Saturday, December 29, 2007

for the innocence

for little girls
who play with dolls,
and for those
who are treated
like playthings;

for little boys
who bounce balls
against a wall,
and for those
who curl up fetally,
longing for the comfort
of a womb;

for those
who do not see
another's color,
but a child of God,
and for those
who laugh
at another's accent;

for those who play
in safe backyards,
and for those
whose playground
is potholed by bombs;

for those who pray
before climbing into warm beds,
and for those
whose bed
is a cardboard box;

for those
whose hearts are broken
by the suffering
they see on TV,
and for those
whose lives are shatterd
by indifference;

for all your children,
for the innocents
in their innocence,
we would not only pray,

but act.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

will we . . .

when they went
home that night,
did they hope
the anthem would
be filed away
until three years from now,
or did the tune and words
keep running through their heads
that they couldn't fall asleep?

when they went
back to work
that night,
did they grumble
about the long hours,
the harsh nights,
the low pay with no benefits,
or did they discover
they were now herders
of hope and grace,
a thankless job
no one else would take?

when they snuck
out of Bethlehem,
keeping their faces hooded
from the searching eyes
of the soldiers,
did they forget about the star,
or was its reflection
so strong in their eyes
that it seemed
it was noontime?

when she snuggled
the infant to her breast
as he smuggled them
through the back alleys
to the forgotten road to Egypt,
did they wonder
if they would ever
get back home
or was the promise
so ingrained in their souls
that they knew God
would hear them crying out
for release?

when we go home
this morning,
today, tonight,
from the vigil
at the stable,
will we . . .

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 23, 2007


when we long for
a dreamless sleep,
you are working
the graveyard shift
to bring us life;

when we crave
a peaceful life
(no stress, no frills,
no problems, no fuss, please!)
you are down
in the trenches,
bandaging the world's wounded
with hope,
carrying them
to the kingdom's hospital,
giving us a drink
from your deep reservoir
of reconciliation;

when we think
all that is required of us
is a riskless love,
you grow so reckless
in your passion for us
that the choir director
has to compose new pieces
for the angelic chorus;

when we are convinced
we can easily dismiss you
from our daily routines,
you tap us on the shoulder,
and hand us your newborn grace,
asking us to cradle him
in our hearts.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 16, 2007


praises piggyback
on top of one another
until my soul topples over;
i toast my God,
taking great gulps of joy.
listening with compassion,
She pours a cup of coffee
for the footsore waitress,
softly whistling 'O Holy Night.
like a grandmother to a daughter,
like a mother to a son,
She teaches the cross-stitch pattern
of mercy
to all who want to learn.
after lifting weights
down at Grace's Gym,
God grabs a pushbroom
to whisk out the garbage
of our minds;
tapping the lobbyists
on the shoulder,
and escorting them
to the children's table,
the immigrants are given
the seats at the head table;
God crams a suite of hope
into our unfurnished souls,
and takes the shoes
off the well-heeled
so the outcasts can walk
the streets of the kingdom.
reminiscing at the dinner table
about our grandparents,
God memorizes our faces
so we can fill her dreams at night.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 09, 2007

come . . .

when the world
chops down my dreams
and i am left
with only a cracked
and crumbling stump,
come . . .
to plant that seed of faith
deep within me
that will blossom
when i least expect it;

when sin's friends
strip me naked
of my hopes,
and i stand exposed
and alone
come . . .
with that ensemble
of joy and delight
that will knock
their socks off;

when my fears
prowl around me,
smacking their lips,
ready to pounce
and devour me,
come . . .
to welcome them
(and me!)
at your Table
where we will break
the chains of bitterness
as we feast on your peace.

come . . .
come . . .
come . . .

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 02, 2007

o come

as we spiral
into the season of stress
with all the demands from
our schools, our families,
our communities, (and yes,
our churches!),
how do we slow down
to walk in your light
and sit with the lonely
in the shadows;
to hold the hands of our spouse
and to fill the emptiness
of the homeless;
to sing carols with our children
and whisper hope
to the lost?

in the waterfall of lights,
through the tangle of tinsel,
out of the cacophony of commercials,
help us to see you
making snow angels with the kids;
to watch you handing out dinner invitations
to the lonely, the outcast,
the neighbor with AIDs;
to hear your carol of peace
to a world
which encourages us
to arm ourselves with fear.

with the life that is to be
(for us)
as you become life
once and all
for us.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman