Tuesday, August 30, 2005

it was tempting
this morning,
to grumble
as I walked the dog
in the gently falling rain,

then i thought
of the folks
who would like nothing more
than to be able
to walk their neighborhoods
that are flooded
with water and debris;

it is easy to grumble
about the extra hours
i will spend today
in meetings,

until i remember
the emergency crews,
the National Guard,
all the folks who will spend
18-20 hours a day
for the next few months
helping the victims of Katrina;

if i don't find you
instantly available
for my petty needs,
remind me, Helping God,
that you are with those
who are filling sandbags
and piling them up;
you are wading through
waist-high water to bring
food to the hungry;
you are standing watch
over the children
whose parents are battling exhaustion;
you are with those
who need you the most.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 28, 2005

if i take off my shoes
to serve the needy,
i fear i will be
scarred by their pain;

if i slip off my sandals
to search for the lost,
i worry that i will
never get all the mud off;

if i remove my trainers
to get near your burning bush,
i know that i will leave
bearing a cross;

but you stand there
waiting to wash my feet,
to bind up my wounds,
and to nail your feet
to my sin.

i will run
through the grace-dewed
grass of your kingdom,
you are
who you say
you are!

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mark 1:40-42

a stray dog
shivering in a doorway;
a homeless family
in line at the shelter;
children kidnapped
and forced into slavery,
or into rebel armies:

who doesn't feel sorry
when faced with such sights,
who is not filled with compassion?

but who is filled with enough pain
to seek justice for those
dumped by the side of the road
by the world?

who is filled with enough anger
to be willing
to fast
so that others might eat;
to walk
so that others might have heat;
to listen
so that others might be heard.

You are,
Passionate God,
you are!

And you call us
not just to feel pity,
but to feel moved
about ending poverty;

not just to give someone a bandage,
but to bind their spirits,

not just to give someone a handout,
but to touch them,
to welcome them,
to include them in our lives.

We are compassionate,
help us to be passionate.


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 21, 2005

on Monday,
i proclaimed you
a pest,
for constantly poking me in the soul
and saying:
'why aren't you . . .
'did you see . . .
'how come you didn't . . .?'

on Tuesday,
i said you were a
to imagine anyone
would take up a cross
and follow you;

on Wednesday,
i called you a name
(i won't repeat here)
for letting a gentle saint
be murdered in his church;

on Thursday,
i lament you as
as your weeping brothers
cradle your sobbing sisters
carrying them gently
into a shalom
not yet envisioned.

allow me to start over,
and simply say
you are

my Hope
my Comfort
my Guide
my Joy
my Savior

and forever.


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 14, 2005

there was that day
(it seems like yesterday
though so long ago),
when i decided
to search for you,
and took a chance
i might find you

there was that path
(so overgrown with weeds
i was sure i was lost),
i was following
through life
until i came around
the bend
and saw another road.
i took a chance
that it might lead me
to your heart.

there was that time,
(i thought would last forever),
when the only story i knew
was the one i wrote,
filled with sorrow and loneliness;
so i took a chance
on reading yours.

through every day,
on every path,
in eveyr moment;
in my confusion,
in my certainty:

you have chosen
to take a chance on me.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, August 05, 2005

the car pulls up in front of the house,
the officer and chaplain
get out together,
moving as one
with silence in their walk
and grief cradled in their hands.
behind the living room curtain,
hearts that once leaped
at the sight of their child
getting off the school bus,
no shatter into a million pieces.
be with them, Merciful God,
and catch their tears
in you own grieving heart;
walk with them, Ever-present God,
in the days of emptiness
that lie ahead;
mend them,
God of wholeness,
when they hold their brokenness
out to you.
Comfort them, Tender God,
as only a Parent
who has lost a child
can do.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman