Poetry as a spiritual practice │ new postings every Wednesday

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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