Wisdom’s Call

“Gate of Wisdom” by sculptor Ju Ming, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“From the heights I call; will you listen? No?
Beside the road I call; will you listen? No?

“By the crossroad I call; will you listen? No?
Beside the gate I call; will you listen? No?

“Then at the entrance to the portals I cry out:
‘Be wise! Learn! Love righteousness! Grow!’

“Will you listen?

“No?”

Though she should delight
in God’s inhabited world:

Wisdom weeps.

A poem/prayer based on Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Trinity Sunday.

Photo of “Gate of Wisdom” by Chong Fat – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5193511.

Magdalene’s Pentecost

They called it, “an idle tale,”
these Followers of the Way,
these messengers of the Messiah,
these pillars of the Church.

They called it, “an idle tale,”
when Joanna and Mary and I
proclaimed the Word of the LORD
declared to us by angels.

Shall I call it, “an idle tale,”
when wind and fire and dancing tongues
awakened all these pillars
to their urgent calling?

Shall I call it, “an idle tale,”
when Simon affirms that
daughters prophecy – though he
did not believe our word?

I will not blame them for their “idle tale,”
but neither will I wait until
the Spirit’s fire dims and they
ignore the women once again.

A poem/prayer based on 2:1-21, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Pentecost Sunday. The poem also refers to Luke 24:1-12.

It comes from my wonder that Mary Magdalene is not mentioned the chronicles of the Early Church after Jesus’ resurrection.

The image is a panel of a stained glass window depicting the crucifixion of Jesus at the Eglise abbatiale Sainte-Walburge, Walbourg, France.

Praying Again

God, I’d ask you to forgive us,
but we will not repent.

God, I’d ask you to reform us,
but we will not amend.

God, I’d ask you to guide us,
but we will not follow.

And so: eleven dead, or two.
A courthouse or a synagogue.

We will not hear, “Enough of this!”
We will not lay the weapons down.

Do not forgive us, God,
until we choose a better way.

In grief for those killed and injured at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 31, 2019.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Desperately

The Slave Girl of Philippi, 1857-60

Desperately silenced.
My only words
not my own.
Tongue in stocks.

Desperately bound.
Daily divination’s
coins presented
to these human demons.

Desperately shackled
to these evil spirits:
one holds my body,
the other holds my voice.

Desperately shouting:
“These men are slaves
of the Most High God!”
But will they hear me?

Desperately hopeless,
silently shouting,
“Bring salvation
to this soul!”

Desperately grateful,
yet thanks go unheeded.
They are hauled away
in chains.

A poem/prayer based on Acts 16:16-34, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Seventh Sunday of Easter.

The painting of Saint Paul casting out the evil spirit from the unnamed woman (ca. 1860) is found outside the Basilica of Saint Paul, Rome, Italy. Photo by Richard Stracke: CC by-NC-SA 3.0.

Open Gates

The “New Gate” in Jerusalem, ca. 1900-1920

Its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there.
– Revelation to John 21:25, NRSV

Go figure. I was wrong.
I always imagined, yawning wide,
the gates of hell, while heaven’s gates
admitted just a few.

But shuttered gates are not
an attribute of paradise.

A poem/prayer based on Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5, the Revised Common Lectionary second reading for Year C, Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Photo of the New Gate in Jerusalem taken between 1900 and 1920 by G. Eric and Edith Matson, part of the Matson Collection at the Library of Congress. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=464832.

Send Another, Please

I am perfectly content
to rest pious
in my righteousness.

I am perfectly content
to pray scathingly
for all those unwashed “them.”

I am perfectly content
to draw the narrow line
between the I and thou.

I am perfectly content
to forgive my little stumbles
and condemn everyone else’s.

I am perfectly content:
so don’t send me,
you troublesome Spirit.

I am perfectly content:
until, of course, you shatter
my complacency.

Dammit.

A poem/prayer based on Acts 11:1-18, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Fifth Sunday of Easter.

Image is Peter’s Vision by an unknown artist, found in The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation by Charles Foster, published 1873. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59771251

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The Raising of Tabitha

Oh, what if they’d called me?

They sent for you, dear Simon,
Cephas, Petros: You’re the Rock.
They sent for you, dear Simon,
when their dear Tabitha had died.

Oh, what if they’d called me?

My heart would have been pounding in
my chest so loud the village could
have heard. Why send them all
away (except to miss my failure)?

Oh, what if they’d called me?

A prayer. A tender summons: “Tabitha,
get up!” That heart whose love so
overflowed is beating even louder
than my own. Look, she lives!

Oh, what if they’d called me?

Did you feel you were holding Jesus’ place?
Did you ache for the Master’s steady poise?
Did your heart falter before hers revived?
How did you dare to call her name?

Oh, what if they’d called me?

A poem/prayer based on Acts 9:36-43, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Fourth Sunday of Easter.

The image is the raising of Tabitha in the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, Italy, a 12th century mosaic. Photo by Rmsrga – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31666134.