Monday, January 29, 2007

what to do, what to do?

we don't know
what to do with you,

home from college
on spring break,
you stand up in church
and read the scriptures
with such wonder and awe,
all we can do is nudge one another:
'I had him in kindergarten,
he was always ahead of everyone else!'
'he was always helping the younger kids
when he was in youth group."

We can hardly wait to hear
your sermon . . . until
you start talking about
how we are
to welcome the immigrants,
to open the jail doors,
to give more to those
who will only squander it.
Then we whisper (in a stage voice):
'whose bright idea was it
to ask him to preach?'
'somebody out to throw him out
on his keester!'

and so,
we close our hearts to you,
and let you slip through
our souls,
as you go to fulfill
God's hopes for us,
wishing we would follow you
on that winding road
of grace.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 26, 2007

Which three?

"...Now faith, hope and live abide, these three..."

doubt moves in
and props its feet
at the hearth of my soul,
warming them
on the coals of my unbelief;
while faith
rents space
for a few days
in the summers of my life.

despair is the frayed,
soft corduroy jacket
that fits comfortably
on my shoulders
while hope
is a hair shirt
i resist wearing.

impatience is the face
i put on
each morning
in order to greet the world,
while love
is that mask
i wear occasionally,
removing it
when i look in the mirror,
not recognizing myself.

which three will abide in me, O God?

which three?


(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 21, 2007


i can go through
a couple of hankies
at a movie
or while reading
certain books


i cannot remember
when i last
(if ever)
after hearing your words,
God of every language.

am i indifferent
too stressed
exhausted . . .

is my heart hardened,
my soul shriveled;
do my ears recoil
as words such as yours?

is should weep
i don't . . .

May the words of your mouth
shatter the complacency
of my heart,
my Strength,
my Joy,
my Redeemer.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 14, 2007

for my sake

why do i have trouble
telling others about you,
Steadfast Heart?

others call me names,
but you whisper
into my heart
'You are My Delight,"
cradling me in the palm
of your hand
like a precious gift.

running on empty,
the arctic chill of loneliness
cracking my heart,
my soul parched by despair,
you touch my lips
with living water,
resting me in the oasis
of your grace.

you give me gifts
until my life brims over,
and then challenge me:
'now, pour yourself out
for my children.'

for my sake
(and for the sake of others)
i will not keep quiet
but shout to the world:
'you won't believe
what God
is doing . . .!'

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman