God Shows Up

 

Reflection on Epiphany, Year A

Focus: Matthew 2:1-12
Click here for biblical texts

God shows up in a stable, then in a star in the sky
showing astrologer sages the way
to share in the celebration .
When has God shown Godself to you?
Perhaps you saw women not wearing underwear
selling lemons on the streets of Buenos Aires
and knew God in new ways.
Or you met a homeless man at a Metro stop
and now know God’s face bears deep lines
and few teeth but always a dazzling smile,
while the divine body wears rags,
sharing blessings with you and all who pass.

Soprano voices of a boy childs’ choir pierce my ears and heart—
I’m now in angelic realms of glory—
tears streaming down my cheeks and shivers cutting through my soul.
I hear a truth I thought I never knew before
that now feels like an old dear friend—
poet or preacher or sidewalk saint pierces consciousness:
I am never again the same.
A doe and her fawn run as I invade what they thought was their space
and in the grace of leaping legs I suddenly know
how the Holy Spirit moves among our souls and bodies.
A great white oak stands guard
at the entrance to my home; as it reigns
I begin to trust God’s steady strength,
knowing the One who makes the oak makes me.

Epiphany is a high class word for what happened long ago,
but it did not stop then.
Where is God showing Godself to you, to me, this very hour,
this holy day?

 
writing+poetryAbout this poem . . . .In some cultures, Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is the highlight of the liturgical season of Christmas (the twelve days of Christmas).  However, by the time the calendar turns to January 6 in others it is no longer news because the magi have been to the manger and left their gifts already in pageants and malls. Still, this season of Epiphany is a good time to remember that God keeps appearing, and we keep being gifted, really on a daily basis—if we keep our hearts, minds, eyes, ears, and hands open. And like the manger, God often shows up in humble or unusual ways, and like the star, sometimes God arrives in glory.
©Robin Gorsline 2017 FaithfulPoetics

Days of Turmoil

Reflection in response to the 1st Sunday after Christmas, Year A

Primary texts: Matthew 2:13-23; Isaiah 63:7-9
Click here for biblical texts

 

Refugees are people who flee to something less terrifying
than continuing to stay where they are or what they see coming,
often giving up what was once thought comfortable, pleasant, safe,
now untenable due to violence already inflicted
and/or more about to be dealt,
threats feeling so real you grab your clothes
and run, maybe a few pictures, a crust or two of bread,
your children of course, like Mary and Joseph grabbed
Jesus to escape to Egypt. This first-family-to-be
ran for their lives in the face of Herod’s
fear disguised as anger–tyrants, elected or not, everywhere
the same–to return later–tyrants die although they want us to forget–
to be replaced by a fearsome son–where have we heard that before–
so again this family finds another new home,
in Nazareth.
That is Matthew’s story, and he’s sticking to it.

Luke starts the story with a Nazorean family
forced to Bethlehem for the registration
who then return to Nazareth
to live and grow together in peace, love, and care.
Either way, a ruler, whether Emperor or lackey-King,
seems to control the earthly action.
It is good for us to remember in days of turmoil
that those who claim mandates to do as they wish,
no matter the needs of those less powerful,
do not in truth control everything or in some ways
much of anything. Who cares today what Herod thought
or even the august emperor, footnotes to history,
necessary props in the story that turns out to be
not about them at all, no matter how much they strut
and preen and issue a thousand tweets like a flock
of angry, self-absorbed starlings?

Isaiah and others knew all this so well–
tales of people pushed about by despots from afar
and often their own rulers, so that they lost their way–
prophets seeing God present in all things,
redeeming the people in divine love and pity
even when they did not know it, or denied
the very God who creates us all, of whom prophets
told repeated truths and angels in every sort of form
sang loud hosannas echoing across the skies of
slumbering yet unsteady, at risk, earth.

When will we learn, really learn and understand,
it is not tyrants, blowhards, insecure rulers
and small-minded puppets pretending to pull strings
of the rest of of us who matter, but God, the one who
refuses to treat us with other than respect and love,
whose gentle power is what really runs the show?
Not a puppet master, not even a taskmaster or
judge, but one whose desire for us, for us to live
whole lives as we are given at birth, exceeds all
negativity, all hate, all puny politics and war–that is
The One whom we worship, The One who touched the babe
in the manger and continues to touch us, too.

 

writing+poetryAbout this poem . . . . . The familiar, though often forgotten story, of Herod’s mad rampage on feeling tricked and scared by challenges to his rule, is the backdrop for Joseph and the family, as it really is even today as in the midst of wonders and joys in our lives, and even our private sorrows, we continue to contend with small-minded, petty oligarchs of politics, business, militarism, etc., just to survive. But history is not really about them, any more than daily life is.

©Robin Gorslilne 2015 FaithfulPoetics.net