Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – Pentecost Sunday ( Year B )

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 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

“I have yet many things
to say unto you”
Edward Hayes Plumptre

JOHN XVI. 12.

WEARY and sad, and sorrow-spent were they,
In that still upper room,
While the rich crimson of the closing day
Was fading into gloom,
And over all, benumbing soul and sense,
Hung the cold shadow of a dread suspense.

High words they heard, but little meaning found,
And spoke their wonder out;
Their Master’s wisdom seemed an empty sound,
And faith was nigh to doubt,
And with the simpler questions of a child
Mingled vague dreams, dull thoughts, and guesses wild.

The promise of a Spirit yet to come,
That other Paraclete,
To lead them on to Truth’s eternal home
And guide their wandering feet;
That could not soothe the anguish of their heart,
They asked in sadness “Must their Lord depart?”

The three-fold witness mighty to prevail
Against an evil world,
The wondrous promise, certain not to fail,
Truth’s banner wide unfurled;
All this they heard, and yet their thoughts were cold,
Feeble the strong, and faint of heart the bold.

Yes, after all, or clear and open speech,
Or sayings dark and dim,
They yet had much to learn and He to teach,
Ere they could rest in Him,
Ere they could preach His words with cleanséd lips,
Or He impart His full Apocalypse.

So year by year, and age by age He sends
The Spirit true and pure,
To guide the souls of those He owns as friends
In pathway straight and sure,
Unfolding still to souls that love the light
The glories of His wisdom infinite.

So we too yet have many things to learn
Which now we scarce can bear,
And though at times our hearts within us burn
We soon forget to hear,
And look with vision dim and wondering eyes
As, one by one, new fears and doubts arise.

Only do Thou, O Lord, Thy word fulfil,
And let Thy Spirit’s might
Through all life’s wars and storms be with us still,
And lead us to the light;
Through mists and shadows guide our wandering feet,
And with Him come Thyself, Thou first great Paraclete.

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

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

“Sitting Around Your Table”
Madeleine L’Engle

SNIPPET:

Sitting around your table
as we did, able
to laugh, argue, share
bread and wine and companionship, care
about what someone else was saying, even
if we disagreed passionately: Heaven,
we’re told is not unlike this, the banquet celestial,

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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