Friday, August 16, 2019

canticle 80

hear us, Tender God,
who gathers us
like a border collie!
you sit on a park bench
built from the songs of angels,
smiling as you watch us
swing high up into the sky, and
when we scrape our knees,
run to pick us up,
kissing our boo-boos!

run quickly, our Parent,
to sweep us up in your arms!

when we speak hollow words
to you instead of our hearts,
our soup is flavored with your tears,
and our bread tastes stale;
even our playmates know
how foolish we have been,
giggling behind our backs
with one another.

run quickly, our Parent,
to sweep us up in your arms!

you took a runner of strawberries
from your garden,
so it might take root
wherever your children live.
it slowly spreads over the lawns
and curls under the trees,
it sneaks towards the sides houses,
and creeps down to the ponds.
when we would make preserves
and keep the jars for ourselves,
you invite everyone to come
and fill their baskets for free,
letting little children get the juice
all over their faces and clothes.

take another look, Gardener of our hearts,
see how the runners might offer
food and joy to so many,
your gift becoming precious to others.
yes, we aren't good caretakers,
yes, we let the weeds creep in,
but you can teach us the right way
to care for all you have offered us,
taking us by the hand, so
slowly, carefully, we may become
master gardeners just like you!
then, we won't make the same mistakes
over and over, but share the bounty,
telling everyone who taught us
how to be good strawberry farmers!

run quickly, our Teacher,
to sweep us up in your arms!

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, August 08, 2019

canticle 50

God has had enough;
no more standing in the wings,
no more waiting for us
to do what we know we should do.

God has had enough:
no more keeping silent,
hoping our prayers will take shape,
that our thoughts will lead to action,
that our brokenness will bring healing.
calling us into the living room,
God holds a family meeting:

i have had enough
of your kowtowing to the powerful,
your idols made of steel,
your worship of angry words and hearts;
you don't care about the air and water,
the creatures who are dying,
the species that are going extinct!

if you hand me another plate
piled with thoughts and prayers,
i will throw it against the wall!
show me your hands and hearts,
how you have fed the hungry,
welcomed newcomers,
taught children the ABCs of grace.

"listen, knuckleheads!
don't twist my words to suit
your political agendas;
don't promise hope with
your fingers crossed behind your backs!
if you see someone bullying another,
get in their face till they stop;
if someone invites you to party
instead of practicing justice, turn them down.

you open your mouth and
an avalanche of bile pours out;
you mock the most vulnerable,
you call the stranger vile names,
you think because you sing
praise verses on Sunday, you
can heap abuse on others, and
that i am okay with that
the rest of the days of the week?!

now you are going to listen:
to my heart which is shattered,
to my soul which groans in anguish,
to my whispered tears which
flow freely throughout the day.

"enough is enough!
it is time to make justice for others,
to bring healing into division,
to rebuild crumbling neighborhoods,
to live the good news rather
than putting it on church signs:

those are the gifts you can offer to me,
and to your sisters and brothers
who cry out to you for hope."

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

canticle 33

blow the dust off the drums,
put new strings on the banjo,
get the piano tuned, 
hand wooden spoons to little kids
start playing the golden oldies,
while making up new songs for God!

sit down, play scrabble with our God,
forming new words from grace's pile of letters;
words like justice and hope,
words describing stars and sunsets
and God's incredible language of love:
love as sweet as a crisp apple,
love as fresh as an autumn breeze,
love as tart as summer lemonade,
love that's deeper than our fears.

reach out your hands to grasp those
of our sisters and brothers every where
as we join in the dances taught to us
by the Spirit who whispers in our ears.

God knocks over the houses of cards
we build from our foolish thoughts,
simply asking as to hope in the Heart of love,
and to trust as deeply as did are grandparents in faith.
12 we are blessed when we trust in God,
when we see each other as family

God keeps an eye out on all of us,
watching carefully to see if
we love without reservation,
if we offer compassion without conditions
if leaders turn away from power and threats,
offering justice and grace instead

God twirls in circles when we
honor the divine image in others,
when we pick up hope from
the shattered places of life,
when we choose love, not hate;
when we feed those who wander
through both food and fear deserts;

in moments of grief and pain 
beyond imagining, we wait,
and here comes God, in those who run
toward hate, to transform it into love,
who shelter little ones from horror;
we trust, and so we hope;
we hope, and so we offer our hearts
to the One who fills them with grace;
every time we trust, we hope, we come,
God is waiting

every time

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman