Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 17th Sunday After Pentecost (Year A)

With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).

 
 

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading:  Matthew 21:23-32

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

St. John the Baptist
William Drummond

THE LAST and greatest Herald of Heaven’s King
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he more harmless found than man, and mild.
His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distill’d;
Parch’d body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.
There burst he forth: All ye whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn,
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!
—Who listen’d to his voice, obey’d his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their flinty caves, Repent! Repent!

*** This poem is in the public domain,
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

 
 
CONTEMPORARY POEM:

Questions
Mark Bozzuti-Jones

God allows our questions and more questions
God-directed questions show, if we ask them faithfully, that we wish to know
God’s mysteries and God’s ways
Inviting us to come to God and like Mary choose the better part of questioning and feet resting
Be sure to know this about God
God has a question for you, too
In the beauty of the flowers, the wild geese and the butterfly and the eagle and the ways in which we are called to be God’s questions in this world

Who are we and what does our baptism mean?
Whose are we and how are we outward signs of inward grace?
Say yes and mean yes
Say you will go and go
Look around you and see that God loves the sinners and those who do the will of God
Look around you and see that you are the tax collectors and the prostitutes and the chief priests and the elders and you are
Here comes God seeking to enter your temple
the temple of God.

—-
The Rev. Dr. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones is the Priest and Director for Core Values and Strategic Clergy for Global Initiatives at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. Fr. Mark has a wide range of experience, including 14 years of Jesuit training and work as a missionary in Belize, Brazil, Guyana, and Mexico, that trained him well for the multicultural richness of the city, and helped prepare him for working well with groups and people of various cultural backgrounds. Mark is an award-winning author and has published numerous books, including his most recent books The Rastafari Book of Common Prayer and The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark.

This poem is published here with the permission of the poet.
 
 

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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