No Need

No need, Jesus.

You came to bring division?
What have we but division?
Parents and children,
spouses and in-laws.
As Micah said, we are
a family of enemies.

So no need, Jesus.

No need to separate
the righteous from the sinners
(no matter that the sinners think
they’re righteous; what a laugh!).
We do that all the time.
Look at our swollen prisons…

No need, Jesus.

Without an aisle to divide
we’ll go to separate rooms.
Without a standard to divide
we’ll come up with a test.
Without a river to divide,
well, we will build a wall.

No need, Jesus.

Unless it might be to divide us
from complacency.
Unless it might be to divide us
from acceptance of injustice.
Unless it might be to divide us
from the rights you know are wrong.

No need, Jesus.

Sigh.

Great need, Jesus.

May we read the meaning of the time.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 12:49-56, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Proper 15.

The image is The Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch – http://www.statenvertaling.net : Home : Info, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4593502

I Hurt You?

Raindrops (teardrops) clinging to a leaf.

I hurt you?
I’m sorry.
I didn’t mean to.
I won’t do that again.
Can I make it better?

I hurt you?
I’m sorry.
I didn’t mean to.
It wasn’t my intent,
so it doesn’t hurt you.
Shall I do it again?

I hurt you?
I’m sorry.
I didn’t mean to.
It wasn’t my intent,
but how can it hurt you?
This couldn’t hurt anyone.
I’ll do it again.

I hurt you?
Oh.
I can live with your pain.
I’ll do it again.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Are You Sure?

Two crowns (the crowns of the Hawaiian monarcy).
The crowns of the Hawaiian monarchy at ‘Iolani Palace.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12 32

Are you sure that’s a good idea?

I am not capable of caring for a country.
I am not capable of managing a county.
I am hardly capable of pastoring a church.
I am barely capable of caring for myself.

I have no talent for a Realm of God.

I have no plans to sell all my possessions.
I will give alms, but I will set my limits.
All my wallets suffer wear and tear;
do You have storage space in Paradise for me?

See my treasure? There’s my heart
(as well You know).

“Dressed for action”? Sure, that happens,
eventually, on working days.
On my day off the risk is Yours to find
bewhiskered and unkempt Your servant.

I cannot claim to be alert or ready.

At least I am aware of this:
There is no point in waiting on a day.
There is no point in claiming, “You will come.”
Because You have already come.

Ready (or not) as I (or we) may be:

You’re here.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 12:32-40, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Proper 14.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

God’s Weeping

Hosea

My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
– Hosea 11:8

What do I hear on the wind?

Is it the sighing of a dove?
Or the sighing of a deity
watching warmly, tenderly
as the Creator’s children stray?

What do I hear in the trees?

Is it resilience in motion?
Or the groans of a deity
swaying in unison
with the Earth’s moaning?

What do I hear on the waves?

Is it the rhythm of ocean?
Or the sobs of a deity
embracing the suffering
of all They have made?

What do I hear in the cosmos?

Is it the cry of expansion?
Or the wrath of a deity
frustrated with evil
beyond all endurance?

What do I hear in the Earth?

Is it the silence of affection?
Or a deity’s anger
cooling, reforming,
bearing us upon forgiveness?

What do I hear?

A poem/prayer based on Hosea 11:1-11, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading for Year C, Proper 13.

The image of Hosea comes from the Menologion of Basileiou, an 11th century illuminated Byzantine manuscript. Artist unknown – http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.gr.1613/0141?sid=a7590df9b8aca22111c8359533716419&zoomlevel=4, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20645325.

And… That Prayer

Photo of two plaques on a wall. On the left is a text of the Lord's Prayer in Tahitian; on the right is the text in Japanese. A cross hangs on the wall between them.

[Jesus] said to them, “When you pray, say:…
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive
everyone indebted to us.”

– Luke 11:2a, 4a

Teach me to pray, Jesus.
Teach me to pray to the One in Heaven.
Teach me to pray to the Hallowed Name.
Teach me to pray for a Peaceable Realm.
Teach me to pray for the Needs of Today.
Teach me to pray that You will Forgive.

Qualified forgiveness, of course.
It would hardly be right
if All and Sundry received forgiveness.
So forgive me only if…

Wait.

What?

If I forgive?

You have got to be joking.

Let’s take a good look at this.

Shouldn’t it be God, or shouldn’t it be You,
responsible for forgiveness here?
Can’t you make the choice?
Can’t you make the call?
Aren’t you far more dependable than I?

When you told bold Cephas
that he held the keys to heaven and hell,
did you tell him they were the keys to his own?
That grace received depends on grace extended?
Did you?

Good God, Jesus, don’t give those keys to me.

Seriously, don’t give those keys to me.

Damn it.

What’s that jingling noise?

A poem/prayer based on Luke 11:1-13, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading for Year C, Proper 12.

The picture shows the Lord’s Prayer in two languages – Tahitian and Japanese – at the Church of the Pater Noster on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Photo by Ori~ – Own work, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19733724

Mary’s Prayer

O Jesus, I can hear
the clatter of the crockery,
the puffing of the bellows,
the swirling of the aprons.

O Jesus, I can hear
the half-resentful voice
my sister raised to you;
I hear her dripping sweat.

And Jesus, I can hear the wailing
children, crying refugees,
groaning sufferers, weeping
hungry seekers after justice.

And Jesus, I can hear the silence:
Silence of the powerful.
Silence of the privileged.
Silence of the unjust judges.

What I strain to hear, sweet Jesus,
is your voice. I long to hear
the words of comfort, words of
challenge, words of love.

I long to hear the words
that will unbreak my heart
and melt it into Martha’s,
love showering in tears.

Hold me, Martha, as we weep
together for these words of hope.
I’ll tune my ears to hear your voice
declare your faith in life renewed.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 10:38-42, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading for Year C, Proper 11.

The image is Russian; I regret that I cannot translate the attribution that follows: By Владимир Шелгунов – фотографии переданы представителем ИППО, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33504499

Martha’s Prayer

Worried and distracted
by many things?
O, Jesus, if you knew!
Yes, if you only knew!

It’s not the bread and cookies
or the trays of snacks,
nor the fraying linens
or the dusty sills:

It’s the wailing children, Jesus.
It’s the hopeless refugees.
It’s the pain-wracked sufferers.
It’s the justice-denied and hungry.

It’s the comfortable oppressors.
It’s their eager lackeys.
It’s the ones determined
that they will not see injustice.

Worried and distracted
by many things?
O Jesus, if you knew!
But then, you did; you knew.

Breads and cakes forsaken,
I will shed my tears upon your feet.
How will we dry the moisture
lavished there from streaming eyes?

Hold me, Mary, as we weep
together for the long-awaited reign of God.
Unbind your hair, to wipe away
betraying symbols of our grief.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 10:38-42, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading for Year C, Proper 11.

The image is Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, by Johannes Vermeer. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21865869