Sunday, November 27, 2005

so come . . .

when no one
seems to pay attention,
we hesitantly reach out
and tug at your sleeve,
"please, listen."

so, come . . .

you are willing
to stand on the street corner,
dressed in dirt and rags,
holding a sign
that reads:
"will work
for those
who wait."

so, come . . .

ignoring our imperfections,
overlooking our hardened hearts,
you keep reworking us
on your wheel of grace,
smiling to yourself
as we gradually take on
the divine shape.

so come, Lord Jesus,
come . . .

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 20, 2005

when you sit
with the homeless
at the local shelter,
you are enthroned in glory,
surrounded by the angels
we have forgotten;

when you pass
the bread
at the downtown soup kitchen,
you bless it
with your grace,
that your neighbor
might be filled with hope;

when you take off
your winter coat
and drape it around
a shivering child,
she is warmed
by your heart
aflame with compassion;

we wonder why we cannot find you,
when we search for you
among the powerful and wealthy,
while all along you have been with
the citizens of your Kingdom:
the hungry, the naked, the sick,
the imprisoned, the lost, the lonely.

help us to meet you there,
Lord Jesus,
help us to meet you there.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 13, 2005

ACTS Prayer

i am not sure
what adoration sounds like,
unless it is the geese singing
on a crisp fall morning
as they glide over my head;

i feel absolutely
no need to confess -
until i see
the disappointment
on my child's face
because i thought
another meeting
was more important
than her concert;

is not only the grace
a child offers at a meal,
it is the relief
in the voice of his grandfather
sharing the results
of his recent medical tests;

i find it difficult to beg,
but when i see people
digging out
from the rubble of an earthquake,
or struggle to feed abandoned kids,
i find myself on my knees
in supplication for them.

O Lord, hear my prayers.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


by floods, earthquakes, tornadoes;
by cancer, autism, depression;
by poverty, homelessness, hunger.

how can we deal with all the needs?

how can we touch all the pain?

how do we embrace the suffering
which surrounds us?

when we gather up the left-overs
of the feast you give us each day,
we have more than enough
for compassion for all.

help us to open our eyes,
and our hands,
Feeding Lord.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

crumbs . . .

that's what we think
you have given us,
O God,
when we look around
and see all that someone else has
and we don't.

but our covetousness crumbles
when we think of the broken bread
that has made us whole,
when we drink from the cup of hope
which is never empty,
when we stand at the foot of the cross,
which has emptied us of our sin.

so richly blessed . . .

why then are we only willing
to offer crumbs
to those who come to us
searching for you?


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 06, 2005

i need to pray:

my heart is filled with bitterness
that rises up in my throat
threatening to choke me;

my soul overflows
with words that are best spoken
in darkened rooms;

my arms grow weary
from the weight
of my life, my stress, my fears;

the pain and struggles
of my family and friends
slip through my fingers
because my hands are so full.

you have promised
to transfigure my bitterness
into the oil of gladness;

you have leaned your head down
to listen to me;

you have invited me
to hand you my burdens;

and perhaps
you want me
to be the hands of healing
you will use.

i need to pray,
i need to pray.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, November 05, 2005

when i am adrift,
when i feel battered
by people i trust,
when i wonder if
i can even
get out of bed in the morning,

you come to me:

are you a ghost;
a nightmare;
a left-over
of the pizza
i ate last night?

or are you the One
i can cling to
when i am sinking
under the weight
of my stress;

are you the One
who holds my hand
when i am afraid
to step out in faith;

are you the One
who sits by my bed
in the dark hours,
that all is well,
there is nothing to fear,
there is no need to doubt.

save me, Lord,
save me!

for i cannot . . .

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman
based on Matthew 14:22-36

Thursday, November 03, 2005

in silence,
i wait;

in hope,
i listen;

in joy,
i receive;

at peace,
i rest.

Blessed be,
blessed be.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bless the Lord

in the leaves
that have turned
brilliant yellows and reds,
and which giggle
as we rake them into piles:
we see God's enduring love;

in the children
roaming from house to house,
their joy and excitement
shining through their
Halloween masks:
we see God's enduring love;

in the daughter
sitting by the bed
of her failing mother,
in the father
tenderly tucking
his children into bed:
we see God's enduring love;

in the parents who work
two and three jobs
to feed and clothe their children,
in the teacher
who stays late
to tutor a struggler:
we see God's enduring love.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
for all the signs
of God's love:
which endures forever and ever.


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For All the Saints

For Columba, Phoebe, Hild, Cuthbert,
Ninian, Brigid and all the faithful
who kept the Light of Christ alive
in the darkest of moments;

For Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day,
Brother Roger, Mother Theresa, and
all those who remind us that our
calling is still to that sainthood
which serves, which prays, which
listens, which gives;

For Teddy, for Joel, for Justin,
for Artiffany: for all those
differently-gifted saints
through whom God has blessed us
with laughter, with joy, with grace,
with a glimpse of the kingdom;

For the Millers, Fred White, Billy
Wireman, Eleanor Pugh, Wellford Hobbie,
John Trottie, Betty Achetemeier,and all
the other mentors of my life;

For all those who this day choose
to entertain angels rather than
be entertained by our culture;

For all those who today will let go
of their wants in order to serve the
needs of another;

For all those who tonight will sit
by the bed of the dying, rather than
resting in their own sleep;

For all those who tomorrow will try
to be faithful, again, in following

For all the saints,
we give you thanks,
Precious God,
we give you thanks.


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman