Category Archives: Liturgical

Advent 2017

Every year it is the same

In November I begin

To stumble out in search of

A feeling I once had.

 

I search the mud and dead leaves

For something colourful and

Warm and bright and sweet enough

To get me through the dark days.

 

For a message in the lights

For the song behind the song

give until I feel good

But it every year eludes.

 

So it is one mad, cold day

That I search, frantic, through the trash

Of Decembers I have known

For a Christmas I can feel

 

And feel, instead, a hand placed

On the shoulder of my heart

And it breaks, and is remade

By the person Christmas is.


Advent 2015

Come carolers and let us sing

Of when He came in like a thief

To the camp of the enemy

In the dark of moon, and year.

 

Past the sleeping watch of history

The guard-fires, fences and the dogs

As swift and silent as the snow

To our long-accustomed prison.

 

There to break the ancient chains

And then to lead us one by one

Beyond the ring of firelight

Into His Father’s holy dark.

 

And in the morning when they came

To kick us back to wakefulness

And lay our earned judgment on

They found there sentenced in our place

 

An infant, come red and wailing

To a world like a winter sea

They laughed, the drowning and the frost

Who saw their doom, and knew Him not.


Easter 2018

I rolled a stone across my heart

Because it had become a tomb.

I found no sign of life in it

And so I set the seals, and slept.

 

I lay the winter long until

My blood ran thick as maple sap

Till my pulse was lizard-slow and

I could believe I’d died indeed.

 

But now the spring has come again

To break the seals of ice and dark

The roots are set to dancing and

My children call me out to play.

 

And to my horror and my joy

I find myself alive again

I try to call and run to them

“But who will roll away the stone?”

 

I am crying and am answered

With a movement in the dark.

I did not live, nor did I die

Nor was I buried there alone.

 

For he who was entombed with me

Did not come to rest in peace

He comes to harrow, and to raise

And to roll away the stone.

 


Easter 2016

Rise up, oh Christ

In the middle of my days

Rise up from where I buried you

And break the strata of the year.

 

Crack the easy hills

End all my neat topography

They are made green and fertile

By what is buried underneath.

 

Wipe away my careful maps

The lines that mark false nations

With invented histories

And names that mean nothing.

 

Rise up, oh Christ,

And cast me from my throne

Break the earth in seven pieces

And leave not a one for me.

 

For when my world is ended

And the king in me is dead

I would have nothing for my portion

But my hand held in yours.


Lent 2016

Here in these half-holy days

At the wasted end of winter

Where life holds all things lightly

And the bones of the earth show through

 

We wander like ghosts,

waiting to remember

What we were doing

And what we were called

 

Before the winter came.


Good Friday 2017

Who can bear to read

The story of the humans?

Written as it is

In the bodies of their children.

Chlorine-choked

Ball-bearing broken

Wrapped in dust and laid

In the broken heart of the earth.

 

He made it His own,

The story of the humans

And let them writing an ending

Upon His body there,

With fist and foot and implement

Son-and-daughter slain and rising

Up to bear their children out

Of the broken heart of the earth.


Epitaphios

We brought him out

To hear the caroling.

All the long pilgrimage

From the couch to the kitchen chair.

Half-carried, he barely found his steps

Like a man walking on the sea-bed

He was somewhere we were not

Far away from Christmas in long-term care.

With Advent he slipped away

His bones each there to be counted

The man nearly gone from his eyes

Stolen away by the nameless

He had forgotten how to stand,

Leaning back against our arms

A living icon, out of season

Christ taken down from the cross.

The voices startle and amaze him

And though he is sore afraid

And cannot see the secret choir

Their carol is for him:

“No more let sins and sorrows grow

Nor thorns infest the ground

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found.”


Good Friday 2014

It was the day of the hammer
The day of the nail
It was the day of the storm
And of the earthquake

For how could the earth
Not shudder and crack
With the blood of its maker
Spilled upon it?

And we huddled in our homes
Beneath the bruise-black sky
And waited for creation
To burn us for blasphemy

And the earth did open
Beneath we, the accursed
But out of the depths
Came not fire, or water

But our beloved, who were dead
Now quickened,
And laughing
And running to embrace us.


Ordinary Time

In the winter after Christmas,
the night after the lights come down
In the barrens after feasting
the silence when the music ends

This is when it really matters
this is when we need to believe
That what has come to pass in us
is stronger than January.

That daily He abides within
the dirty stable of our hearts
to wake, and live, and die with us
to go down and to rise with us.


Christmas (2011)

Glory to God in the highest,!
And on Earth peace, good will to men

For when the hammer of winter fell
And we wept in the trenches of ourselves
He came stooping like a falcon down
To pluck us from our last cold ending
With talons that smelt of summertime.