The Lord’s Day

Reflection on Proper 6, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

 

Textual foci: Matthew 9:35-10:23; Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8
Click here for biblical texts
Sunday morning at the Metro Station
pleasant people staff stations for sharing
the truth they claim, they know, will set us free
pamphlets, magazines, personal testimony
and smiles, handshakes, even hugs too
to show the love of God
in case we don’t know it
already and to be sure our belief
is correct so when Jesus comes,
when Jesus comes,
we are counted worthy.

They smile and say “Good Morning” as I pass
clerical color and dangly earrings
marking me a man different from others
as I smile too—the politeness of our exchange
linking us strangely with the One
who was often impolite, or at least impolitic,
healing the wrong people on the wrong day
breaking bread with the disreputable
loving sinners as much as the pious—
or maybe more—the One
with big plans for his twelve
just as he has for us,
compassion to share with the lost,
curing disease, healing the sick
in body and heart, guiding sheep
who lose our way.

Yes we are the sheep called also
to be shepherds—there always is
someone who needs leading
to water or food or medical care
or encouraging words
like those some give
my friend Tyrone the Pennyman
at this same station but not on Sunday.
He does not sit in his usual spot to call out
“Pennies, pennies, pennies,”
to busy travelers
on the Lord’s Day,
we being fewer in number
(why is church attendance declining now?)
and perhaps more intent on filling the collection plate
than the stomach of one
with few teeth, many rags
and unkempt hair—
 yet in his cheerful countenance
reminds me of St. Paul who says
suffering produces endurance
and endurance produces character
and character produces hope.

I just pray Tyrone’s hope
does not disappoint him
and others who struggle in like manner,
that somehow divine love
moves enough sheep, and shepherds too,
you and me among them,
to help the lowly rise
that all may make a joyful noise
and worship God with joy.

 

writing+poetryAbout this poem. . . . Jesus sent out the 12 and sends us out, too. The question, at least for me, is what is the mission to which I have been called? What is most needed in the world, and what is my part in meeting that need? And am I sure I am hearing the call correctly? Is it really Jesus or is it just my idea or the idea of others I like?  
©Robin Gorsline 2017 FaithfulPoetics.net

Again

Reflection on Resurrection of the Lord, Year A

 

Text focus: Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24; John 20:1-18
Click here for biblical texts
Jesus Christ is risen today!

We rise to celebrate,
go to church, dinner, parade, egg hunt.
Are we raised, too,
on this New Year’s Day,
life no longer the same,
when we, like him,
have been changed,
given new spiritual garments,
shown new paths
as God’s beloveds
to navigate a world
that acts as if there is no God?

First Apostle Mary Magdalene
hung out at the tomb, waiting—
she feared all was lost
but we know otherwise,
God still active,
Jesus keeps rising,
Holy Spirit moving all the time,
we can miss it if we stop
witnessing, watching,
being open to the latest—
where are we waiting
and what are we waiting for?

Signs of the times were not good then,
not good now, powers of death
and oppression and hate
still strong, maybe stronger
in age of alt-whatever,
but during and after two dinners today—
the open meal in the sanctuary
and the ordinary one at home
or church basement or restaurant—
we can witness, we can follow
Mary as she followed Jesus,
share the good news,
tell the world that life and love
win, as they do when enough people show up
to testify, when we wake up, show up
stand up, act up, live up, speak up
so people still in their tombs,
captive to fear—
including ourselves—
put on the love and hope and power
of God, and go forth singing
Jesus Christ is risen today,
knowing we are raised, we are pulled up,
ready or not we are made new,
again.

 

  

About this poem . . . . Our voices, our spirits, our arms and hearts arc in successive crescendos as we feel the joy of Jesus breaking the bonds of death. It is about him, surely God, as well as Mary and Peter and the others. But it is us, too. I ask myself, how am I changed? Am I changed? Is this the New Year, and will I do better with resolutions—or do I need resolutions? Maybe I just need to listen and follow what I hear.
©Robin Gorsline 2017 FaithfulPoetics.net

Will the Stones Need To Shout?

(Palm Sunday, Year C; click here for the biblical readings)

Will the stones need to shout out now
or will our voices, our presence,
raise enough rejoicing to unsettle
powers who mean to do all the talking,
their own agendas more vital than God’s,
so they tell themselves, and many bound to listen
due to economic necessity
or endless media repetition, never-ending
sound loops of the same loud voices
with the latest offer that in truth leaves
everything except the packaging the same?

We need now to take to the streets
waving palms yes and placards too—
justice for all, love is the way—
and our arms raised in hosannas
drowning out tired old voices, but more,
calling forth our shared power to create
something new with stones rejected,
not throwing them but laying them down as
a new foundation, cornerstone of listening
to each other,  choosing to stay open
to ideas from those we barely knew
existed until we found ourselves next
to them in the crowd cheering the rabbi
(is it true he’s from Nazareth, how weird is that?)
riding the borrowed bicycle leading
the ragtag parade of the powerless
who actually like us have great—
really the greatest—power at the tip and base
of our prayers.

Now is the time to get off the sidewalk,
out of the bars into the streets we used to say
when pride was our parade’s objective, but
now we are called to protect immigrants,
stop assaults against Black men, stand up for
transgender youth and Black women,
get health care for all God’s children,
finally care about native people remaining from our genocide,
help warring leaders to begin talking, listening,
so no more children need die as collateral damage.

This is the day God has made for us to wake up,
grow up, look up, act up, stand up, live up
to our heritage as the people of God led
by the One on the bike who heals, exhorts,
raises the dead, loves our enemies as much
as he loves us, and never ever, never stops
feeding us, all of us, heavenly food we need—
and crave if we are honest with ourselves—
to live by the beat, the truth, the beauty, of God

@Robin Gorsline 2016 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

writing+poetryAbout this poem . . .When Pharisees seek to silence Jesus and the Holy Spirit working through the disciples and others in the crowd, really the movement of God in the world, Jesus reminds them, and us, that God’s voice will not be stopped, even if the stones have to shout.  But God depends on us to do the talking, which means we need to listen for and to  God, and then take the risk of speaking up, again and again.

You Are My Beloved

(Baptism of the Lord, Year C; click here for the biblical texts)

In the name of the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit I claim you
for Christ the priest intoned
as the drops of water rolled down
the chubby infant cheeks
recalling in that moment as in all other
moments at the font how God claimed
Jesus for God’s Own rising from River
Jordan amidst the heavenly chorus
booming voice no applause
then but today the pews
resound with joy as proud parents
and godparents and grandparents
and siblings crowd around grinning
hugging awaiting the cake and coffee
downstairs thinking not that moment
perhaps of what this means belonging not
just to your family and friends
but to God to be God’s cherished
walk the earth build a life of hope
prayer joy truth love peace sadness
too all marked by this moment of
holy inauguration into the journey
of faith the steps in years to come
the newly baptized will take that
none can foretell except
God the love and nurture and nudging
that give life shape and meaning when
if we pay attention—can we will we
help this new one listen and learn—  
will we ourselves listen and learn
what it means to be chosen for
special responsibility in the
eternal global family setting
our face toward Jerusalem
going into our own wildernesses
emerging no limits on love
bearing crosses speaking our truth
beloved beginning to end.

©RobinGorsline2015 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use this credit whenever this poem is published in any form

Shall We Sing to God a New Song?

(Christmas, Year C; click here for the biblical texts)

Shall we sing to God a new song
becoming angels making joyful noise
listening to hear those high above
hearts ears open to hear
divine music in our souls to tumble
from our holy lips heralds of new birth
in Bethlehem yes but closer to home
our very own manger in which to lay
gifts of ourselves to share hope peace
joy love by which we are marked as
God’s beloved not just one night but
for life giving ourselves away feeding
the world with the symphonic melody
beating coursing in sacred veins
cherub chorus that never ends
divine energy flowing in through around us
touching hardened ones opening once
closed minds making shepherds of all
to proclaim yet again God’s love
for a world too frightened to receive
without shame and preconditions
what is freely given in delirious joy
pondering in our hearts
the gift vibrating still in Holy Land
war zones where mothers continue
to ponder in their hearts the blood
of birth as the sign of heaven’s favor
and fathers look on awed to see
what wildest dreams cannot conceive
hope rising peace born yet again
singing a new song in God’s key
heaven’s harmonics heralding
the chance to start again
where all was lost and yet
is never gone when we listen
watch wait pray hope give thanks
trusting the One we cannot see
right in front of our eyes.
©RobinGorsline2015 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form