Tuesday, June 19, 2018

at the borders (Mark 4:35-41)

at the Tombs Apartments 
where Brother Legion lives; 
at the doorway 
leading to where 
a little girl sleeps; 
at the top 
of a garbage dump 
outside Jerusalem; 
at the crossings 
where we would separate families, 
devalue sisters and brothers, 
and terrify innocent children; 
at all the borders 
which threaten to separate us 
from God (and 
from each other), 
Jesus cries out, 
'why are you afraid?' 
 
for 
at all the edges of our fears, 
Jesus comes 
to tear them down 
and build God's community 
of grace, hope, and welcome 
 
(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman 
 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

seeds (Mark 4:26-34)

we imagine the kingdom
as a bonsai plant,
that neatly trimmed art form
just the right size
for us and a select few;
      or
a redwood forest
where we can wander,
gazing up at the towering
giants of faith, before
getting into our cars
to do more sightseeing;
      or
those gentle pines who
whisper in the breezes
and whose needles provide
a soft bed where we
can curl up with apathy;
      and
so it will be as long
as we leave your
seeds
of hope, grace, life,
peace, joy, wonder
deep within the ground,
dormant.

(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, May 31, 2018

called (1 Samuel 3)

in the store, parking lot, 
or the walks in the neighborhood, 
i heard you calling clear as a bell, but 
when i turned around, you 
were nowhere to be seen; 
 
i remember the embarrassment 
(too many times) 
of being so busy, that 
it took a stranger tapping me 
on the shoulder and saying, 
'i think you're being paged,' 
to realize that you have been trying 
(doggedly) 
to get me to notice; 
 
in the tears of a child 
over her sick pet, 
you call; 
in the memories 
of a hospice patient, 
you call; 
in the whisper 
of hope into loneliness' 
empty nights, 
you call; 
in the sudden 
burst of forgiveness 
from the depths of hurt, 
you call. 
 
help me 
to pay attention. 
 
(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

orphanage (John 14:15-21)


when 
we keep forgiveness 
      tucked away in 
      the back of our freezer, 
   yet are eager to 
   microwave anger; 
we cannot find 
      the time to be 
      with our loved ones, 
   because our stress-causers 
   take priority; 
we stand alone 
      convinced that we 
      need no one else 
      to help us, while 
   they are knocking 
   on our heart with 
   hope in their hands, 
we continue 
to fill the world 
      with 
orphans. 
 
(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

   sorry, paul (Romans 5:3-5)

 watching chemo drip
      into your child
   week after week, does
      not produce endurance,
   it wears your soul
         down to a nub; and
walking by the side
      of your aging parent
   through
         dementia's desert
      doesn't build character,
   it erodes your
          heart; and
though the preachers
      always pontificate
   other wise,
      too many know
         how hope
   trips them and
   leaves them crumpled
by the side of
      despair.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

all we need (Romans 4:16)

not the letters after our names,
   or the framed sheepskins;
not the amounts in our accounts,
   or the stocks we hope to use to
   paper the mansions in heaven;
not the successes we have carved out,
   or the pats we get on the back;

but simply,

the simple faith
that we can
                  depend
on God's grace,

that's the only
guarantee we
need.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 16, 2017

neighborhood (Leviticus 19:18)

in the little kids
who spend Saturday mornings
making sandwiches for
rough sleepers, and
      giving them away
      in the evenings;
in the PTSDed vet
who gives half of his
sandwich to the
four-legged friend
   who shadows him
   everywhere;
in the dog who
keeps guard over
the aluminum can filled cart,
      while the old lady
      sleeps on the doorstep;
in the old lady
who gives a tenth
of her earnings from
the recycled aluminum
      to the children, so
      they can buy more
   sandwich fixings,

i meet neighbors
who love others
far better than
   i ever will.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman