Lectionary Poetry – Third Sunday in Lent (Year C)

Lectionary Poetry

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.

*** Narrative Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading:
John 18:12-27



St. Peter’s Denial
Charles Baudelaire

What, then, has God to say of cursing heresies,
Which rise up like a flood at precious angels’ feet?
A self-indulgent tyrant, stuffed with wine and meat,
He sleeps to soothing sounds of monstrous blasphemies.

The sobs of martyred saints and groans of tortured men
No doubt provide the Lord with rapturous symphonies.
And yet the heavenly hosts are scarcely even pleased
In spite of all the blood men dedicate to them.

Jesus, do you recall the grove of olive trees
Where on your knees, in your simplicity, you prayed
To Him who sat and heard the noise the nailing made
In your live flesh, as villains did their awful deed,

When you saw, spitting on your pure divinity,
Scum from the kitchens, outcasts, guardsmen in disgrace,
And felt the crown of thorns around your gentle face
Piercing your temples, home of our Humanity,

When, like a target, you were raised above the crowd,
When the appalling wrench of broken body’s weight
Stretched out your spreading arms, and as your blood and sweat
Streamed down your body, and across your pallid brow,

Did you remember all the days of brilliant calm
You went forth to fulfil the promise made by God,
And on a gentle ass triumphantly you trod
The streets all strewn with blooms and branches of the palms,

When with your heart so full of hope and far from fear,
You lashed with all your might that money-changing lot,
And were at last the master? 0, and then did not
Chagrin strike through your side more keenly than the spear?

Believe it, as for me, I’ll go out satisfied
From this world where the deed and dream do not accord;
Would I might wield the sword, and perish by the sword!
Peter rejected Jesus … he was justified!

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


St. Peter
Malcolm Guite


Impulsive master of misunderstanding
You comfort me with all your big mistakes;
Jumping the ship before you make the landing,
Placing the bet before you know the stakes.



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