It Takes a Real Woman

(Advent 4 Year C; please click here for a link to the biblical texts)

Believing God is different from believing in God
Mary teaches us the difference knowing the mercy
power help only God gives when we are open
trusting willing. It is not easy but can be simple
when we yield our need to be the sole agenda
and see in signs of our times what God asks
of us. The divine desire is what counts
We must listen and feel the thumps inside
our souls and bellies the word appearing
in unlikely ways times places
lemon vendors on the streets of Buenos Aires
men in a bathhouse whispering sweet love
trees in the woods sighing soft truth
protestors chanting hope
wounded communities living tough love.
We know what to do. Not to look away
not to pretend we do not hear
but listen as if our lives depended on it
as real lives do not the ones we put on
for sleepwalking jaywalking speedwalking
to get to the end
rather than enjoy a pilgrimage with our holy tour guide
seeing all the sites inviting us to sit a spell
for what comes next praying to see
the wisdom buried inside an ugly package
unlikely call or unplanned pregnancy.
Anyone can believe in God. It takes
a real woman to go all the way.


©RobinGorsline2015 lectionary
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form




When Good News Doesn’t Sound So Good

(Advent 3 Year C; please click here for link to the biblical texts)

Advent’s third Sunday known for joy a pink candle
no one told John so he called out the brood of snakes
he saw slithering around claiming holy lives
keeping warm with coats some need more
cheating others of funds bullies for personal gain.
No mincing words still people thronged
wondering who John is and he tells them
I am the harbinger the forerunner of the One who will bless
and baptize and toss into the fire those who fail
to pay attention. This is Good News?
Directions yes but a recipe for happiness not
happiness overrated anyway
Joy is the bigger deal lasting a lifetime no matter
what comes even a crotchety prophet who points
in the right direction we fear to go
sheep bleating stammering backs up
unwilling to be the first to go through the gate
except to buy presents and pretend all is well
while the world continues teetering closer to the edge
of oblivion fail-safe trigger fingers cocked
just in case figures on the chess board bolt their squares.
In God We Trust we say but it is bombs armies soldiers
sailors marines tanks guns generals admirals leaders
who act tough
we trust more
markets tycoons corporations stocks bonds mortgages too
profiting perhaps most of all
But prophetic  preaching
was long ago another time another world
a curiosity in the shop of spiritual memorabilia.
Still he speaks. Will we catch the truth
of joy within bearing salvation fruit to share
with a frightened angry torn weary world
that only knows nine shopping days ‘til Christmas?

©Robin Gorsline 2015
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

Prophets  Rise in Unlikely Places

(Advent 2 Year C; click here for the biblical texts)

Prophets rise in unlikely places crazy folk
with car alarm voices breaking
through the imposed peace of earthly order
man or woman wearing rags even robes
ranting at passersby running like ants to work
keeping their distance feeling beaten up
life already has them gasping for air
like a black man driving in the wrong part of town no peace.
Where is peace? Is peace not our sacred gift birthright?
In this violated world can there ever be peace
And where have the peacemakers gone?
When was the last time you met one
on the street or the pew pulpit or Congress or in the mirror?
We are each called and chosen too everyone tapped
on the shoulder for a mission many decline yet the
call remains in the courtyard of our hearts teasing
us to come home to God to be reconciled in our Source
the spring overflowing with peace to fill the valleys
of despair and cut channels through mountains
of armaments so we can touch
the crooked arms of soldiers and cops
help them lower their cocked ready weapons
smooth out the roughness of their hearts and minds
in the battlefields and urban and suburban wastelands
to see God hanging out in every foxhole
not for courage to fire or achieve accuracy of aim
but for desire to love and live and hope
God prays without ceasing how do you think
we know to pray—
that someone listens someone hears someone
sees someone claims the salvation promised again
again ever given yet seeming just beyond our grasp.
The high and mighty rarely speak the word of God
preferring the sound of their own voices believing
that what they see and say is all there is
but the prophet rises in unlikely places
maybe in our own soul.

©Robin Gorsline 2015
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

The Day Is Not Only Coming. It Is Here.

(Advent 1 Year C, click here for the biblical texts)

Moments come in each life
to choose how and if we focus.
Are autumn and winter dying times only or  
long days to prepare for new life?
Will we only mourn the dead or
will our tears renew love for the living
to protect them from dread disease
to find the cure thus far beyond our grasp?
We can read the signs of these times
or we can cling to stories past
like Muzak in a merry mall.
Advent now calls us to decide
Is it presents under a tree
not wrong but off center
or is it about new life—ours–
shaken up when hope sprouts
against odds and we are taken  over
yet again by holy bald truth
of boundless grace
cutting through our defense?
The joy is coming here and now.
Are we ready to go beyond
cards and carols eggnog and stringing lights
to open our lives to the grandeur of God’s gifts
in delicate moments of wisdom as naked
and loving as a babe in a crib in a manger rude
cutting through never ending jockeying
for position against the other to find our
rest in Thee and our deep true life
where it has ever been never apart from us
even as we terrified run and hide?
The day is not only coming It is here
the choice as well. What will it be?

Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form.