Friday, February 25, 2011

alterations, no charge (Matthew 6:24-34

last night,
i hung up my worries
in the closet,
    hoping the wrinkles
    would smoothe out
    by the next day;

i put my fears
into the laundry,
    so they would
    be clean enough
    to wear again this week;

i made sure that
pebble called stress
was still in my shoe,
    where it has worn
    a hole into the heel.

but this morning,
when i opened the closet,
    i found
    a whole new outfit,
        woven out of
        Easter lilies
        and resurrection's
        sweet grass
    and sandals
    made out of
    sparrow's feathers.


i found you
standing there,
        a tape measure
        around your neck,
        chalk in your hand,
saying with a smile,
'try them on . . .
    so we can see
    if any alterations
    are needed'

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 17, 2011

satyagrahi* (Matthew 5:38-48)

you invite us
  to walk the streets
              of the world,
     using those muddy paths
         marked 'kingdom'

so that when one acts
           with violence
        towards us, we will
  take gentleness out of
              our clenched pockets,
     to balm the hand injured
          by our face;

so when one hauls us
  into small claims court
             trying to get half
        of what we own,
    we will strip our homes
  of everything, loading it into
            their empty souls;

so when we see a homeless
     family sitting by the
          side of despair,
  our generosity will turn
      anti-panhandling laws
                   into toothless

what a dangerous invitation
              you send to us!

   how will we rsvp?

(c) 2011 Thom M. Shuman

* a satyagrahi is a practitioner of satyagraha,
the soul-force or firm love advocated by Gandhi.
The purpose of satyagrahi is not to shame or
coerce the practitioner of oppression, violence,
or other manipulative acts, but to convert them
by one's practice of active non-violence.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

wordswordswords (Matt. 5:21-37

the media trumpets
     loud and clear
  that i can get a hall pass
              during my marriage
        or i can have a friend
           with benefits along the way,
    but you whisper the words
        in those moments of

this morning
     i was told that the
                terrror threat
          is as high as its ever
  so my suspicion level
      needs to be turned up
           with that sharp eye
    out for packages,
                parked cars
       certain people (who
                   might just look
                   like you),
but your songs have lyrics full of

that little imp
sits on my shoulder and
        whenever i find myself
     in an awkward spot,
  not sure about what i should
       he weaves a story
       which win the trophy
           at the liars club convention,
  urging my tongue to give it a
but you keep holding up
     the flash card reading
  pushing me time and again
                 to get it right.

(c) 2011 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

halite (Matthew 5:13-20)

while there may be
     14,000 uses for
  our preference
        is to use it
     the same way
     we have always done . . .
              as a
  successfully inhibiting any
                 chances of

but you,
     knowing that
  we carry within us
           particles from
       creation's seas,
     would have us
  the world
          around us.

we've removed all those
     bright, old-fashioned,
         incarnation bulbs,
  replacing them with
anticipating we will
       see savings (in the first
                    year alone)
  of some

but you,
  watching the shadows
       creep across the kingdom's
     would have us
  turn up the dimmer (all
                the way)
       on the walls of our
     so others might
  be able to
        see what your
is all about.

(c) 2011 Thom M. Shuman
(halite is the mineral form salt comes in)