Saturday, December 30, 2006

now what

now what will you do
with those gifts?

now what will you do
with that love
God has given to you -
to share with those
you don't like?

now what will you do
with that hope
God put under the tree -
can you pass it on
to a despairing neighbor?

now what will you do
with that joy
you didn't expect -
hoard it all for yourself
or hand it to a grieving widow?

now what will you
do with that grace
God stuck in your stocking -
leave it there
or find the stranger who needs it?

now what will you do
with all that forgiveness
God has given to you
in the Babe -
throw it out
with the wrapping paper
or offer it to the one
who has hurt you so much?

that Christmas is over,
what will you do?

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Micah 5:2

Micah 5:2a

did you worry
you should have
sent another prophet;
or did you want to
send your Best
for the least?

did you wonder
if you had chosen
the wrong route
to our souls,
or were you so determined
to find the lost
that you took that first step

did you have any doubts
about the family,
the location, the timing,
you had chosen -
or was the first thing
on your mind
that sign to the last
of the world?

did it cross your mind
to place the Gift
under the tree
of the powerful and wealthy,
the wise and successful;
or did you just know
the little
would open it carefully
and cradle it in their hearts?

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 10, 2006

if you came
with a fistful of anger,
who could endure?

but you come
with open hands,
eager to grasp our own
in love.

if you came
with the fire of judgment,
who could endure?

but you come
with the light of grace
to show us the way.

if you came
hardened against our sin,
who could endure?

but you come
holding us in your heart,
so we might have life,

if you came
bearing bad news,
we might be able to handle it . . .

but can we endure
the gift
of good news?

even so,come,
Lord Jesus,

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 04, 2006

but you came

if you came in the spring,
we could expect newness,
bright flowers
to soften your path,
the songs of birds
to herald your coming:

but you came
in winter's despair,
the chill of complacency
settled upon us.

if you came in the summer,
we could expect you
to be bronzed,
stepping from the sea:

but you came
in a stable
a wrinkled baby
with animals for midwives,
and angels your playmates.

help us to set down
our parcels of expectations
to reach down and scoop
you up in our arms,

your laughing breath
giving us life.


(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 26, 2006


what is truth?

kings are old,
or dead:
dust collecting on
history's bookshelf;

why would we need
(or 'constitutional monarchs')
in this day of ipods/mp3s,
lightning fast email,
instant connect with anyone,
in the world?

what is truth?

truth is a commodity
traded to the highest bidder;
truth is a documentary
based on a novel;
truth is what comes out
of the end of a gun;

what is truth?

Truth is who you are,
(who would be enthroned
in my heart, if I only would
let you),
as we discover
chasing to catch up with you:
and Truth is what you do,
on the cross,
dying for Pilate,
for Israel,
for feckless disciples,
for me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You love us beyond imagination
and forgive us beyond our wildest hopes;
you withhold nothing from us,
but grace us with everything we need.
You guide us when we stumble off
the paths which lead to right living,
you pull us to our feet
when we trip over our sins.
You feed us from the bounty of your joy,
and keep us close to your heart
when we are fearful of the future.
Words of thanksgiving can never express
all which you have done for us,
God of goodness and mercy,
and so, we lift our praise to you
in joy and hope.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Let us give thanks to the Lord,
telling of God's wonders.

We will tell our families of what God has done;
we will share the stories of grace and hope.

Let us give thanks to the Lord,
singing songs of joy to God.

We will tell our neighbors of how God has touched us,
we will share stories of renewal and healing.

Let us give thanks to the Lord,
praising the One to whom we belong.

We will tell others of God's presence in our lives;
we will share the goodnesss which has been given to us.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

no easy thanks

it will be easy
to be filled with gratitude
for friends and family
as we gather together:
so make us mindful
of the lonely,
the friendless,
the forgotten.

it will be easy
to lift a prayer of thanks
as i carve the turkey
this week:
so give me the words
to speak out
for the mother in Darfur
cradling her hungry child
in her arms.

it will be easy
to be filled with hope
as we take a long walk
after such a big meal,
and enjoy the freedom to do so:
so help us to remember
those held captive
by violence and war,
by addiction and pain,
by brokenness and despair.

it would be easy
to simply give thanks:
so intensify my compassion,
broaden my concern,
enlarge my heart
with your grace.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 12, 2006

risky business

You ask me to take a risk,
O God,
but i am not that sort:
i've always played it safe,
and sensible.

it it is cold and wet outside,
i make sure i bundle up;
after all,
i can't risk missing work
because of a cold, can i?

when i pull into traffic,
or cross the street on foot,
i hesitate just a moment,
look both ways first,
(so i won't risk getting hurt).

when i work in the yard,
or risk playing with the tools
in my garage,
i handle them very carefully:
they might bite!

and when it comes to my money,
i am very frugal
and practical
(i think!)
so my future is not at risk.

You ask me to take a risk,
O God,
to consider letting go,
to ponder giving more,
to think about stepping
forth into your risk future:
in faith.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The TV ads are history:
let us see one another
as sisters and brothers;

the vitriolic words have faded:
let us speak
of community,
of integrity,
of shared commitment;

the fists that were shaken
at opponents are unclenched:
let them reach out
to lift up the fallen,
to open a book for a child,
to serve a meal to the hungry,
to offer a job to the one
standing by the side
of society.

Election Day is over,
Healing God,
let us live together,
laugh together,
envision together,
serve together.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 29, 2006

sitting duck

i would wear
steel-toed boots
to nudge my friends
out of the way,
or high-heeled boots
so i am not dirtied
by the muck of the world,
but you rub
my Achilles' heel raw
with the pebble of

i would take
self-defense courses
to protect myself
from all the blows
the world throws at me,
but you pull off
my gloves
and show me
the wide open stance
of grace;

i would build a fence
of cynicism and doubt
around my soul
so no one can sneak past
with their pain and need,
but you hold out
your heart to me,
naked and bleeding
from its brokenness.

Jesus, Son of David,
have pity on me:
so when I want to be
safe and secure,
i can become a sitting duck
for your vulnerability.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 22, 2006

where you sit

we leave our box seats
at the symphony or ball park,
and pray you won't catch our eye
as we pass you
sitting with the homeless;

we wait for a few minutes
at the doctor's office
to get a $10 shot
so we won't catch the flu,
while half a world away
you sit for a week
hoping medicine
which will cost you a year's wages
finds its way to your village;

we sit in our home theaters,
watching the latest "reality"
on our plasma screems,
while you sit in the darkness,
rocking your child asleep,
as she cries from the ache
of an empty stomach.

Lord Jesus:
(like James and John)
we want to be at your side
in glory:

remind us where you sit.


(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

this morning,
in the mirror,
i saw the person
i want to be:
dauntless, doubtless,
capable, caring;

at lunch,
when i peeked,
i saw a stranger
who resists
every invitation
to illimitable life;

i glanced
out of the corner of my eye
i saw him!


Grace me, O God,
(if i dare look
i will see
only you . . .

whose i am.


(c) 2003 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 01, 2006


you can be found:

in the rich, deep aom
of our apathy,
where you plant
the seeds of justice;

behind the barbed words
of our angry retorts,
as you whisper
of our oneness;

in the list
of our exhausting schedules,
when you pencil in
oases for our weariness;

through the tangled briars
of our deep-rooted hates and fears,
as you clear a path
for your healing peace.

and so

in the cracking of our hearts,
and the brokenness of the Bread,
we will find you;

when we empty the Cup,
refill it with our gifts,
and offer it to a little child,
we will find you;

as we move the chairs around
to make room for everyone
at your Table:

we will find you.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This will never work!

conventional wisdom tells us
we should always
stand our ground
until the other person gives in;
God's wisdom from on high
recommends a willingness to yield
so that the other might be served.

the consensus
among TV's talking heads
is that strength
is the only choice to make
in confronting the world;
God's strange insight
is that weakness
is the way to welcome others.

popular belief holds
that we should sit
in our easy chairs,
cynically commenting on
the rottenness of everyone around us;
God's radical response
beckons us to stand
by living waters,
offering everyone a drink.

the prevailing sentiment is simple:
if you want to win the race,
use any means possible
to come in first;
God's unorthodox belief
calls us to come in last,
carrying all who have fallen
across the finish line with us.

sounds awfully child-like to me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 17, 2006

we were pretty sure
we knew you
until you asked us who you were . . .

we thought we had you
all figured out
until you started mentioning
those things none of us
want to think about . . .

we thought we knew
where you were going
until you crossed
to the wrong side of the street . . .

we thought we knew everything.

give us wisdom
so we might find
the willngness
to follow you;

give us wisdom
so we might cradle
your uncomfortable words
in our hearts;

give us wisdom
so we might know you
and in knowing,
tell others of your glory.

give us wisdom . . .

Wisdom's Brother.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 10, 2006


if we turn up our radios
or CD players loud enough,
O God,
we are able to deafen the cries
of the needy and oppressed:

be opened, ears!

if we switch channels quickly,
O God,
we do not have to see those disturbing images
of the children in the barrios of Brazil
or the families in Darfur:

be opened, eyes!

if we are persistent enough in our Pharisaism,
and diligent enough with our docrtrines,
O God,
we can keep 'them' from coming to the Table,
keeping it all (even the crumbs) for ourselves:

be opened, arms!

if we are cool towards the passions
of pesky outsiders,
if we are indifferent to the injustices
of our world,
O God,
we can remain apathetic
in the face of grace being poured out
for our parched spirits:

be opened, hearts!

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

you would . . .

if we would be your people,
Blessed God,
we must look in the windows of the world:
to see as you see,
to love as you love,
to act as you act.

through us,
you would
stand by the poor,
rescuing them
at the beginning of their distress,
not when they are
at the end of their hope.

through us,
you would
side with the oppressed,
and challenge us
to release them
from their tyranny and torture.

through us,
you would
speak for the voiceless,
and call the powerful
to meek and lowly lives.

through us,
you would . . .

Beloved Holy One:
help us to be doers,
not just hearers
of your heart.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Answer

I cannot follow you
right now:
your words are too hard,
your road is too long,
your life is too demanding,
your death is too frightening.

Maybe . . .
i could follow you:
in a few days
when the weekend comes
(but those are 'days off,' you understand);

in a few months
after school has begun
and the Thanksgiving crowed is gone
(but then come the hectic days of Christmas
and all that means - surely you understand);

in a few years
after i've done what i want,
after the kids are gone,
after the work is done
(i'm sure you understand).

i will follow you:
trusting my heart,
trusting your words,
trusting you, Lord.

which answer
will i give today,
my God?

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thank You!

the first drops of rain
on a tin roof
breaking a six-month drought;

the mustardy kiss
of a child
at a summer picnic;

a cool breeze
dancing down
an August street;

the smile on a teacher's face
when her student masters
the intricacies of simple words;

the fading photographs
of a loved one
no longer here;

for every grace,
even those we cannot see;
for every moment,
especially those we do not notice;
for everything,
including those we cannot endure,

we offer to you,
Companion on the Way:


(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 06, 2006


an individual by birth,
a loner by nature,
i find myself
joined at the Hope
with others
not always of my choosing

nor i of theirs . . .

called by Another,
my humility-resistant pride,
my gentle vindictiveness,
my weak patience
threaten this life-shattering unity.

while i do not have
the body i may want,
i am graced
with the Body
i need,
and which,
by God's sense of humor,
needs me.

(c) 2003 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, August 03, 2006


some day,
i would like to learn
how to pray:

i can hammer words together
to make a nice box
for you to fill
with what i am sure i need:
but i falter
when i try to climb out
of that hole of hopelessness
i find myself in;

i can bring you
my scrapbook filled
with all the stories
of the brokeness of the world:
but the pages
of my dreams, my fears,
my fickle faith
are out in the trashcan;

i can race to you
to tattle on
all my friends and neighbors
so you will know where all the mud-stains
on their lives come from:
but in my haste
to get to you first,
i stumble over
the shadowed secrets
in my soul.

some day,
i would like to learn how to pray,
Listening God.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 30, 2006


whatever title, privilege,
or prestige others may give me,
i am your servant, Holy One.

when i look at another,
may i do so with the eyes
of compassion and generosity,
not those of desire
and deception;

when i speak to another,
may i do so with a voice
of wisdom and trust,
not manipulation
and arrogance;

when i am given a chance
to serve my sisters and brothers,
may i do so with open heart
and outstretched hope,
not grudgingly
or worrying about my loss;

when you seek
to dwell
in my heart,
may i empty myself
of all my silly
so i can be filled.

i am your servant, Holy One.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 23, 2006

House Building

me -
a dwelling place for God?

my roof
with wayward
and wanton thoughts . . .

my windows
look out on a world
lusting for more
and caring for less;
if any dare peek in,
they will see the same hungers . . .

my furnace
is filled
with the ashes
of dusty dreams
and hapless hopes . . .

my foundation
under the weight of loneliness,
by the storms of sadness.

i would build you
a house,
my God;

rebuild me


(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 16, 2006

i would prefer
to be left
leaning against the wall,
shuffling my two left feet,
watching the world
twirl by;
but you take me by the hand
to teach me
the dance steps
of grace;

when i walk near
the piano,
it shudders,
i will not sit down;
but you take my fingers
and place them on the keys,
"play, play with joy, play!"

even with
the biggest bucket,
i can't carry a tune;
but you push me
out onto the stage,
introducing me as
the new soloist
in the Good News Choir.

i will celebrate your joy,
sing your hope,
play your love,
leaping and whirling
in your grace

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dust Shaker

by the cries
of the poor,
shake the dust
out of our ears
so we can listen;

to the brokenness
of our own kin,
shake the dust
off our hearts
so we can give them away;

towards those
different from us,
shake the dust
from our souls
so we can embrace them;

by years of hoarding,
shake the dust
off our nest eggs
of blessings,
so we may offer grace
to the hopeless.

shake the dust
off our unbelief,
Son of Mary,
so the gospel
might be lived
in us.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 02, 2006


it was only
at first,
people averting their eyes,
gossip trickling out
the sides of their mouths
about her 'problem';
then came the years
filled with
laughter, ridicule, rebuke.

telling stories to his friends,
trading jokes with lawyers,
asking riddles of preachers:
she heard the
of his robe's hem
as it brushed
the streets of the kingdom.

if i could only touch it, she

and did.

in the silence,
no one heard the
of grace
flowing through her soul,
making her whole.

in the silence,
Jesus tenderly lifted her
to her feet;
'you are well,
daughter of faith,
go in peace'
was the benediction

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 25, 2006

it is evening . . .

calm us, Lord!

it is evening . . .
another day
of work, of play, of retirement;
home to 'escape'
in front of the TV,
but the same weary news
threatens to swamp us:

calm us, Lord,
keep hope near
and despair afar.

it is evening . . .
and sitting on the front porch
is our old friend terror,
waiting to tell us
bedtime stories of war,
of nuclear weapons being built,
of pension plans plundered:

calm us, Lord,
keep trust near
and nightmares afar.

it is evening . . .
and the storms of life
rattle the windows
of our souls
and thunder
through our hearts:

calm us, Lord,
keep faith near
and fear afar.

calm us, Lord!

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 18, 2006


it's the
word of confidence
to a 9-year-old
which one day leads to
the winning goal
in a World Cup match;

it's the
extra practice sessions
after school,
going over word after word,
which bolsters
a young girl
at the Spelling Bee Nationals;

it's the gentle touch
of a mother
in the terror of
a midnight thunderstorm
which leads a child
into nursing;

in a world
which idolizes
sucess, greatness,
biggie-sized achievements,
remind us
of those mustard seeds
planted deep within us
by so many over the years,
which help to shape us
into the people
you mean us to be,
Tender God.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Come, Holy Spirit

come, Holy Spirit:

drenched in the
of discipleship,
you sneak up
to tickle me
cooling laughter;

dragged through
by yet
another day,
you fling open
boredom's windows
and push me
into God's energizing

threading my way
through the darkness
of my soul,
you blow away
the shadows
so i can see
the path to the kingdom.

come, Holy Spirit:
this day,
and every day
which lies ahead.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 28, 2006


We remember, Grieving God,
those, in so many places,
in so many times,
who have died in war;
and we pray
we might honor them
by becoming your children,
makers of peace to our broken world.

We remember, Mothering God,
children who have grown up
around us in our schools,
in our neighborhoods, in our churches,
and who have now gone to war;
and we pray for children
throughout the world
who are the orphans
of violence and death.

We remember, God of Truth,
the wars which rage within us,
the aggression we feel towards others,
our unwillingness to forgive,
our desire to foster divisions and discord,
our discomfort in being called
to love our enemies;
and even as we despair,
we pray for new hope,
as we struggle to see you in our world,
we pray for discerning hearts,
as we confront ancient fears,
we pray for new love,
and for your old, old peace
to be born in us anew.

As we remember,
we pray, Healing God.


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Old Songs

we love the old songs:

we hum to ourselves
about the old, old story
and feel like we are slipping on
a frayed, comfortable shirt
which will keep us warm;

we sing in the shower
of all those places
where the saints have trod,
and wonder what ever
happened to them;

the fears of aging
jerk us awake
in the middle of the night
and into the silence
of our souls
we whisper
'Jesus loves me, this i know,
for the Bible tells me so . . .'

we love the old songs so much
we might miss the new ones:

the sunrise announcing
a new beginning each day;

the laughter of children,
louder than despair's dirge;

the softness
of a parent's love
which smooths our rough edges;

teach us new songs,
Joyous Heart,
teach us new songs.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 14, 2006

there was a time
when i knew
without a doubt
that you were
a white-haired old gent
holding a ruler,
ready to smack my hands
whenever i was bad;

there were years
when i longed for you
to come storming down
to shake up society
and make it more like heaven:
where everyone is loved,
no one is shoved aside,
little children are as valued
as the wisest and richest,
where we go swimming
in that cascading river
called Justice;


i see you for who
you have always been:
Wisdom warning me
to look both ways
as i cross sin's streets;
Compassion whose lap
always has room for me;
who always accepts me;
who walks beside me
every day.

abide in me,
Mothering God,
abide in me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 07, 2006

sinking in a sea
of stress and success,
you buoy me
with your living waters
until i am at peace;

running down
endless corridors
to never ending meetings,
you detour me
to the pathways
leading to your joy;

stumbling through
the thorn bushes
of a culture which seeks
to tear my soul to shreds,
you prepare a picnic
in the garden of grace;

famished and malnurtured
from wandering
the shadows on sin and death,
you fill me
with sweet tasting hope;

from the very life
i convince myself
i am seeking,
you slow me down
so goodness and mercy
can catch up with me

and push me
into your heart.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Show and Tell

if we showed you
our hands,
would you find them nicked
from building a house
for the homeless;
or a callous on our thumb
from using the TV remote
too much?

if we showed you
our feet,
would you find them toughened
by walking the corridors
of a hospice
with the terminally ill;
or wrinkled
by too many hours
in the hot tub?

if we showed you
our hearts,
would you find them broken
over the struggles of
the lost, the little, the last, the least;
or would they be clogged
with the plaque
of our consumerized lives?

if we truly want to be
your witnesses,
God of the empty grave,
would you show us

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 23, 2006

in the presence
of stunning sunsets;

stricken with
chronic severity
while surrounded
by gurgling babies;

when touched
by the warmth
of grace;

if we are made
in your image,
it's no wonder
people think of you
as a grouchy old geezer,
God of Joy.

so, breathe on us . . .

fill our souls with:
laughter which chases away
long faces;
chuckles which wipe
frowns off our brows;
great guffaws
which shatter
frozen hearts;

fill us,
Breath of sidesplitting shrieks,
so we can celebrate
the last laugh
on death.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman
in the presence
of stunning sunsets;

stricken with
chronic severity
while surrounded
by gurgling babies;

when touched
by the warmth
of grace;

if we are made
in your image,
it's no wonder
people think of you
as a grouch old geezer,
God of creation.

so, breathe on us . . .

fill our souls with:
laughter which chases
away long faces;
chuckles which wipe
frowns off our brows;
great guffaws
which shatter
frozen hearts;

fill us,
Breath of sidesplitting shrieks,
so we can celebrate
the last laugh
on death.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 16, 2006

very early
in the mourning,
the disciples huddled
in fear's shadowed corners,
while Pilate
and the religious leaders
drank weak chardonnay
and dropped stale canapes
into the potted plants
at the symphony;

very early
on the first day
of the week,
the women
wandered through
mourning's mist,
their broken hearts
carried gently
in their hands;

very early
in the morning
on the first day
of the week,
leaving death
sitting empty-handed
in the tomb,
Jesus strode into the kingdom,
a bouquet of balloons
filled with grace
in his arms.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Will I . . . ?

will i lay my cloak
before you,
when they arrest you
on olive mountain,
or pull it tighter
around me
fading into the ranks
of the deserters;

will i shout:
'Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord!'
when they parade you
before the authorities,
or will i tell any one -
and every one -
around me
that i never met you
in my life;

will i lay my palm branches
at your feet,
as they march you
to Calvary,
or use them
to put more stripes
on your bloody back;

will i run behind you
when they carry you
to the tomb,
or turn away
as the ashes
of my hopes
are rubbed
into my shattered heart?

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Persistent, aren't you?

how many times
did you have
to sit on your hands,
to keep from reaching out
and fixing all
that we had broken;

how often
did you have
to bite your tongue
to keep from telling us
what to do
when we didn't have a clue;

how do you manage
to keep your lips
pressed tightly together
so you don't laugh out loud
at all our foolishness;

how often
did you want
to send your Child
to us
until you could wait
no longer
to save us?

for your patience,
and your persistence,
we give you thanks,
Enduring God.


(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 19, 2006

what if . . .

what if
the Ten Words of Sinai
granted us true freedom
to live with each other
as well as the Law-Giver . . .

what if
it were better
to wear the jester's hat
on a 98-pound weakling's body,
than to be the wisest, the strongest,
the biggest kid on the block . . .

what if
God's house became
a sanctuary for silence;
a cathedral of compassion;
a paradise filled with prayer;
instead of just another
corporate entity . . .


what if . . .

(c) 2003 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 12, 2006

is my cross
only a part
of the pocket change
i scoop off my dresser,
rushing to work
in the morning?

is my cross
just another piece of jewelry
like the diamond
in an athlete's ear,
or the necklace
Madonna drapes around her neck?

or is my cross:

my aging parents,
whose confusion
shatters my soul;

is it the truth
about my physical condition
which no pill or treatment
will ever change;

is it the
humpty-dumpty mess
in which my children find themselves,
and all of Mom's love
and all of Dad's resources
cannot put back together this time?

Cross Bearer:
i would prefer easier ones,
so help me to bear the cross
you offer to me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 19, 2006

there's that anger
which seems so silly -
yelling at the person
ahead of me in traffic;
wanting to throw my computer
out the window;
turning my back on my spouse
in the middle of an argument.

there's that anger
which seems so satisfying,
so self-righteous:
i recycle faithfully,
while my neighbors don't;
i walk as much as possible,
while my best friend buys a new SUV;
knowing i did the job the 'right way'
while my colleagues all cut corners.

but then,
there's that anger
which doesn't seem to touch me:
the plight of the homeless
i see every day on the way to work;
the encouragement
to not rock the boat
by pointing out that most of us
have more clothes, more shoes, more food
that we will ever need
while others have hardly any of anything.

so, like Jesus,
fill me with that anger
that is just, and holy, and you -
so i can let go of the anger
that is silly, profane, and only about me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Make Me Passionate

i sit on the edge
of my seat,
eager to listen
to the commentator
describe the latest
event in the Olympics:
make me as passionate
for your Word,
O God.

i will want
to rush out
and sign up for lessons
on how to ski,
snowboard, ice skate
all because
of what i see on TV:
make me as passionate
to drop everything
and help those in need
that i see every day,
O God.

i will be eager
to spend every spare moment
in front of my HDTV,
not wanting to miss
a single event
from Torino:
make me as passionate
about spending time
with you,
O God.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 05, 2006

it wears on us,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
it wears on us.

another day
of opening the paper,
another young girl
raising a child
before she has outgrown
playing with dolls;

another trip to the mall,
and seeing them (again),
that knot of pre-adult boys
all looking the same:
pant waists down around their knees,
necks choking with bling,
hats turned every which way
but proper;

it wears on us.

the ones we are
too weary to handle,
you gather up
and hold on your lap;

the kids who fatigue us,
you lift up
and place on your shoulders
as you dance through
the streets of the kingdom.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 22, 2006

a computer,
a daily planner,
homework assignments,
the commute back and forth:
we have no problem
setting these aside
in order to follow you,
Pilgrim Jesus.

but picking up
your grace,
and generously offering
it to those
who are so stingy towards us;

taking up
your mercy,
and forgiving
everyone who has hurt us;

stooping down
to lift up those
we've nudged aside
in our eagerness
to be first in line?

we're trying to catch up
to you,
but our prejudices,
our fears, our arrogance,
our doubts
hold us back.

wait for us, please!
so we can follow
to life.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 16, 2006

for Rosa:
whose feet hurt so bad
and whose spirit wept so hard
that she had to sit down:

energizing a people
to get up and march.

for Martin:
who must have been tempted
to stay behind the pulpit;
to give his words
only to a few;
to keep his dreams a secret;
but chose instead
to be God's instrument:

and called a nation
to confession and repentance.

for all the unnamed
who were willing to say,
'no more';
who wanted a better life
for their children;
who hoped their country
could really be a place
where all are equal:

and who are held forever
in your heart.

for all these men,
for all these women,
for all these children,
for all these saints,
for all these sinners,
for all who dared to believe
that promises should be kept
and not broken:

we give you thanks,
God of each and every one of us:
for each and every one of them,
we give you thanks.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hide and Seek

tell you what,
we'll go and hide
while you count to

that will give us time
to gather up our thoughts
and store them away
in the basement;

we'll be able
to dig a really deep hole
where we can throw all our words
and cover them up;

we can grab the broom
and sweep all our sins
off the sidewalk,
so you won't slip on them
when you come looking for us.

no fair,
Worker of wonders!
you just stand there
and call out,
"ally, ally, all in free!"
and wait for us
to run home.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

smooth my hard ridges,
so i might be
more gentle;

curb my wandering ways,
so I might walk
the streets
of your kingdom;

touch my frantic pace,
so i can slow down enough
to see the children at play;

calm my harsh words,
so i can speak
where there is none.

continue to make me
in your image,
Lord, so i might
be your child.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

i used to love
to stand in the rain:
my head tilted back,
my mouth wide open,
smiling in delight
as your tears
filled my mouth
and flooded my soul.

but now:
i'm too old,
too busy,
too important;
it's too cold,
i have an important
call to make;
the water might
ruin my shirt,
the mud might
stain my shoes.

please keep waiting
for me,
Cloud Shaper,
to become a child again,
so we can play
in the rain once more:
laughing and splashing
in the pure delight
which is You.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 09, 2006

if i have hurt
make me the bandage
for their healing;

if i have gossiped
about my friend:
let me tell her
the truth about my words;

if i have ignored
your children:
choose me
to welcome them
in your name;

if I have cursed
a stranger:
make me a blessing
to him;

if i have broken
every promise
i ever made:
use me
to fulfill yours,

Harbor of my heart.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Baptism of the Lord (January 8, 2006)

i long . . .

i long
to dance
in the Spirit
just like a child
in the rain
on a summer's day;

i long
to slurp up
the living waters
the way my dog
empties his bowl
after a long walk;

i long
to stand
waist deep
in the baptismal bowl
and feel
your tears of grace
wash over me;

i long
to hear
you call me
and know,
without any doubt,
that is my name.

i long . . .

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

no answers today,
just a lot of questions,
Holy One.

what does one say
to the miners' families
whose joy
has turned to ashes?

what response
for the young person
who fears that her cancer
has returned?

what words
can comfort the widow
of the soldier
killed in Iraq?

I (we) have
more than enough questions;
I (we) trust
you have more than enough


(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman