Category Archives: Poem

What does God require?

What does God require of me? Of us? Of the white church?
To do justice
to disrupt white supremacy culture
to dismantle structural racism
to build equitable systems
To love kindness
to see and honor God’s image in all people and every person
to practice radical hospitality
to build community that crosses social and cultural boundaries
To walk humbly with God
to listen and learn
to repent the sin of racism
to turn around and do better, by God’s grace

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Poem

March 20 trip to the Bahama Deli

Walking well more than six feet away from any other human,
which was easy since no other human appeared in view,
I stopped at the light on the corner of Amsterdam and La Salle.
I lifted my eyes to the train
from whence came the roar of an uptown #1.
I looked into the part of the cars
I could see from that angle
and counted three people.
The train clattered past.
I paused in wonder
at how life has changed
before I crossed the empty street on red
and continued on my way.

Manhattan, New York
20 March 2020

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Filed under Current Events, New York, Poem

Suspended

The first rodeo
disappears into the distance;
the final roundup
looms larger every day.
Suspended between the two,
life goes on.

 

 

 

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Each time

Each time we say farewell
may be the last time.
Until it is, and when it is,
this I know:
I love you;
I will remember you;
I am grateful
for all that has been,
all that is,
and all that may yet be. 

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Filed under Family, Food, Poem

Impact

Past love,
not forgotten
warps present.

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All Saints’ Day

Bread is broken,
wine is poured,
space transcended,
time torn;
and all in Christ
are one.

On All Saints’ Day – November 1, 1995, I had the privilege to worship at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Cape Town, South Africa. I had talked and preached about All Saints’ Day often. I have deep appreciation for the Communion of Saints. It is an important and profound dimension of my faith. Still, this was the first All Saints’ Day service I ever attended. It included the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and led me to write these words.

For all the saints, thanks be!

Cape Town, South Africa
2 November 1995

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Filed under Poem, Worship

Again

Once I read,
once I wrote.

Once I sang,
once I played.

Once …
… perhaps again.

5 June 2019
Manhattan, New York

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Filed under New York, Poem

After – Albuquerque 1996

1294519_10151934672121063_245716286_oAfter the prayers had been said
and the motions had been made;

after the rulings had been dispensed
and the speeches had been delivered;

after the instructions had been given
and the buttons had been pushed;

after the votes had been tallied
and the results announced;

after the passion
and the decent order;

after . . .
. . . the assembly sat in quiet contemplation,
pondering who had won
and who had lost,
considering what was gained
and what the cost.

My heart sundered the silence,
breaking, softly breaking,
for those, who by official action,
had been denied their full humanity,
and, whose gifts, but that same official action,
had been rejected.

A tear slid down my check,
coming to rest in tangled whiskers.
A single tear
shed for those beloved of God
who the vote would exclude
and for those
who out of fear
or prejudice
or lack of love
or for whatever reason
sought to shut doors –
and build walls –
and keep out –
and settle once and for all;
and in so doing
lost an opportunity
to join in
God’s amazing,
welcoming,
including,
affirming,
door-opening,
wall-smashing,
never-ending
love.

This was written after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 208th General Assembly (1996). That assembly met in Albuquerque, New Mexico and took action to recommend a change the church’s constitution that would ban LGBTQ individuals from serving in ordained offices. I attended that assembly as an observer. As the United Methodist Church meets to wrestle with similar questions, I remembered this piece and choose to share it. 

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Filed under Current Events, Family, Friends, Human Rights, Poem, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Eeyore Knights of Valor

Not alone, we stand together,
for alone one could not stand.

Not alone, we stand together,
soul to soul and hand in hand.

Not alone,  we stand together,
aching hearts, but spirits strong.

Watching, waiting, working,
when others turn away;

seeing, hearing, feeling,
what others would avoid.

Not alone, we stand together,
wounded,
surely wounded,
sorely wounded,
wounded all, yet still we stand.

Not alone, we stand together,
laughing, weeping,
bound by hope
and filled with love.

Not alone we stand together,
for alone we could not stand.

26 July 2001
Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO and Orem, UT
revised 15 February 2019
Manhattan, New York 

with thanks to Diana Cheifetz

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Filed under Friends, National Park, New York, Poem

6 Dec #Light #AdventWord 2018

6 Dec #LightThe Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

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Filed under Advent, New York, Poem