Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Poem a Sunday

Pentecost 3 – A

June 25, 2017

Matthew 10:24-39 - NRSV

24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

Whom to Fear
26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[a] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10:28 Gk Gehenna

A Poem a Sunday
Pentecost 3 - A

The Price

There is no cross upon the wall
of the First Assembly hall
where praises ring and guitars swing
with jubilant hands raised.

There is a cross but there is no cost
from the pulpit at First Lutheran.
The padded pews, the yellow hues
stream through the stained glass windows.

Out on the street, the people meet
the faces of homeless wanderers.
Rush to parked cars avoiding scars
of those who are lost and wounded.

The convenient way takes the major sway
in lives protected and sound.
Gaining life, yet losing life;
not standing on holy ground.

Yet the Prophet speaks calling all who seek
to walk the cruciform way.
Discover life while losing life
that brings a brand new day.

May be used with permission:
Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday

Contact:  kennstorck@gmail.com

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
Pentecost 2 – A
June 18, 2017
Matthew 9:35-10:23 - NRSV

[Scroll down for Poem]

The Harvest Is Great, 
the Laborers Few: 
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

The Twelve Apostles: 
10 Then Jesus[a] summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;[b] Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

The Mission of the Twelve: 
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’[c] Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,[d] cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Coming Persecutions: 
16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

  1. Matthew 10:1 Gk he
  2. Matthew 10:3 Other ancient authorities read Lebbaeus, or Lebbaeus called Thaddaeus
  3. Matthew 10:7 Or is at hand
  4. Matthew 10:8 The terms leper and leprosy can refer to several diseases

A Poem a Sunday
Pentecost 2 – A


Jesus has left the building
dusting off his sandals
as the chapel bells chime.

Another segregated Sunday
as white worshipers flock
like hungry sheep to cars
in the parking lot to get
their brunch or lunch
at the local restaurant.

Since when have comfortable pews
and air-conditioned convenience
taken the place of disciples
on a journey, a pilgrimage,
sharing good news with the poor?

Since when have voices
raised in praise
become mute and silent
in the streets of everyday life?

Since when has
the edifice edified
and disciples no longer die
to sin and rise to the new way?

Jesus has left the building
dusting off his sandals
as the chapel bells chime.

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission


Monday, June 5, 2017

A Poem a Sunday

Holy Trinity – A

June 11, 2017

Matthew 28:16-20


The Commissioning of the Disciples

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”[a]

Matthew 28:20 Other ancient authorities add Amen


Far-away Father,
Confined Christ,
Domesticated Dove;
all caged by dogmatics
and the Church
caught in a
theological cul-de-sac
in its attempt to define God.

Why the first catechumens
were not asked
to assent to creedal statements
but rather devote
themselves to the Way.

Easter Vigil initiation -
immersion and made new
to live out a covenant
(i.e. trust in the Divine
and devote themselves
to godly compassion).

meant: liberation
not a place in heaven;
salving the wounded,
healing the hurting,
living in solidarity
with the least.

Why dogmatize
the devotion
out of faithful hearts?

God is not some
philosophical mystery
to be defined;
but the Divine
in all of creation
to be attended to
and view
the myriad
of ways

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
Pentecost – A
June 4, 2017

John 7:37-3 – NRSV 

(Alternative Gospel 
reading for RCL – A)

Two poems are offered for this Pentecost Sunday.  
So please scroll down.

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As[a] the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart[b] shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit,[c] because Jesus was not yet glorified.


John 7:38 Or come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as
John 7:38 Gk out of his belly
John 7:39 Other ancient authorities read for as yet the Spirit (others, Holy Spirit) had not been given

A Poem a Sunday
Pentecost Sunday - A

Genesis Spirit

Glide, glide seaside flight
enfolding edges of the night.
Capture sun, capture moon;
embrace enfold around your plume.

Hold in rapture
shoreline’s sand;
capture waves
within your band.

Dive and rise
to meet the stars.
Spread full length
they are yours.

Now the music
of the spheres,
pounding waves,
make them yours.

Now enfold
into your heart
cliffs you’ve climbed
in soaring art.

Now enfold,
embrace, and fly,
you’ve captured
the endless sky.

Die and rise,
the universe,
created now
in your new birth.

Prayer for the Living Waters

                        Break, break,
                        oh waves of justice,
                        and mark the sand
                        that our land
                        may be born again.

                        Baptized by tidal waves
                        from moonstruck bays
                        overflow our cities.

                        Flow and cut canals
                        for those who know
                        no freedom – bound
                        by class, wealth, race.

                        Blast a sound –
                        crush walls, crumble barriers.
                        Flood us furious waves.
                        Rivers of living waters,
                        break and come!

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May be used with permission

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
Easter VI – A
May 28, 2017

John 17:1-11 - NRSV

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people,[a] to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

John 17:2 Gk flesh

As We Are One

Once upon a time:
knights in arms,
daring Dragons
“All for one and one for all!”

One once:
The Christ,
Spirit driven,
to the Way,
sharing in common;
daring to stand in solidarity
with the least in the land.

Reckless abandon
not calculating the cost;
taking the dark road,
seeking the lost.

Once one in devotion.
Once one in love;
no dogma, no damning,
excluding no one.

Unity – a gift;
diversity – embraced.
An example, a paradox
for the whole human race.

Believe in the magic,
the Camelot of old;
believe in the Christ-spirit
making us bold

to live out the oneness
for such myths are true
and what God imagines,
God creates for us, too.

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission


Monday, May 15, 2017

A Poem a Sunday

Easter VI – A

May 21, 2017

John 14:15-21 - NRSV

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep[a] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[b] to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in[c] you.

18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

John 14:15 Other ancient authorities read me, keep
John 14:16 Or Helper
John 14:17 Or among

A Poem a Sunday
Easter VI - A


Messiah Lutheran School, St. Louis, MO
had picnics on the grounds of a Lutheran
run Children's Home (circa mid-1950’s)

The orphanage is empty
that we played in long ago.
School picnics on the grounds
each Spring; rides, swings,
-- children on the go.

Fatherless children
walked those halls
nurtured by women’s
tender care.
No foster homes
but a community
of Lutheran presence

And once a year
we’d play with
those abandoned ones
as though sisters
and brothers
with us all.

The breeze through
the trees push
the vacant swings
and memories
of hugs and love
hang in the
vast cool air.

Never abandoned
always in care
these children
grew to know
though parentless
they all are one
in Christ
who loves us so.

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission

Monday, May 8, 2017

Easter V – A
May 14, 2017

John 14:1-14

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The Father Revealed

7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The Answered Prayer

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it.


John 14:2 Literally dwellings
John 14:2 NU-Text adds a word which would cause the text to read either if it was not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? or if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:14 NU-Text adds Me. 

"Many mansions....no one come to the Father..." this Gospel reading has often been used to exclude others from the Divine Promise of new life.  The following is a reflection that argues against such exclusion.

Many Mansions

40 + years in the Holy Ministry
answering the question:
“How many?”
How many in worship on Sunday?
How many calls/visits have you made?
How many hours did you spend in administration?
We are so subject to quantifying our lives:
Numbers / bean counters rule the day.
But what
we ceased to ask
“How many?”
and choose
to explore
the depth
of the
Divine and Human?
Can you measure the weight of your grief?
Can you count the ways of love?
Can we measure the ache of the heart,
the awe in an open sky,
the mystery of the Divine
in bread and wine?
~ ~ ~
So, dear Church,
for 40 + years
you’ve asked of me
the wrong question
It has never been
and never will be:
“How many?”
when a shepherd
leaves 99 sheep
to save one.
Ask the Christ:  “How many?”
and be ready
an answer
that will
or in
awe and wonder.

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday

May be used with permission