The Next Prophet

(4th Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C; click here for biblical texts)

Now the word of God came telling Jeremiah
I appointed you a prophet to the nations
But prophets are more numerous speaking
unstoppable truths no matter some try to bury them.
God testifies from unlikely places a southern white
matron organizes spy ring to  undermine the Confederacy
a rabbi speaks for whole justice for Palestinians
Jesus pokes at ancient insularity by harking back to
Elijah and the poor unnamed widow at Zaraphath
in Sidon Elisha’s healing the leprous Syrian army leader
Naaman while white people march with Dr. King heterosexual couples
refuse to wed until their lesbian gay friends can be married.
Prophets often pay dear especially when some perceive
them breaking social rules undermining the status quo
that protects their shared group.
Membership carries privilege conditional at best
the price often too high we look the other way
keep heads down but there are always some who are reached
by God even those who do not believe.
Their bravery changes things us the world
saves lives even as it may cost them theirs.
And they like Jesus walk through angry crowds proving
once again divine truth love peace joy hope will not be stopped
always another day another voice the next prophet
could it be you?

©Robin Gorsline2016  lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

writing+poetryAbout this poem . . . We tend to think of prophets as the ones with big names—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Dr. King, Mohammed. We don’t usually think of Jesus precisely in that way, but in Nazareth, among his home folks, he learned that telling too much truth can land you in hot water (and then he just kept doing it). Many people, even ones of lesser note, throughout history and today have done or are doing the same thing, sometimes on a grand scale, sometimes smaller. It’s how things change.  

Hear the Word of God

(3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C; click here for the biblical texts)

The reader stands at the pulpit
opening the book before the people
Hear the word of God she exclaims
a poignant echo of Ezra opening Torah
before the Hebrews returning from Exile
shivers up and down many spines
as she  reads Isaiah
proclaiming release to captives
good news to the poor recovery of sight to the blind
freedom for the oppressed
in the mouth and person of Jesus
homeboy in Nazareth
channeled in the modern sanctuary.
We feel the drama in those fateful long ago words
Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
Do we hear them today do we respond
Do we proclaim release to anyone
black men herded into prisons
Good news for folks trying to cross the tracks from the wrong side
Syrians Mexicans Salvadorans Muslims everywhere
Recovery of sight and life to those forgotten on the margins
ghetto kids sick African babies
Freedom for those held down in our very neighborhood
down the street across the globe
woman wanting control of their bodies.
We know the glory of God the heavens tell us every day
if and when we listen and watch
but what of the justice of God
peace that passes all our wisdom
Does reading by Ezra’s today daughter
cause us like the ancient Hebrews
to weep and more to act
push the world into peace justice
by moving ourselves more into wholeness.
Hear the word of God she exclaims
Hear it now says Jesus
Make it happen here.

©Robin Gorsline2016 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

writing+poetryAbout this poem……

This poem was inspired by the powerful reading of Scripture by a lay woman at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. recently. It was a different text, but as she proclaimed the word I thought of Jesus in the temple in Nazareth. When later  I encountered the text for this Sunday, and remembered her reading, I realized it is possible for us today to bring God to life in the word just as Jesus and Ezra and Isaiah did.

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
praying—
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 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form