Thursday, January 17, 2019


in the crusty bread and hot soup
on a wintry night,
   we taste what grace is like;
in the eyes of a child
seeing the grandparent 
step out of the car,
   we see what grace like;
in the rich soil turned over
for spring plantings,
   we smell what grace is like;
in the whispered, 'i love you,'
as the casket is lowered,
   we hear what grace is life;
in the hand of a stranger 
clasping ours in acts of kindness,
   we feel what grace is like;


(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, November 17, 2018

bookends (Mark 13:1-8)

i understand why
the gospel bookends
for the church year are
'little apocalypses'

but emotionally
(and hopefully)
i long for bookends marked

and then i realize
that what jesus
is talking about is not
   but faith;
not terror,
   but trust;
not the worst of times,
   but the hoped-for
   fulfillment of all
God's goodness, wonder,
life, beauty, and love.

(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

then what? (Mark 12:28-34)

did they go off
and share a pizza
and a pitcher;
did they agree
to disagree;
did they shake their heads
as the other walked away;
did one say,
'if you knew
my neighbors
the way i do;'
while the other laughed,
'if you knew
God the way i do;'

after they agreed
that love was what
was most important,
yet almost impossible
to live out,
what did they do next?

(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, October 13, 2018

what must i do (Mark 10:17-31)

it is so good to know
(because i am nowhere rich)
that you are not talking
to me, Jesus, but
don’t you dare bring up
my attachment to
my books,
my politics,
my team,
my interpretation (or mis-)
of you.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, September 27, 2018

blocks (Mark 9:38-50)

when we spell 
when we cross out 
with anger's sharpie; 
when we think 
is best kept 
locked away 
in case others 
might misuse it, 
we continue to put blocks 
in the path 
of your children. 
(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman 

Friday, September 07, 2018

crumbs (Mark 7:24-37)

with great umbrage
(and righteous words),
we call you out,
for turning your back
on a crying mother's
hopes for help,

when we put pocket change
in the plate, saving
our folding money
for the buffet down the street;

toss our (slightly) stained
and (only a small one) torn
winter jacket in the collection
for the homeless folks
instead of that brand new one
we just got for ourselves
(two winters ago);

empty our pantries
of the about-to-expire
canned goods for the
food pantry, so we can
go and get newer ones for us,

we continue to believe
our crumbs are a feast
for those we wouldn't welcome
to our tables.

(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman

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?' 
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