The Lost Coin

Search for me, Holy Mother.
Search for me. I await
your questing fingers, searching eyes.
Search for me, Blessed One.
I wait.

Oh, how I long to be so sought
as by that sweeping, seeking woman!
How I long to rest in lostness here.
Search for me, Blessed Sister. Here
I wait.

For when you find me, Divine Woman,
when you find me my rest ends.
Then will I, with your other silver discs,
reflect your glory with my polished face.
Until then: I await.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 15:1-10, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Proper 19.

The image is La Drachma Perdue (The Lost Drachma) by James Tissot, painted between 1886 and 1894 – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008, 00.159.93_PS2.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195929

Ignorant Clay

The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. – Jeremiah 18:4

Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. – Philemon 1:11

I can make no excuse for Paul, O God.
He knew the story of the Exodus,
he knew that you are LORD of people free,
and still he sent a man to be a slave.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

He knew, but still he did not know, O God,
he did not draw the straight and simple line
from Egypt and Mount Sinai to the life
of Christ, in whom are no more slave or free.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

He knew, but still he did not know, O God.
And I? What do I know yet do not know?
What insights will seem obvious to those
in times to come so shrouded still from me?

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

So obvious to me, these lacks in Paul.
So obvious to them, the people who
will judge my ignorance. So obvious
that we should give ourselves to be reshaped.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

A poem/prayer based on Jeremiah 18:1-11, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading, and on Philemon 1:1-21, the RCL second reading for Year C, Proper 18.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

No Problem

“The poor, the lame, and the blind are called into the supper.”

For once, you’re clear
and things are easy, Jesus.
Sit in the back, and far
away from everyone?

No problem.

Some years ago,
and at a wedding feast,
I found myself as far away
from blaring speakers as I could.

No problem.

But wait… You want me now
to throw a party for the poor,
the smelly wastrels and
the unemployed? Yeah, right.

No problem.

I have a choice of texts.
“Don’t work? Don’t eat!” it says
as clear as day and night.
No party for the lazy ones, say I.

No problem.

And so it goes: I choose
the text and means to understand:
yet somehow, when I’m done,
it works out fine for me.

No problem.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 14:1, 7-14, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Proper 17.

The image is by an unknown artist. It is found in The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation by Charles Foster (Philadelphia, Charles Foster, ca. 1879), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59927089.

Liberated

When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free…” – Luke 13:12

Should you not have asked, O Lord?
“Without so much as a ‘By your leave?'”
as the ex-leper said. “Bloody do-gooder.”
Did she want to be healed, O Lord?

Well, I’ll take it as Gospel
(did you like the pun there?)
that Luke tells it right, and bound
she was, straining for freedom.

Loose the mule. Loose the ox.
Loose the child. Loose the sea.
Loose the woman. Loose the sky.
Set them loose! Loose the Creation!

Can today be a Sabbath I can let loose?
Can today bring a knot that I might untie?
Can today be celebration of liberty?
Can today hear the echoes of praise?

A poem/prayer based on Luke 13:10-17, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Proper 16.

Thanks to D. Mark Davis’ reflection at Left Behind and Loving It for insights into Luke’s composition of the Scripture text.

The quote in the first stanza is from Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, directed by Terry Jones.

The image is from a mosaic in the Duomo di Monreale, Sicily. Photo by Sibeaster – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4470788.

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.