Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

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:
John 13:31-35

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

The New Commandment
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I heard a strange voice in the distance calling
As from a star an echo might be falling.

It spoke four syllables, concise and brief,
Charged with a God-sent message of relief:

Let go the cross! Oh, you who cling to sorrow,
Hark to the new command and comfort borrow.

Even as the Master left His cross below
And rose to Paradise, let go, let go.

Forget your wrongs, your troubles and your losses,
For with the tools of thought we build our crosses.

Forget your griefs, all grudges and all fear
And enter Paradise–its gates are near.

Heaven is a realm by loving souls created,
And hell was fashioned by the hearts that hated.

Love, hope and trust; believe all joys are yours,
Life pays the soul whose confidence endures,

The blows of adverse fate, by larger pleasures,
As after storms the soil yields fuller measures.

Let go the cross; roll self–the stone–away
And dwell with Love in Paradise to-day.

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

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

They’ll Know We are Christians
Peter Scholtes

SNIPPET:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.
And we pray that all unity, may one day be restored.

And they’ll know we are Christians,
By our love, by our love.
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

[ READ THE FULL POEM ]

 
 

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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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