see the strange

sight of Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus
about the road ahead to Jerusalem and the cross.
Imagine you are there in the company of Jesus.

Are you tempted to lose the plot? Would you suffer the loss
of seeing the great hinge of history in the making
as Jesus prepares to follow in his way of the cross?

The disciples witness glory by staying awake.
Jesus is on the mountaintop and so are you.
Stay awake! and testify to what is true.

March 3, 2019

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Seventh Sunday After Epiphany

Year C readings:

  • Genesis 45:3-11, 15
  • Psalm 37:1-12, 41-42
  • 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
  • Luke 6:27-38

The Good Life

Put on the armor of gentleness.
Defend yourself with gentleness;
stand your ground.
Attack with gentleness;
confound your foe.

Do not envy the self-indulgent.
Self-indulgence
is a basket of perishing fruit.
For the self-indulgent,
setting out to live
is entering into death.

Refrain from anger;
leave rage alone.
Put your trust in the Lord—
your heart will be at peace.

Always show your love!
Only shadows
that cast images
of interleaving aimlessness
are real
in a world without love.

February 24, 2019

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