Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | December 22, 2016

A Christmas Poem – Don’t Be Afraid

We live in a terribly frightened–and frightening–world. Perhaps the Christmas angel has a message for us, if we put ourselves among the shepherds.

I wrote this poem for Christmas 2015, as my Christmas Eve sermon, and am republishing it for another Christmas in a world that is still frightening.  Perhaps the Christmas message is better sung than spoken; isn’t that why we so love the Christmas carols? Poetry is close as we come to singing without music.

Don’t Be Afraid!

I

“Don’t be afraid!” the angel said
to us shepherds, who cowered in terror and dread.
“I have good news to share with you!—
news that will thrill you, through and through.

“I sing of a child, born this night
who will put an end to all your fright.
He’s come as Messiah, Lord, and Savior—
peace to all, goodwill and favor!

“You’ll find him wrapped in bands of cloth,
lying in a feeding trough.
He may look small and frail tonight—
but the day will come when you’ll see his might.

“God’s come among you as a child—
poor and humble, meek and mild.
God’s come among you to save you all,
forgive your sin, make you stand tall.”

A choir of angels joined the song,
voices soaring loud and long,
“Glory in heaven, to God be praise!
God’s peace on earth, for all, always!”

II

But me—yes, me—when I heard this news
shook my head; I was not amused!
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

Don’t be afraid in this crazy world
where powerful, vicious words are hurled?
Don’t be afraid when there’s so much hate—
words and walls that separate?

Don’t be afraid, when there’s endless violence—
and far too many suffer in silence?
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

Don’t be afraid when we’re told to fear
the ones who come from there to here?
Don’t be afraid when we can’t clearly see
who’s friend and who is enemy?

Don’t be afraid when it feels so dark,
when it’s not even safe to walk in the park?
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

III

The angel replied, “That’s what I said—
there’s nothing to fear, nothing to dread.
For God almighty has come to earth,
filled with love, in a wondrous birth!

“God is with you, here—right here—
right in this place where you live in fear.
God is here, where it’s dark and dreary,
here with a love that won’t grow weary.

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

“This Child will know your pain and distress;
he’ll understand your hopelessness.
He’ll walk with you in frightening places,
and put a grateful smile on your faces.

“He’ll love the poor and sinners, too;
he’ll love the rich—love folks like you;
he’ll heal the sick and raise the dead;
he’ll battle with Satan and come out ahead!

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

“This Child is a love-gift sent from God,
to you and all who feel the rod
of hatred, division and discontent.
Cheer up!—this Child is heaven-sent!

“This Child, when he becomes a man
will die and rise—and that’s God’s plan.
He’ll rise and rule forevermore,
and welcome you through heaven’s door.

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

IV

“So hurry, hasten, go—adore!”
And with that, the angel spoke no more.
And we, astounded, said to each other,
“We’ve got to see this Child and mother!”

We hastened off to see this thing
that made the angels soar and sing.
We found the Child, just as they said—
and, moved to awe, we bowed our heads.

A babe so small and poor and sweet,
with little to warm his hands and feet,
his parents poor and humble, too—
and, yet—Light shined in that crude, bare room.

We began to see what the angel meant.
We know this Child is heaven-sent.
We sense his power, feel his love,
and trust in our hearts he comes from above.

V
We go back to our lives, but we’re never the same
as we joyfully, gladly praise the name
of Jesus, Child from heaven above—
full of mercy, peace, God’s love!

To all we see, to all we meet,
We bring this message, pure and sweet:
“God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!”

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | December 22, 2016

A Poem for Advent 4

Here’s my latest poem, a dialog  between humanity and God, presented at our contemporary worship on Dec. 18.  In this poem, God hears and responds to our plea for “Emmanuel–God With Us” to come.  It’s based on the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25.

The prophet Isaiah declares to a reluctant King Ahaz in 7:14, “Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”

Matthew 1:18-25: 8Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
 and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

And the poem, with God’s speech in quotes:

A Dialog with God About the Coming of Emmanuel

Where are you, God?

Will you ever get here, as promised?

Will you come to us, God?—

come to set the world right,

come to stop our warring madness—

our hatred

our divisiveness

our judging of others

our violent ways

our bullying beating killing slaughter—

come to drive away our fear and terror,

come to heal my sin-sick heart—

cleanse it

transform it

mold it.

O come, o come, Emmanuel!

What are you waiting for, God?

The world has spun out of control,

lost its bearings

discarded its compass

surrendered its soul.

O come, o come, Emmanuel!

“I am coming.

I’m sending a child,

A fragile, vulnerable, infant.

And this is the one who will save you—

though you expect another kind of powerful, mighty Ruler.”

What—this child will be powerful?

How powerful?

Powerful enough to save us from our sins?

“Yes—his name shall be Jesus

Savior

Deliverer

Victorious One

Conqueror.”

Wow!—that’s powerful.

I can’t save myself.

No other human can save us.

Only God can save us!

But, a child—God?

“Yes—he will be Emmanuel.

God with us.”

God with us?

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Come, be with our dark world—give us light!

Come, be with us sinners—forgive us, make us free!

Come, be with the lonely and poor—give us abundant life!

Come, be with the sick and dying—heal us, make us whole!

Come, be with the whole creation—hold all in your love!

“When you plead with me to come to you,

know this about me—

I am Light.

I am Freedom.

I am Abundant Life.

I am Wholeness.

I am Love.

I am with you—Emmanuel.

I have come—in humble flesh.

I will come again—in majestic power.

And I come to you now, hidden—yes, now.

In your darkest moments, I am with you.

In your fear and terror, I am with you.

In your chaos and devastation, I am with you.

In your death and dying, I am with you.

Now and always, I am with you.”

Emmanuel is here—God with us.

You come.  You come to us, Emmanuel!

Come to cleanse and transform us.

Come to save us from our enemies—

save us from ourselves

save us from our fears

save us from our evildoing

save us, even, from Death.

O come, please come, Emmanuel!

We need you.

I need you.

Emmanuel—God with us.

Come.

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | December 5, 2016

A Poem for Advent 2

Here’s my latest poem, written for our contemporary worship on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4. Just when it seemed like the ancient monarchy in Israel was as good as dead, Isaiah imagined the possibility of hope for something new. Just when it seems as if hope for our world and our lives are as good as dead, God promises something new. May you experience and share that newness in your life.

The poem is based on the first reading for the day, which follows:

Isaiah 11:1-10

1A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

6The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

10On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

And now, the poem:

From a Place as Good as Dead

From a place as good as dead,

a people as good as dead—

from a tree stump, from its puny, dry, withered roots

from a shattered, devastated people—

shall come a shoot, a branch.

And he shall be from God.

 

And he shall be filled with the Spirit of God.

And he shall come to rule—

Messiah,

Son of David—

dressed in righteousness and faithfulness—

to rule with justice

with a heart for the poor,

with a heart for the meek,

with a strong word that destroys evil.

 

And his reign will be a reign of peace.

Enemies will become friends—

human enemies,

animal enemies—

and predators  will no longer seek prey—

predators animal and human—

and they shall no longer fear each other,

and they shall be reconciled.

Enemies, adversaries shall be reconciled.

And the intimate knowledge of the LORD shall fill the earth

and it shall be glorious.

 

Life!

Life from a place, a people, as good as dead.

Let it be.

 

Life from a place as good as dead—

from a dying, decaying world,

from a nation searching for its soul,

from parched, undernourished spirits,

from my cold, hard heart—

cold with anger and fear,

cold with disregard for God,

hardened toward the poor and homeless,

hardened toward those I disagree with—

from this cold, hard heart

righteousness shall sprout and grow.

 

Righteousness shall sprout and grow?

From this dead world?

From my dead heart?

 

“Why, yes!” the prophet declares.

Of course!” God promises.

“Isn’t that what I do—

bring life from death?”

 

Yes, God, yes!

Let it be.

Let it be in me.  Through me.

 

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | November 28, 2016

A Poem for Advent 1

It’s been a while.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Been a while since I began recently-completed cancer treatment.  Been a while since I’ve felt energetic enough to write any poetry.  This whole year of journeying through the medical world has felt like Advent–wait, and wait, and wait some more.

am currently writing a little poetry, for use in our contemporary worship during the current season of Advent. I’m trying to incorporate our seasonal worship theme: “Wait…God is on the Way”.  And I’m finding it refreshing to be writing again–writing something besides Caring Bridge health updates, that is.  The poem I wrote for yesterday is based on the scripture reading from Isaiah 2:1-5:

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
 2In days to come
 the mountain of the LORD’s house
 shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
 and shall be raised above the hills;
 all the nations shall stream to it.
 3Many peoples shall come and say,
 “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
 to the house of the God of Jacob;
 that he may teach us his ways
 and that we may walk in his paths.”
 For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
 and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
 4He shall judge between the nations,
 and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
 they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
 and their spears into pruning hooks;
 nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
 neither shall they learn war any more.
 5O house of Jacob,
 come, let us walk
 in the light of the LORD!

And here’s my poem:

A Poem for Advent 1

Wait…God Is On the Way:

The Word that Isaiah Saw

In a wounded world,

A war-weary world,

A world worn out—

worn out by angry, hate-filled words and clenched fists,

worn out by spears and knives,

worn out by guns and bombs,

worn out by armies trampling through the land,

A world overwhelmed with those seeking refuge from war,

A world unhinged, gone mad, drunk with the blood of the vanquished

 

In this Godforsaken world, long ago Isaiah saw a word—

He saw God’s word—

And what did he see?

A word of peace—in a violent world

A word of light—in a world of darkness

A word of hope—in a desperate world

A word for all—in a world divided.

 

A word of promise—

The nations will gather to hear God’s word

and they will learn war no more

and their weapons of war will become instruments of peace

and they will leave the darkness

and they will walk in God’s light

their hearts filled with hope

their lands filled with joy

and laughter

and love

and life

 

That’s what Isaiah saw.

 

And could it be?

 

“Why, yes!” says the prophet,

“Yes!  Yes!” says the Lord.

“Wait—just wait!

God is on the way.

Do you see it?

Look—look over there!

Look at enemies, embracing

Look at the scorched earth, flourishing

Look at the war-weary, refreshed

Yes, look, and wait, and you shall see—

You shall see the salvation, the life, the peace of God.”

 

Look, and wait—

Engaged, not withdrawn,

Active, not passive,

Hopeful, not despairing—

Wait faithfully and you shall be

Peacemakers

Life-givers

Light-bearers.

 

Could it be?

 

That’s what Isaiah saw—

With God’s own eyes.

 

This is the God for whom we faithfully wait.

This is the God who is on the way!

 

Blessed Advent, dear readers.  And may what you wait for in your heart of hearts be fulfilled by the coming of God!

 

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | December 27, 2015

A Christmas Poem – Don’t Be Afraid!

We live in a terribly frightened–and frightening–world. Perhaps the Christmas angel has a message for us, if we put ourselves among the shepherds.

I wrote this poem for Christmas 2015, as my Christmas Eve sermon, and am republishing it for another Christmas in a world that is still frightening.  Perhaps the Christmas message is better sung than spoken; isn’t that why we so love the Christmas carols? Poetry is close as we come to singing without music.

Don’t Be Afraid!

I

“Don’t be afraid!” the angel said
to us shepherds, who cowered in terror and dread.
“I have good news to share with you!—
news that will thrill you, through and through.

“I sing of a child, born this night
who will put an end to all your fright.
He’s come as Messiah, Lord, and Savior—
peace to all, goodwill and favor!

“You’ll find him wrapped in bands of cloth,
lying in a feeding trough.
He may look small and frail tonight—
but the day will come when you’ll see his might.

“God’s come among you as a child—
poor and humble, meek and mild.
God’s come among you to save you all,
forgive your sin, make you stand tall.”

A choir of angels joined the song,
voices soaring loud and long,
“Glory in heaven, to God be praise!
God’s peace on earth, for all, always!”

II

But me—yes, me—when I heard this news
shook my head; I was not amused!
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

Don’t be afraid in this crazy world
where powerful, vicious words are hurled?
Don’t be afraid when there’s so much hate—
words and walls that separate?

Don’t be afraid, when there’s endless violence—
and far too many suffer in silence?
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

Don’t be afraid when we’re told to fear
the ones who come from there to here?
Don’t be afraid when we can’t clearly see
who’s friend and who is enemy?

Don’t be afraid when it feels so dark,
when it’s not even safe to walk in the park?
I can’t believe what I’ve just heard—
“Don’t be afraid?” How absurd!

III

The angel replied, “That’s what I said—
there’s nothing to fear, nothing to dread.
For God almighty has come to earth,
filled with love, in a wondrous birth!

“God is with you, here—right here—
right in this place where you live in fear.
God is here, where it’s dark and dreary,
here with a love that won’t grow weary.

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

“This Child will know your pain and distress;
he’ll understand your hopelessness.
He’ll walk with you in frightening places,
and put a grateful smile on your faces.

“He’ll love the poor and sinners, too;
he’ll love the rich—love folks like you;
he’ll heal the sick and raise the dead;
he’ll battle with Satan and come out ahead!

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

“This Child is a love-gift sent from God,
to you and all who feel the rod
of hatred, division and discontent.
Cheer up!—this Child is heaven-sent!

“This Child, when he becomes a man
will die and rise—and that’s God’s plan.
He’ll rise and rule forevermore,
and welcome you through heaven’s door.

“Yes, God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!

IV

“So hurry, hasten, go—adore!”
And with that, the angel spoke no more.
And we, astounded, said to each other,
“We’ve got to see this Child and mother!”

We hastened off to see this thing
that made the angels soar and sing.
We found the Child, just as they said—
and, moved to awe, we bowed our heads.

A babe so small and poor and sweet,
with little to warm his hands and feet,
his parents poor and humble, too—
and, yet—Light shined in that crude, bare room.

We began to see what the angel meant.
We know this Child is heaven-sent.
We sense his power, feel his love,
and trust in our hearts he comes from above.

V
We go back to our lives, but we’re never the same
as we joyfully, gladly praise the name
of Jesus, Child from heaven above—
full of mercy, peace, God’s love!

To all we see, to all we meet,
We bring this message, pure and sweet:
“God is here—and that’s good news!
Good news for all, good news for you!”

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | April 3, 2015

A Good Friday Poem

Rick's Ruminations

On Good Friday last year, after evening worship, I was drawn to the dark, silent sanctuary. As I sat in meditation, I had a strong sense of the presence of the absent One. This poem is an attempt to capture that experience. I offer it for your Good Friday 2015 reflection.

I Sat In the Darkness
(After Good Friday Worship)

I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence—
After the story had ended, the last word spoken,
After the last prayer was prayed, the last song sung,
After the last candle was snuffed out, the last light extinguished,
After the people had silently, somberly sauntered away—
I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence.

I sat in the darkness tonight, and I prayed.
I prayed for the sick—too many of them—whom I know and love.
I prayed for government leaders—those I like, and those I don’t like.
I…

View original post 215 more words

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | June 25, 2014

What’s God Up To?

This post is adapted from my recent article in the Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church newsletter.

This question–“what’s God up to?”–has been haunting me for some time now, but not in a scary, threatening kind of way—at least, most of the time, if I’m honest. As we celebrated the festival of Pentecost, we reminded ourselves that God has poured out the Holy Spirit upon the church—poured it out abundantly—to empower our witness in the world. And I’m thinking that this question—“What’s God up to?”—is a stirred-by-the-Holy-Spirit kind of question. Because that seems to be what the Spirit does—hover, even haunt, guide, prod, nudge, and, in general, blow openness and newness (along with a lot of uncertainty) into places where things had seemed clear, tidy, closed, determined, and neatly tied down. Blow, Spirit, blow!?

“What’s God up to?” It sure seems as if God is up to something, when we notice the massive shift in the relationship between church and culture that has been occurring for the past several decades. You know what I’m talking about: church-going is more and more an option and less and less an expectation; the public voice of the church (except for the most extreme voices) has been largely silenced; churches are no longer a favored presence in a community and, more and more, are considered a detriment; Christian education as we’ve known it for a long time, especially Sunday School and Confirmation, is rapidly losing appeal and participants, and seems to be on life support. What’s going on?

In the midst of all this, confronted by the current and real challenges of being church in this time and place, we wonder, “What’s God up to?” We may even wonder if God is up to anything at all or if God has totally abandoned us.

God has not abandoned us! Of that, we can be absolutely sure—and, perhaps, that is all we need to be sure about. God has not abandoned us but, on the other hand, it seems as if God is challenging us to realize that the church of the future is going to look a lot different from the church of the recent past, and to live into the emerging new reality. So what’s God up to?

The honest answer: I’m not entirely sure what God is up to. BUT, whatever God is up to, life, abundant life for all creation, is God’s intention—and I want for myself and for God’s church to live into that abundance, wherever that takes me/us.

“What’s God up to?” I’m sensing more and more that there are glimmers and hints. And those hints and glimmers keep nudging in the direction of partnership for the common good: partnering with other churches, and partnering with life-giving entities in the community. When I experience or talk about those possibilities, it sure seems like there is recurring affirmation. Maybe that’s a strong indication of what God is up to for the life of the world.

“What’s God up to?” Wow, giving all kinds of life!

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | April 22, 2014

A Good Friday Poem

On Good Friday last year, after evening worship, I was drawn to the dark, silent sanctuary. As I sat in meditation, I had a strong sense of the presence of the absent One. This poem is an attempt to capture that experience. I offer it for your Good Friday 2015 reflection.

I Sat In the Darkness
(After Good Friday Worship)

I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence—
After the story had ended, the last word spoken,
After the last prayer was prayed, the last song sung,
After the last candle was snuffed out, the last light extinguished,
After the people had silently, somberly sauntered away—
I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence.

I sat in the darkness tonight, and I prayed.
I prayed for the sick—too many of them—whom I know and love.
I prayed for government leaders—those I like, and those I don’t like.
I prayed for the Ukraine, and the Central African Republic,
and other places torn by violence and strife.
I prayed for seven soon-to-be-baptized children.
I sat in the darkness tonight, and I prayed.

I sat in the darkness tonight, and I cried.
I cried for my Lord, abandoned, dead on a cross.
I cried for the unwanted, unloved, abused children.
I cried for a world gasping in chaos.
I cried for the hungry and homeless.
I sat in the darkness tonight, and I cried.

I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence.
It was dark, but I was not afraid.
It was dark, but I felt at peace.
It was dark, but I didn’t want to leave.
I was alone, but I was not alone.
The One who was absent was there, in the silence.

I sat in the darkness tonight, and I hoped.
I hoped for a world healed by the broken One.
I hoped for a church revived and re-energized.
I hoped for all of those for whom I had prayed.
And I hoped for myself, that I would be a faithful bearer of Christ in the world.
I sat in the darkness tonight, and I hoped.

I sat in the darkness tonight, in the silence.
Sometimes the darkness is all I need.

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | April 14, 2014

A Poem for Palm/Passion Sunday and Holy Week

Wrote this one to share as part of my Palm Sunday sermon. Imagine, with a nod to Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, Jesus entering Jerusalem from the east on a donkey and Pilate, at about the same time, entering from the west on a war horse to keep the peace during Passover.

“WHEN KINGDOMS COLLIDE”

One man rode in on his high horse,
A ruler, entering from the west,
Confident in Roman power,
Certain he could beat the best.

Another rode in on a donkey–
A peasant, entering from the east,
Pure of heart, trusting God,
His simple mission–bringing peace.

The first one filled with arrogance,
Pompous, mighty, and well-armed,
Accompanied by many soldiers
To threaten and to cause alarm.

The second fellow, meek and humble,
Armed with mercy, forgiveness, love,
Joined by foll’wers, frightened, fickle,
Trusting in their God above?

Pilate rode in from the west,
Horses strutting, weapons strong,
Swords were flashing, soldiers seething,
Eager for battle before long.

Jesus rode in from the east,
Battle also was his plan—
Not the kind with swords and weapons—
Fighting for the hearts of man.

Soon they’ll meet, and soon they’ll battle,
One a warrior, one a slave.
The odds appear in Pilate’s favor—
But is God present? Will God save?

Jesus, humble, is defeated,
Hung to die upon a cross,
Tortured and humiliated—
His mission, it’s a total loss.

But wait–another word is spoken,
“Christ is risen!” is the cry.
Foolish Pilate should have known
That love like this can never die.

Each day still the battle rages,
In our hearts and in our lives—
Will we side with Pontius Pilate,
Or trust in Jesus, humble Christ?

When the choices are unnerving,
When our loy’lty’s on the line,
Will we choose the pow’r of Pilate,
Or Jesus’ love, serene, sublime?

The battle, it was long ago—
Yes, still it lives in me and you.
Who will claim our faith and trust–
Lord Jesus, hold us, keep us true.

Posted by: Pastor Rick Thompson | December 27, 2013

Pondering It All: A Reflection on Luke 2:19

My third Christmas Eve poetic reflection. What might she have been pondering after the shepherds’ visit to the manger?

Pondering It All
(Based on Luke 2: 8-20)

“There’s so much to ponder,” Mary thought,
as she held and cuddled the son she’d brought
into a world so dark and cold.
“I wonder if he’ll ever grow old?
I wonder what will become of him;
Will he be tall, will he be thin?
Will he have sisters, will he have brothers?
Will he laugh and play with others?
Will he and Joseph work in the shop,
and if he does, will he drop
it all to do his Father’s work—
going where the demons lurk?
Will some people call him odd–
my baby boy, the Son of God?”

The baby stirred, began to cry,
and Mary wept, let go a sigh;
“I’m afraid his deeds will meet with rejection,
worried they’ll charge him with insurrection.
Priests and judges, emperors too—
they just won’t like what he’ll say and do;
they’ll be threatened, offended by all the things
he preaches and by the people he brings
to table and temple—those with no place,
the poor, the forsaken, will dwell in grace.
I’m worried,” she muttered under her breath;
“I’m worried they’ll put my son to death.
I don’t like these thoughts I’m having, at all—
but ‘he is God’s Son’” said Gabriel.

Her son grew up, and, indeed, he went
on a mission, insisting he’d been sent
to teach and heal, cast demons out,
and in every village, he would shout,
“The kingdom of God—it’s here, it’s now!—
follow me and I’ll show you how
to embrace the forgotten, to love and forgive,
to embody God’s mercy—to really live!”
He set his course, and as Mary feared,
they nailed his hands, his side they speared.
He hung on a cross until he died
with only two criminals at his side.
And those who killed him said, with a nod,
“Look at him! That’s the Son of God?”

Sorrowfully, painfully, Mary watched—
certain that all was wasted and lost.
She pondered once more, “Was I all wrong
to trust God’s promise, to sing that song
of the triumph of justice, the vict’ry of peace,
of the poor uplifted, the hungry at feast?”
And as she pondered, weighed down with grief,
a strange thing happened—beyond belief.
“He’s risen,” the angel said this time,
“he’s alive, he’ll meet you in bread and wine!”
This message went out to all the world:
You’re forgiven, made whole—ponder this word!
Eat bread, drink wine, his body and blood—
Yes, he lives in you now—the Son of God!

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