Monday, March 20, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
Lent 4 – A
March 26, 2017
John 9 - NRSV
(Scroll down for Poem)
A Man Born Blind Receives Sight
9 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We[a] must work the works of him who sent me[b] while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus[c] to be the Messiah[d] would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Spiritual Blindness
35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[e] 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir?[f] Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38 He said, “Lord,[g] I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Footnotes:
John 9:4 Other ancient authorities read I
John 9:4 Other ancient authorities read us
John 9:22 Gk him
John 9:22 Or the Christ
John 9:35 Other ancient authorities read the Son of God
John 9:36 Sir and Lord translate the same Greek word
John 9:38 Sir and Lord translate the same Greek word

A Poem a Sunday
Lent 4 – A

Eyes

“I came into this world for judgment
so that those who do not see may see,
and those who do see may become blind.”

The Emperor’s new clothes
are sewn by those who see
yet remain so blind.
It takes a young child
born of the Spirit wild
to tell the truth so fine.

The blind see
while the reality
cannot be for the sighted.
Lest they confess
that they lost the truth
and now rest in the delusion
of the Empire.

Who sees better than the blind?
Tell me who penetrates to truth?
Who sees better than those born blind
when it comes to seeing anew?

Those with sight – no insight;
those born blind – know the light.

The religious right
is always right
and the Emperor
has a new robe.

The sightless poor
really know the score.
Shout:
“The Emperor has no clothes!”

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission

kennstorck@gmail.com

Monday, March 13, 2017


A Poem a Sunday

Lent III – A

March 19, 2017

John 4:5-42 - NRSV

Narrator:  5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  “Give me a drink.”

Narrator: 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him,

Woman:  “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”

Narrator:  (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[a] 10 Jesus answered her,

Jesus  “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Narrator: 11 The woman said to him,

Woman:  “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”

Narrator:  13 Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

Narrator: 15 The woman said to him,

Woman:  “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Narrator: 16 Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  “Go, call your husband, and come back.”

Narrator: 17 The woman answered him,

Woman:  “I have no husband.”

Narrator: Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

Narrator:  19 The woman said to him,

Woman:  “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you[b] say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Narrator: 21 Jesus said to her,

Jesus: “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Narrator: 25 The woman said to him,

Woman:  “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.”

Narrator: 26 Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  “I am he,[c] the one who is speaking to you.”

Narrator: 27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people,

Woman: 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[d] can he?”

Narrator: 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them,

Jesus:  “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

Narrator: 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them,

Jesus:  “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving[e] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 

Narrator : 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony,

Woman: “He told me everything I have ever done.”

Narrator: 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 4:9 Other ancient authorities lack this sentence
  2. John 4:20 The Greek word for you here and in verses 21 and 22 is plural
  3. John 4:26 Gk I am
  4. John 4:29 Or the Christ
  5. John 4:36 Or 35 . . . the fields are already ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is receiving

A Poem a Sunday
Lent II – A
March 19, 2017

Well!  Well!  Well!

Water is life
status is wealth,
and Jacob’s well
is a place of death.

Death to a barren one
who lives in despair
yet encounters the Teacher
with living water to share.

Living water that cascades
from a cloud ridden sky,
a gift of liquid grace
for a woman’s deep cry.

Underground waterfalls
and the Prophet’s voice
declare:  “I am the One!
And you have a choice

to step into grace,
be drowned by the waters
or remain in disgrace
in Jacob’s dark quarters.

A well springs within you,
a promise ever new.
escape the well of Jacob
live a life that is true.”

Samaritan, half-breed,
barren woman once cursed
now bright and brave
having had a new birth.

Declares to her neighbors:
“This is the one,
the Prophet of God,
Messiah, the Chosen One.

Come, see for yourself.
Come, to the living waters.
Jacob's old well
now has no borders.

Grace is for all,
no longer in a Temple.
God, dwells with God’s people,
it is truly that simple.

Come to the living waters;
be washed, made new.
God loves all peoples,
and is here for you.”

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May be used with permission


Monday, March 6, 2017

A Poem a Sunday

Lent 2 – A

March 12, 2017

John 3:1-17 – NRSV

Nicodemus Visits Jesus

3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”[b]

4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born from above.’[e] 8 The wind[f] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you[g] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[h] 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[i]

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Footnotes:

John 3:2 Gk him
John 3:3 Or born anew
John 3:6 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
John 3:7 The Greek word for you here is plural
John 3:7 Or anew
John 3:8 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
John 3:11 The Greek word for you here and in verse 12 is plural
John 3:13 Other ancient authorities add who is in heaven
John 3:15 Some interpreters hold that the quotation concludes with verse 15


A Poem a Sunday
Lent 2 – A
March 12, 2017

So Loved...
(Reflections from Nicodemus)

"So Loved...
Even when there is no dove,
Even in the desert of despair.

So Loved…
Even when stillborn from above,
Even when the wind ceases to blow.

So loved…
Even when eyes are blind,
Even when we see no sign of the one lifted up.

So loved…
Even in the dark night of the soul,
Even when there is no insight, no goal.

So loved…
Now motivated from above
Open armed to the body of the crucified one.

So loved…
Death can no longer be
the last word.  Now eternity is offered to all."


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

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Poem a Sunday

Lent I – A

March 5, 2017

Matt. 4:1-11 – NRSV

The Temptation of Jesus

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him,

“Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

A Poem a Sunday
Lent I – A
March 5, 2017

Tempted for Good

Imagine turning stone into bread
and feeding all who are hungry.
Such a wonder could lead
to great good for all.
But instead he resisted.

Yet, in his ministry
he did feed the 5,000.

'Appear in the Temple'
- a Messianic feat,
predicted by prophets
in order to defeat
oppression and justice.
Such a wonder could lead
to great good for all.
But instead he resisted.

Yet, in his ministry
he suddenly appeared
in the Temple to cast out
the changers of money.

Reigning in partnership,
he had a choice to rule
and bring in the Kingdom;
Satan is no fool!
Such a dynamic duo
could bring good for all.
But instead he resisted.

Yet, in his ministry
he did rule
as a fool on a hill
on a cross very still
and revealed the good
for all time.

Copyright @ A Poem a Sunday
May use with permission.
kennstorck@gmail.com

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
The Transfiguration of Our Lord – A
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Matt.17:1-9 NRSV

The Transfiguration
17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I[a] will make three dwellings[b] here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Footnotes:
Matthew 17:4 Other ancient authorities read we
Matthew 17:4 Or tents
Matthew 17:5 Or my beloved Son

A Poem a Sunday
The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Now What?

A seed is planted
for nearly 3 years:
teaching, healing,
preaching amid so many fears.

A mount is a pulpit,
a sermon is given.
The meek have the earth,
no mourning in heaven.

Now up from the valley,
4 walk to the height
on a clear twilight eve,
no one else is in sight.

A view from Mount Tabor,
Yizrael Valley below.
North on the horizon,
Mt. Hermon is shown.

The vision is grand,
the sun a pink hue,
as darkness descends
on those chosen few.

Now a sudden light
after hours of prayer.
A resurrected Lord
revealed right there.

Capture the moment.
Do not descend.
No Passion will happen,
no resurrection.

We prefer the mountaintop.
We prefer the view,
basking in a Saviour
with nothing else to do.

Savor the sunlight.
Build shacks on the hill.
With Moses and Elijah
enjoy the mystical thrill.

But the pattern of the seed,
and the thin air of the mountain,
sends them to Jerusalem
and the bloody fountain.

Transformed in darkness
on the Mount of Calvary.
A Saviour loves the world
and sets humanity free.

Free now to follow
the pattern of the seed.
The grain of wheat dying
to save those in need.

Springs to life eternal
out of dark, damp soil.
Springtime transformation
in the life in which we toil.


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

kennstorck@gmail.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Poem a Sunday
Epiphany 7 A
February 19, 2017
Matt. 5:38-48 - NRSV

Concerning Retaliation

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Footnotes:
Matthew 5:47 Gk your brothers


A Poem a Sunday
Epiphany 7 A

“Love Your Enemies”

Not in our creeds,
never confessed,
avoided by preachers.

He really did not mean it.
Don’t take it literally.
Church signs don’t heed it.

It is only for Him to create.
Followers have leeway
not to heed the mandate.

Dogma dominates:
‘Just War Theory.’
We never hesitate
to justify hate.

Not for us,
but for King and Gandhi.
We get by
with a long breathy sigh.

‘Eye for eye,
Tooth for tooth.’
Trump pushes back
from any truth.

We, too, prefer
the perfect come back.
Rather than care
we will attack.

Creeds dominate deeds
indeed we seldom share:
‘Love your enemies!’
now only if you dare.

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