This page began with one specific focus; to share weekly poems written in response to the Revised Common Lectionary used by many Christian denominations–Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, some Baptists, Lutheran, and my own movement, Metropolitan Community Churches, among others.
More recently, as I have begun writing poetic responses to other spiritual texts and events, I decided to change the name from lectionarypoetics to faithfulpoetics.
So, many of the poems are inspired by my readings of the texts, usually focused on the Gospel reading but often reflecting as well the readings from the Hebrew Bible and other Christian testament texts, and other spiritual writings outside the Bible, and also in response to events and other experiences with links to spiritual life and the presence of the Divine.
The lectionary is a three-year cycle, in part due to each of the years being focused on a different synoptic gospel–Mark, Matthew, and Luke while readings from John are used at particular occasions yearly. Each lectionary-focused entry here will include a link to that week’s readings, which are maintained through the good offices of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library of the Vanderbilt Divinity School.
I was inspired to begin the lectionary-based project after participating for some months in the weekly Sunday evening Jazz Vespers at The Gayton Kirk, a Presbyterian USA Church in the western suburbs of Richmond, VA. Each Sunday at 5:00 pm people would gather at small round, cafe-like tables and listen to a fabulous jazz combo (led by the incomparable Tommy Witten on the key board). We also would listen to the reading of the Gospel appointed for the week from the RCL, as well as view a painting or other piece of visual art chosen in response to the reading.
And there would be a poem, too, also chosen in response to the reading. We heard some amazing poetry–T.S. Eliot, of course, Denise Levertov, Mary Oliver, and other spiritually-oriented writers, as well as others unknown to me or any of us other than the person who found and chose them. Finding the right poem was not always easy, even though the search could be fun.
I decided, however, to try my hand at writing a poem, and found great delight–and some angst as well–in doing so. Others seemed to enjoy them, too.
So, this began as lectionarypoetics.org as of the first Sunday in Advent, Year C (November 29, 2015).
Over time, as I did more and more, I found myself wanting to engage more than the lectionary texts. Then, an occasion presented itself, an Interfaith Passover Seder sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Metro DC Chapter. As a member of the committee organizing the event, I was asked, as a Christian minister, to offer a prayer. I realized in that moment that a prayer-poem was called for.
And I realized that this blog could move beyond the weekly lectionary, that other liturgical occasions, such as the seder, are often ripe for poetic response, interpretation, and celebration. Surely there are texts in addition to Scripture that inspire my muse.
So here I will post poems, poetic reflections, in response to the spiritual reality of life as I experience it. I hope a poem or two, or more, may inspire you and give you new insight into texts and even the wider presence and mystery of God in our world. May you receive and be made aware of God’s blessing in what you find here.