Saturday, October 28, 2023


that time of year which always
seems to overwhelm us,
that season some call HallowThankMas.
we are already seeing the ads
and hearing the news about
how hard it may be to travel
and the need to buy tickets.
so, as we plan and hope and dream,
remind us, God of the lonely,
of all those around us who
will not be able to travel this year,
just as they have not been able
to afford to travel, or have anyone
to visit, for so many years.

that time of year which always
seems to seduce us to spend
more on costumes and buy more
candy than we will ever give away
(or should eat) is here.
and we begin to make lists
of what we will get for our aunt,
the tools our brother might need,
how many toys and gifts
for each child or grandchild,
all the while mindful of the stories
of the most popular gifts
already being on backorder.
so, as we plan and hope and dream,
remind us, Jesus of the forgotten,
of all those around us (maybe
even friends, neighbors, family)
who hope they can afford, much
less find, a simple, single present
for each member of their family,
and wonder if they can put together
a costume for their child.

that time of year which always
seems to sneak up on us, no matter
how early the sales, and ads, begin
has done it again, and we are
already stressed out with the
planning, the worrying,
the scheduling, the list making,
and soon, the delivery folks
will be dropping off more and more
stress on our porches and doors.
so, as we plan and hope and dream,
remind us, Spirit of pauses and silence,
that not everyone gives into the
buying and accumulating and worrying,
but find the simple pleasures
of a quiet afternoon with a close friend,
the silence of a long walk in the woods,
the gentle peace of staring at the stars,
and who are more than willing
to share these gifts with us.

that time of year is upon us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
so, we pray we might find time
this year to discover the peace,
the hope, the silence, the grace
you offer to us in every moment. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, October 26, 2023

how easy

we cry out for peace
and offer our prayers
while continuing to mutter
angry words about others
under our breath, pausing
to stir the kettle of bitterness
brewing in our hearts,
quietly planning the revenge
we would wreak upon all
those we think of as evil.

we recoil in revulsion 
at the images we see
displayed on our devices
of rubbled buildings and
bullet-holed kibbutzes,
of little children carried 
lifeless from their homes,
of hospitals reduced to morgues,
while never having given
a thought to the plight,
the fears, the nightmares
of those on both sides 
until these last few days.

we like, love, share
social media postings, memes,
pictures, diatribes posted
by people who know 
no more than we do
(about the history, the land
or the faiths or the politics,
the reality, the hopes, the
solutions tried over and over,
the promises made and broken
then recycled once more)
simply because they appeal
to our emotions, or the outrage
of those who add fuel to our own.

Lord, in your mercy . . .

(c) 2023 Thom M. Shuman

Venmo: @Thom-Shuman

Friday, October 13, 2023


as long as we think
all it takes is a handshake
(while keeping the hidden
hand clenched in a fist).
as long as we believe
it can be accomplished
around tables rather than
sitting in an open circle
where we can see the
vulnerability of one another.
as long as we are convinced
it is the repeated use
of the same word over
and over again, while ignoring
the broken promises of so long.
as long as we trust 
it to prayers and not the
gritty efforts of listening,
nor the grubby work 
of baring our souls,
nor the gut wrenching reality
of admitting our evil,

what chance does 
ever have?

(c) 2023 Thom M. Shuman

Venmo: @Thom-Shuman 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

as close as (John 20:19-31)

in these moments
especially in these moments
we suddenly realize how
much we miss the human
touch (yes, even us introverts), so
you invite us to reach out
and touch 
your wholeness offered
for our brokenness,
your healing given
for our hopelessness,
your love poured out
for our loneliness

when we put on masks
and need to stand 
as far away as we can
from one another, you
come and breath 
peace on us, so we
might find serenity in
all the confusion, so we
might find comfort in
the midst of all the uncertainty.

(c) 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 20, 2020

canticle 23 for these times

God is the health care folk
all around us:
encouraging us to stay home;
reminding us to wash our hands
so we can help others be safe;
teaching us how to be mindful
and watch over ourselves and others.

even as we shelter in place,
we will not give in to fear,
for God is with us,
in those who call us and care for us,
in those who shop for us,
and those who treat us.

around a lonely table,
in a houseful of family,
in a hospital with strangers,
God feeds us with grace,
pouring out hope upon us,
filling us with peace in sleepless night.
i know, without any doubt,
that God's gentleness and compassion
are walking right beside us,
showing us the way home
to the One who holds us 
in Love's Heart forever.

(c) 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 12, 2020

canticle 95

gospel, country, hip hop,
rock and roll, r & b, classical:
let every genre raise a song
to you, O God.
we will come jumping and jiving
into your living room, clapping
our hands in time to our songs:
for you are beyond words,
and music is the common
tongue to speak of you!
you cradle canyons in your hands
and shape Everests from dust,
you float islands like rafts
across the oceans of the world.

we come running to jump up
in your lap, and laugh as
you bounce us on your knees,
and then sit on the floor
as we play marbles together,
and you listen to our silly jokes.

you ask us to pay attention, and
we run off, slamming our doors
as hard as we can as if to test
how far your patience stretches.
if we put our ears
up to the doors and listen
very carefully, we might just hear
your heart beating slowly,
hoping we would come out
and sit at your feet to hear
your stories of grace

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

canticle 121

our eyes cast down onto
sheol’s road, you tip up
our chins so we can see hope
leaping over the horizon,
running our way through
creation’s flowery fields.

you help us to stay steady
on our feet in the gusts of life;
we won’t catch you daydreaming
you hold us, and all your children
tight to your heart, refusing
to nod off no matter how weary.

you are our babysitter, our guardian;
you are a shady oak on a hot day,
cooling us with sweet lemonade,
showing us how to use a telescope
to explore the moon each night.

you refuse to let the malicious
to gain power over us;
you wrap us in your arms
when we tremble with fear.
whether we are relaxing at home,
running errands, facing down bullies,
trying to stand up to injustice –
wherever, whenever; here, there;
yesterday, today, tomorrow
you are
with us, beside us, for us

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman