Thursday, April 27, 2017

day 117

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb . . . but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen."  Luke 24:2, 5b

Hope strode out
   of the grave, arms
               wide open;
Joy turned cartwheels
   as it sprang out of
               the gloom;
Grace danced
   out of the hollow, eager
   to take us by the hand;
Life folded up
   the grave clothes, longing
   to wrap us in
               laughter,
                             and
we keep trying to
stuff them back in
      and roll the stone
   shut.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

day 116

Doing wrong is like sport to
         a fool,   Proverbs 10:23a

in the evening,
we play
      kick-the-con,
      hide-and-seek
   with the vulnerable,
      freeze tag
   with refugees,
never noticing
         how
   we might offer
      a hope,
      an ear,
      a job
instead.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

day 115

They kept heaping many other insults on him.  Luke 22:68

when we snigger
      at those standing
      on the corner
   with hand-made signs;
when we toss
      neighbors into
      a basket with
   a toss-off remark;
when we whisper
      about our friends
      behind our hands,
   while smiling at them,
we pile more
insults
         on you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, April 24, 2017

day 114

but he said to him, "Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?"  Luke 22:48

we betray you
      not with a kiss,
   but in the people
   we kick to the side
            of life;
      not with a sword,
   but with the sneer
   we offer to
            the hopeful;
      not with a word
   but in the silence
   uttered to
            injustice.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 23, 2017

day 113

"Call on me in the day of
         trouble;
   I will deliver you, and you
         shall glorify me."  Psalm 50:15

may we be
      the family
   for the lonely
   who call on you;
      the peace
   in the war-torn
   who cry out to you;
      the grace
   for all who
   whisper their pain
               to you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 22, 2017

day 112

"Give me a sign of good faith."  Joshua 2:12c

may opening our
      treasure be a
   sign of generosity;
may our kind words
      be a sign of
   gentle grace;
may our embrace
      be a sign
   of genuine love;
may our lives
      offered to others
   by signs of
      goodness where
   so much is needed.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 21, 2017

day 111

He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on."  Luke 21:4

we give you
      the change
   left from our
   frothy latte, and
think how much
we have sacrificed,
            while
   the barista
   offers you her
         heart,
and overflows
with
            joy.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, April 20, 2017

day 110

We ponder your steadfast
         love, O God,  Psalm 48:9a

we study your
      steadfast love, and
   fail the test
   when we mistreat others;
we dissect your
      hope, leaving it
   pinned to the tray,
            while we turn out
            the lights and leave;
we speed-read through
      your grace, and
   put it back
   on the shelf to
         gather dust.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

day 109

Surely, this commandment I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away.  Deuteronomy 30:11

hope is as near
   as a child
   reaching for a
            hand;
justice is as easy
   as caring for
   the most
         vulnerable;
love is as nigh
   as the butterfly
            kiss
   of a grandma;
grace is as simple
   as a kind
             word;
joy is as close
   as splashing
   in a
         puddle.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

day 108

But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.  Luke 18:34

because
we let
   resurrection joy
   slip through our
            hearts like
            sand, even
after all this
      time we
   seem to understand
         nothing
   of what happened
   on that morning, and
            so
      keep hope hidden
            from
others.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, April 17, 2017

day 107

"I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.  And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"  Luke 18:8

in the gardens,
      where community
      is planted alongside
   vegetables;
in the playground
            games,
      where bullies
      are transformed into
   teammates;
in the businesses,
      where compassion
      takes priority over
   profits,
may you find

faith.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 16, 2017

day 106

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;"  Luke 17:20

the kingdom comes
   not with power
         but with those
         who listen to 
      the meek;
   not with loud shouts,
         but with children
         whispering hope in
      each others' ears;
   not with the cold
   reality of death,
         but with the
         unexpected joy
      of an empty grave.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 15, 2017

day 105

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"  Luke 17:5

we keep waiting
         for
   the lottery numbers
      to hit;
   the winning raffle
      ticket have our name;
   the big package
      to arrive, while
that little seed
   we keep trying
   to get unstuck
from our hearts
is all we
         need.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 14, 2017

day 104

So he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts;"  Luke 16:15

when we drop
off groceries at
the pantry, but don't
   speak to those waiting
   at the door;
when we serve
at the shelter, but
   know none of
   the guests by name;
when we sing songs
for the residents
at the retirees' home,
   but don't bother
   to listen to their
                 lives, we
have simply stuck
   in our thumb
and pulled out
   aplomb,
saying, 'what good
people we are!'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

day 103

A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.  Luke 15:13

   we've gone to
   that far country
         called foolishness:
spending grace
      on greedy goods;
confusing lust
   for love;
mortgaging our hopes
      for a place
      where every hunger
   is filled, wondering
all the while
if you have even
         noticed
we are gone.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

day 102

"Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot me my disciple."  Luke 14:27

perhaps
that cross
            is simply
   the secrets
   another confides
         in us;
   the little child
   hoping for someone
         to help with
      the hard words;
   the loneliness
   of a neighbor
      wandering the
      wilderness of
            adolescence;
   the memories of
   a senior citizen
         who lives them
      over and over
      again.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

        

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

day 101

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that they LORD your God is giving you.  Deuteronomy 16:20

i can spend months
   training, increasing
      my miles, focusing
      on the upcoming marathon;
i go twice a week
   to the boot camp
   to get back to
         my college weight
         and energy for
      the reunion;
i continue to play
   sports my doctor
   reminds me only
      damage my body
              more . . .

but chasing
      justice?

i barely break
a
sweat.

(c)  2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, April 10, 2017

day 100

He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like?  And to what should I compare it?"  Luke 13:18

the kingdom is like
   a kitten stalking
   a sunbeam until
      it captures it
      to share a nap;
   a class of kids
   donating their favorite
               books
      to a homeless shelter;
   a woman passing on
   her nana's handwritten
         cookie recipes
      to her
   grandson.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 09, 2017

day 99

Remember today that it was not your children (who have not known or seen the discipline of the LORD your God), but it is you who must acknowledge his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm,  Deuteronomy 11:2

we could hope
      our kids
   will figure everything
   out, or we
can see your strength
      in the little ones
      standing up to bullies,
feel your power
      in the mothers
      protesting injustice,
know your hope
      in the arms
      that cradle the
   patients receiving chemo.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Saturday, April 08, 2017

day 98

You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Deuteronomy 10:19

we could
   change the code
      on the security system
      every 12 hours;
   install steel-plated
      doors front and back;
   put out guard dogs
      in the yard
      when dusk falls;
               or
welcome you
in the immigrants
   longing to share
   your hope
with us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 07, 2017

day 97

"No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light;"  Luke 11:33

when we would
box you up
      and store you
      in the basement
   with the tree, lights,
   and ornaments, may
we learn to sit
with you at the window
      in the living room,
   your soul glowing as
you wait for
the prodigals to
      come home.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, April 06, 2017

day 96

Happy is the one who listens
         to me,
   watching daily at my
         gates,
   waiting beside my doors.  Proverbs 8:34

i could sit
      on the porch
                 steps,
   eager for foolishness
   to finish breakfast and
         come out to
               play tag, or
i could curl
      up in your lap,
   as you read
   me stories of
         hope
         and
         grace.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

day 95

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen not to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children -- Deuteronomy 4:9

we can show
our kids and
         grandkids
   pictures of all
   the wrong others
            do, or
   let them watch
   the videos of
      the helpers and
      repairers;
we can let goodness
   slip through the
   crevices of our
      brains into
      nothingness, or
hand it on
to those walking
   after us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

day 94

"and in the wilderness, where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place.  But in spite of this, you have no trust in the LORD your God,"  Deuteronomy 1:31-32

      because
the photos are
   faded and curled,
the stories are
   dismissed as fanciful,
            and
the tellers are
   seen as ancient, we
remain unconvinced
about cradling the
      cares of others,
and leave them
behind in their
 
desolations.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, April 03, 2017

day 93

Be pleased, O LORD, to
         deliver me;
   O LORD, make haste to
         help me.  Psalm 40:13

not an obligation
      nor something
      to cross off your
      to-do list, but
   you reclaim us
               because
      it completes your heart;
not shutting the
            window
      so you won't hear,
   nor reluctant to
   get out of your
            chair,
you rush out
the door to assist
      us whenever
we call.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 02, 2017

day 92

   then I was beside him, like
         a little child;
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him
         always,  Proverbs 8:30 (alt. reading)

if we would
      only stop
      trying to be
   so adult in
      order to get
      you to approve
               of us,
we might discover
you love us
            simply
   because we are
your
children.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 01, 2017

day 91

Happy are those who make
   the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the
         proud,
   to those who go astray
         after false gods.  Psalm 40:4

the arrogant bait
   their hooks with
   enticing morsels
         of power, hoping
   to hook us and
      carry us home
      to mount on their
               walls, so
help us drift
   along on the
   living waters, content
to be lazy with
         you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 31, 2017

day 90

"Hear my prayer, O LORD,
   and give ear to my cry;
   do not hold your peace at
         my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
   an alien, like all my
         forebear."  Psalm 39:12

whether our hearts
      can only whisper
                  or
   we are swearing
   at the top of our
               lungs,
         you listen;
whether we are
dressed for the prom
                  or
   wearing our
   faded hand-me-downs,
         you welcome us;
whether we can
      pull out a
      multipage genealogy
                  report, or
   just arrived,

we are your
      children.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 30, 2017

day 89

But it is for you, O LORD,
         that I wait;
   it is you, O LORD my God,
         who will answer.  Psalm 38:15

when i rush
      about, be
         my yield
         sign;
when i spin
      in giddy
      circles, be
         my caim;
when i tap my
      feet impatiently, be
         a waltz;
when i babble
      a hundred words
      a second, be
         silence's
         soft whisper, so
i may discover
you in the
   patience.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman


        

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

day 88

I have good advice and
         sound wisdom;
   I have insight, I have
         strength.  Proverbs 8:14

i could sign-up
for another seminar, or
      learn football from
      the kids in the street;
i could put up
more shelves for
more books, or
      listen to the stories of
      my neighbors;
i could earn
another degree, or
      learn a new language
      from a co-worker;
i could remain
a know-it-all,
      or start from scratch
      with you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

     

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

day 87

When the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?'"  Luke 7:20

while we drum
      our fingers on
      our faded dreams
waiting for the
one who will restore
   our might
   our greatness
   our wealth
   our membership
            you
are rescuing the
       immigrants,
   giving medicine
       to the sick,
   picking up those
      who have stumbled,
   opening the eyes
      of the unwilling,

and waiting

for us to stop asking
and start doing.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 27, 2017

day 86

"But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation."  Luke 6:49a

if i don't translate
your words into
   a home for
         refugees,
   a meal for
         the hungry,
   a book for
         a child,
   a vial of medicine for
         the sick,
have i truly
been
      listening?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 26, 2017

day 85

though we stumble, we
         shall not fall headlong,
   for the LORD holds us by
         the hand.  Psalm 37:24

when we tumble off
      faith's seat,
   you bandage
   our skinned knees,
         tighten the
         training wheels, and
   adjust the pedals
so our legs can
reach hope and
      grace, as
we learn to ride
the sidewalks
   of your kingdom.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 25, 2017

day 84

These are the waters of Mer'i-bah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the LORD, and by which he showed his holiness.  Numbers 20:13

we would rather
      jump feet first
   into quibble's
   deep waters, sinking
                        down
      to grab
      contention's bones
      lying on the
            bottom,
than take the
         glass
   of peace
you hold out to
                     us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 24, 2017

day 83

Better is a little that the
         righteous person has
   than the abundance of
         many wicked.  Psalm 37:16

instead of
   waiting for
the lottery winnings
   (or pot of gold)
to magically
         appear,
remind us that
      whatever
   we might have is
      enough
to help those
who have been
   waiting for
hope.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman











Thursday, March 23, 2017

day 82

Do not fret because of the
         wicked;
   do not be envious of
         wrongdoers, Psalm 37:1

may the image
that remains not
      be the wrecked car
      or knives on the ground,
but
the strangers
   kneeling to comfort
         an unknown sister,
the responders
   leaving their fear
   behind as they run
      to help,
a people
   refusing the easy
   choice to
                  hate.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

day 81

And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.  Luke 4:37

too often, the
   report about you
                    reaches
         every region of
         our soul
and
   lays there
         gathering dust
while we
      twitter on
about
            inanities.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

day 80

The LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD's power limited?   Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not."  Numbers 11:23

we continue to believe
   evil is
      inexhaustible,
   fear knows
      no boundaries,
   anger never
      runs out of excuses,
   hate is
      infinite, but
are convinced
         you
have cut back
your hours to
   part-time.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 20, 2017

day 79

And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise."  Luke 3:10-11

as we give
the coats
      that have waited
      for months in our
   closets to be used
      and put them around
      the weather-worn;
as we take
the food from
      our shelves that
      we bought for
   that recipe we
   lost so long ago,
      and take it
      to the food bank,
may we open
our hearts to
the hope
               you
never hesitate to
   share.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
     

Sunday, March 19, 2017

day 78

But as for me, when they
         were sick,
   I wore sackcloth;
   I afflicted myself with
         fasting.
I prayed with head bowed
         on my bosom,
    as though I grieved for a
         friend or a brother;
I went about as one who
         laments for a mother,
   bowed down and in
         mourning.   Psalm 35:13-14

we could
         actually
   care for the
      grieving,
         the sick,
      the broken, by
staying by their sides,
      cradling their tears,
   mending their hearts,
but it is usually
            easier
to shed crocodile
      tears and
offer pious platitudes.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman


Saturday, March 18, 2017

day 77

All my bones shall say,
   "O LORD, who is like you?
"You deliver the weak
   from those too strong for
         them,
   the weak and needy from
         those who despoil
         them."  Psalm 35:10

when the rich
      assume the poor
      have everything
            they could ever
         need,
you clean out
all your theology books
from the cluttered den
   to turn it into
   a guest room;
when the politicians
      cut funding for
      meals to those
            who truly
         hunger, as
   they head off
   to their reserved
      tables at
      Chez Arrogance,
you head to
the kitchen, cooking
   and preparing meals
   to serve to your
neighbors.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 17, 2017

day 76

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:20

we could
      be listening
      to the good news
   sung
         by the most
ignored
      among us, but
we drown out their
   joy,
         grumbling,
'why aren't they
back on the hillside
where they
      belong?'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 16, 2017

day 75

Depart from evil, and do
         good;
   seek peace, and pursue
         it.  Psalm 34:14

we train for
         months
   for malice's
      marathon, but
can never seem
to find the
         stamina
   to cross the
   street to offer
      peace
to the
         exhausted.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

day 74

O taste and see that the
         LORD is good;  Psalm 34:8a

in the kneading
   of the cat
   alarm each morning;
in the sticky-fingered
   grip of the
   preschoolers;
in the sloppy
   kiss of the
   neighbor's dog;
in the glass of
   cold milk chasing
   down the warm pie;
in the gentle breath
   of love on
   the pillow next to
         me.
i discover your
sweet goodness
      and am
filled.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

day 73

Happy is the nation whose
         God is the LORD,
   the people whom he has
         chosen as his heritage.  Psalm 33:12

happy is God, when
      we do not make
      the LORD a
            a political idol, but
   offer mercy
      to all in
               need
        (without requiring
         multiple IDs and
         proof of misery);
   establish justice
      wherever oppression
      would build
                 barriers;
   welcome the gifts
      offered to us by
         the very ones
         we are taught
              are not
family.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 13, 2017

day 72

Say to wisdom, "You are my
         sister,"
   and call insight your
         intimate friend.  Proverbs 7:4

like the sister
   who always listens
   to the deep echoes
         of our hearts;
like the anam cara
   who hears the
   whispers of our
         soul even
      before we do,
                Spirit
shadows our every
   step
      moment
         breath.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 12, 2017

day 71

If any of your kin fall into difficulty and become dependent on you, you shall support them; they shall live with you as though resident aliens.  Leviticus 25:35

if the family from
         Aleppo
   are my cousins;
if the immigrant
         mom
   working 3 jobs
   is my sister;
if the Muslim
         teenager
   is my son;
if the hungry
         girl
   is my daughter,
how
can i turn
   my back on
any
     (or all)
of them?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 11, 2017

day 70

Do not be like a horse or a
         mule, without
         understanding,
   whose temper must be
         curbed with bit and
         bridle,
   else it will not stay near
         you.  Psalm 32:9

when i snort
      with impatience,
   stomping my feet
   and banging around
      the stall of your
           heart,
rest your hand
upon me, calming
      my spirit with
   the taste of your
            grace, gentling
me with hope's
      caress.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 10, 2017

day 69

O how abundant is your
         goodness     Psalm 31:19a

the flower peeking
      through the snow;
the warm sun
      swimming across
      the clear sky;
the gentle breezes
      which scatter leaves;
friends who love us
      no matter, and
   strangers who smile
      unexpectedly,
yet

we grumble at
our
      empty
lives.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 09, 2017

day 68

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.  You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:9-10

when we stock
      more food than
      we will ever
                   eat
   before it goes bad,
rather than sharing
with the hungry,
   we glean what little
                  hope
remains for others,
leaving their hearts as
         empty
as their stomachs.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
    

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

day 67

And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters;"  Mark 14:27a

when we
         maroon
   folks on poverty's isle;
when we
         play hooky
   from learning
   the hopes of little children;
when we
         run away
   rather than racing
   to lift up those
   cast aside by power;
when we
         slack off
   from the simple
   task of faithfulness,
you shake your
      head (but
still keep offering
another chance)

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

day 66

So the disciples set out and went into the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.  Mark 14:16

if we only trusted,
we could find your
promised gifts
to enable us
   to turn rusted out
   factories into
      training programs;
   to transform empty
   shopping malls into
      hospitals;
   to reimagine closed
   schools as
      memory care centers;
and we could lead
folks (including us)
out of bondage to
            despair.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 06, 2017

day 65

"But be alert; I have already told you everything."  Mark 13:23

we keep wanting
      to leap ahead
   in the story to
      find out how it
   will end, forgetting
that the final Word
      was written
long before
   'in the beginning'
was penned.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 05, 2017

day 64

When you walk, they will
         lead you;
   when you lie down, they
         watch over you;
   and when you awake,
         they will talk with
         you.  Proverbs 6:22

with each step, may
      i place my foot
      in the imprint left
      by compassion
   following it to care
         for others;
in the silent hours of
the night, may
      i curl up
      in hope's
   lap;
in the morning, may
      wonder and joy
   leap into my bed
         yelling, 'get up,
   sleepyhead! it's a new
day!'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 04, 2017

day 63

But seeing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why are you putting me to the test?"  Mark 12:15b

as long as
         we
   keep putting
         you
   to the test,
         we
can keep failing
         you,
   and not have
   to answer any
of
         your
(more difficult)
   questions

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 03, 2017

day 62

Again they came to Jerusalem.  Mark 11:27

however
many times it takes,
      you will
   continue to
come into our
      fears, our
   worries, our
      resistance, until
we finally see
you for who you
are,
      the One
   we need
again and
again

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 02, 2017

day 61

To you, O LORD, I call;
   my rock, do not refuse to
         hear me,
for if you are silent to me,
   I shall be like those who go
         down to the Pit.  Psalm 28:1

just a
         word:
   of grace,
         or hope;
   maybe love
         or even
      reprimand,
can keep me
         from
falling into that
      mess
where I can
never find my
   way out (on
my own)

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

day 60

a heart that devises wicked
         plans,
   feet that hurry to run to
         evil, Proverbs 6:18

we hope
you will replace the
   grudge positioning system
lodged in our
      hearts which
   recalculates us until
   we turn down
          the wrong roads
with your grace
      so
   we can finally
   find our way
back to you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

day 59

If my father and mother
         forsake me,
   the LORD will take me up.  Psalm 27:10

when folks padlock
      their hearts so
      i can't get in;
when the world
packs my belongings,
   leaving the suitcase
   out on the front
      porch when i
      arrive home from
   life;
when friends
continually change
their mobile #s,
      so i can't
      reach them,
            you
gather me
in your arms,
   enveloping me
   in grace.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, February 27, 2017

day 58

But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.  Mark 9:34

in our (social)
media uproar over
   the latest awards
              fiasco,
   the foolish words
      of vain people,
   the platinumest
      singer around, our
silence
   concerning the most
vulnerable
   in our midst is
deafening.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

day 57

So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.  Mark 9:10

we spend so
much time
   theologizing,
   analyzing,
   seminarizing,
   proclamizing,
this rising conundrum,
that folks looking for
      hope,
   life,
      grace, and
   joy
turn somewhere
          else.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, February 25, 2017

day 56

Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"  Mark 8:21

when we think
the left-over pieces
      of hope are not
      worth saving;
when we step
over the homeless
      on our way
      to the seminar
      on discipleship,
when we spend more time
on retweeting and reposting,
      than on restoring
      the injustices of others,
we show we still
don't have a clue
about the kingdom.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
     

Friday, February 24, 2017

day 55

"I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat."  Mark 8:2

on the third
         day,
   roll way the stone
   from the tomb
      where we have
      interred our
            compassion,
   so it may be
         resurrected
to offer hope
to those around
      us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 23, 2017

day 54

He leads the humble in what
         is right,
   and teaches the humble his
         way.  Psalm 25:9

when we long
for that ticker-tape
         parade,
   riding through the
   self-congratulatory
            confetti
      showered on us
      for all we have,
set us on
that cracked sidewalk
   so we can follow
             you
      to serve those
who need everything.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

day 53

So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron.  He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"  Exodus 32:3-4

taking the
   shouts of anger,
   alternative facts of
         fear,
   whispers of woe
from our ears, we
      melt them down
      into those gods
we would rather
worship than
   you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

day 52

He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;  Mark 6:8

   with
your love
   which can overcome
        hate;
your hope
   which can fill
        despair's emptiness;
your grace
   which can change
        all lives (even
                      ours);
your peace
   which can build
        bridges to others,

we have all we
      need
to go out into the world
every day.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, February 20, 2017

day 51

Such is the company of those
         who seek him,
   who seek the face of the
         God of Jacob.  Psalm 24:6

in the little kids
who read to
      the cats and dogs
      at the no-kill shelter;
in the teenagers
gathering up blankets
         for those who
   sleep on the streets;
in the retirees
who travel the country
   as Mr. and Mrs. Claus
   to visit children in hospitals;
in all who do more
unnoticed
      than all the attention
      seekers ever accomplish,
we discover the
   company
we should keep.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 19, 2017

day 50

You prepare a table before
         me
   in the presence of my
         enemies;  Psalm 23:5:a

in the midst of
      those who trouble
               us, may
   we lay out a
         picnic,
   so in the breaking
      of the bread,
hearts might be
         mended,
   old slights brushed
   away with the
      crumbs,
and bridges built
   across the blanket
   spread across grace's
          lawn.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, February 18, 2017

day 49

He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how."  Mark 4:26-27

the further we
   are willing to
   journey with
                     faith,
      holding fast to
      her hands, sharing
      each meal, and
         a sleeping bag
         at night, the
closer we come
to that place
   which awaits
us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, February 17, 2017

day 48

If you take your neighbor's cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbor's only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep?  And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.  Exodus 22:26-27

compassion:

the coat gathering
dust in the closet,
      warming a refugee;
the staples sitting
on the pantry shelf
for the meal no longer
on the menu,
      feeding folks at a shelter;
the arm which could
push away the bullied teenager,
      reaching out to draw
      him into comfort;
the ear tuned to the
latest reality show,
      listening to the
      grief of a widow.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 16, 2017

day 47

The people all answered as one: "Everything that the LORD has spoken we will do."  Exodus 19:8a

of course,
      we will do
everything*
   you ask of us!

*except for
   welcoming the outsider,
   lifting up the fallen,
   caring for the most vulnerable,
   loving our enemies,
   forgiving over and over,
   sharing from our abundance,
and other ridiculous ideas
we know you haven't
really thought through.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

day 46

O my God, I cry by day, but
         you do not answer;
   and by night, but find no
         rest.  Psalm 22:2

in the little girl
at the bus stop
   who smiles, 'hello!';
in the barista
who hands us a
   cuppa, winking,
      'it's on the house';
in the neighbor
who knocks on
the door after
   dinner, offering,
   'how about a piece
         of cake?';
in the grandchild
falling asleep in
   our arms, singing,
      'i love you'

you speak,
                but
are we listening?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

day 45

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  Matthew 28:1

on the second day,
         we could
   teach magic tricks
      to a bunch of
      wide-eyed kids;
   sing love songs
      to the residents
      in a memory unit;
   give a lift
      to the travelers
      by the side of
            society, or
just put our feet up
and relax, as if
   the stone has been
   rolled back to
         silence the
good news.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, February 13, 2017

day 44

Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, "Truly this man was God's Son!"   Matthew 27:54

though it is
   no angel of the
            Lord,
      but an officer
         of the empire;
   no heavenly host,
      but a band of
      seasoned, battle-scarred,
         cynical conscripts,
the song is the
             same
at the finish as well
as the beginning of
   the story:

God is here!

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 12, 2017

day 43

Then he asked, "Why, what evil has he done?"  But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!"  Matthew 27:23

we take great umbrage
   at the seasick little girl
         in a refugee boat;
      the woman in front
         of us using food stamps;
      the family struggling
         to learn the language
         of their new home, but
remain silent whenever
   injustice roars,
      lies prowl our streets,
   hate promotes a seminar,
      anger offers a free meal to all.

Lord, have mercy.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, February 11, 2017

day 42

The LORD answer you in the
         day of trouble!
   The name of the God of
         Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from

         the sanctuary,
   and give you support from
         Zion.
May he remember all your

         offerings,
   and regard with favor your
         burnt sacrifices.   Psalm 20:1-3

may God answer you
   with those who long
      to learn your name;
   with cities, neighborhoods,
      strangers offering you
      a safe welcome;
   with those who
   remember
      you are as gifted
      as they;
with those who
honor the sacrifices
      you have made
      on your journey.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, February 10, 2017

day 41

More to be desired are they
         than gold,
   even much fine gold;  Psalm 19:10a

i could keep
      grace,
   peace,
         hope,
      joy
stuffed deep in
my pockets, or
      offer them
to everyone who
stands by the side
         of life, holding
   a heart-drawn sign
reading,
      'can you help?'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 09, 2017

day 40

Do not enter the path of the
         wicked,
   and do not walk in the way
         of evildoers.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
   turn away from it and pass
         on.  Proverbs 4:14-15

rather than taking
   the expressway
   to foolishness, may
your grace positioning system
      turn us down
      the back roads
      of hope;
instead of slinking down
the cracked pavement
   of temptation, may
we play hopscotch
on the sidewalks of
the kingdom.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

day 39

The priest of Midian had seven daughters.  They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to feed their father's flock.  But some shepherds came and drove them away.  Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.  Exodus 2:16-17

we could sit
      by the side
      of society, watching
   and twittering about
   all those who are
         shoved aside,
         ridiculed,
         walled out,
      or
   we can stand up
   to the bullies,
welcoming everyone
to the well of
justice.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

day 38

"Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we say you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?'"  Matthew 25:44

should i
   offer a cup of water
   to those who parch
         the souls of the needy;
   set a place
   at the table for
      all who would build
      walls to limit outsiders;
   drop off a casserole
      to those locked
      in fear's cells;
   provide a lift to
   the doctor's office
      for the legislator
      who voted against
      affordable care for all;
   give my coat
      to the shivering
      pro-life marcher,
or
         just keep butting
         my head against
         my self-righteousness?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

  

Monday, February 06, 2017

day 37

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."  Matthew 24:35

when fear threatens
to blow it away,
      you whisper, and
   hope digs in its heels;
when bitterness would
throw it in a bin,
      you sing, and
   love is recycled
   in little children;
when haters would
have their way,
      you protest, and
   justice welcomes outsiders
   into their new homes.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, February 05, 2017

day 36

The beginning of wisdom is
         this: Get wisdom,
   and whatever else you get,
         get insight.  Proverbs 4:7

in a time of
      alt-facts,
   and news cranked
   out be counterfeiters, may
we discover
wisdom
      in the weakness
      to serve others;
understanding
      in the laughter
      of children on
      a playground;
insight
      in the innate
      compassion of
   the overlooked.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman  

Saturday, February 04, 2017

day 35

"But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students."  Matthew 23:8

we could put
more letters after
         our names,
   or teach a
   child to read;
we could build
a wall to hold our
         awards and diplomas,
   or construct a
   bridge of hope;
we could sew
bars on our
         robes,
   or set free
   the oppressed;
we could read
         more books,
   or open our hearts
   to you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman        

Friday, February 03, 2017

day 34

let me be weighed in a just
         balance,
   and let God know my
         integrity!--  Job 31:6

our
   stress, fears, foolish
   choices, nightmares
         are slowly piled on
      and we slowly begin
      to sink deeper,
                        then
you place kilograce
after kilograce in
the weighing pan
until we are tipped
      towards your
love.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

  
  

Thursday, February 02, 2017

day 33

Miners put an end to
         darkness,
   and search out to the
         farthest bound
   the ore in gloom and deep
         darkness.
They open shafts in a valley
         away from human
         habitation;
   they are forgotten by
         travelers,
   they sway suspended,
         remote from people.  Job 28:3-4

may we never forget
   those who clean up
   after us as we
            travel;
   the farmers and migrants
      in the shadows
      before dawn,
      harvesting the food
            we take for granted;
   the utility workers
         suspended above
         fallen trees and
         downed wires to restore
      our power;
   the colliers
         who burrow into
         deep, cold shafts
      so we might keep
   warm.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

day 32

You have given no water to
         the weary to drink,
   and you have withheld
         bread from the hungry.  Job 22:7

when we could
   hand the parched
   a cup of grace,
      we offer them
      disappointment's dust;
when we could
      prepare a meal for
      those who hunger
      for acceptance, we
   padlock the pantry,
   pocketing the key
         as we walk
      away.

have mercy, Lord . . .

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

day 31

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?"  Matthew 21:10

this is the interpreter
      who supported your
      children in war zones;
this is the doctor
      who could bring
      healing to many;
this is the child
      longing to run
      into her mother's arms;
this is the refugee
      who brings nothing
      but hope in his heart;

help us to lay down
our turmoiling fears
   and welcome them.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 30, 2017

day 30

Let them not trust in
         emptiness, deceiving
         themselves;
   for emptiness will be their
         recompense.  Job 15:31

when we
   gorge ourselves
         on pleasant
         platitudes;
   stuff politician's
         hollow words
         down our throats;
   imbibe bottle after
         bottle of
         fragrant whines,
is it any wonder
we feel so
      empty
all the time?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 29, 2017

day 29

I call upon you, for you will
         answer me, O God;
   incline your ear to me,
         hear my words.  Psalm 17:6

when others act
      as if they cannot
   understand my shouts,
         you hear my
         sore-throated whispers;
when my friends(!)
      turn their hearts
      away from me, you
   put your ear
   right next
         to my lips
      to cradle every
ache.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 28, 2017

day 28

Jesus said to him, If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."  Matthew 19:21

i hold tight
to all my resources, just
   waiting for the right moment,
                                    person,
                                    effort
      to share, and
so remain a
saint of indecision,
   shuffling my feet
   away from
you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 27, 2017

day 27

So the poor have hope,
   and injustice shuts its
         mouth.  Job 5:16

may hope be
      not a long stare
      through the poor,
   but a welcome
   to our tables;
      nor a rueful grin
      as we mime
      empty pockets,
   but a bear hug
   of joy.

may injustice's tantalizing
seductive whispers of
      'they must wait their turn'
   be silenced by
   the singing of 'we
          shall overcome.'

(c) 2017  Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 26, 2017

day 26

Protect me, O God, for in
         you I take refuge.  Psalm 16:1

may we be
   the umbrella
      for those
      showered by hate;
   the cradling lap
      for children who
      tremble in the night;
   the heart hollowed by grief
      so we can embrace
      all who have lost everything;
even
as you are all
         this (and more)
   for us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

day 25

O LORD, who may abide in
         your tent?
   Who may dwell on your
         holy hill?
 Those who walk blamelessly,

         and do what is right,
   and speak the truth from
         their heart;  Psalm 15:1-2

except for those
detours down
      apathy's alley,
   surely our footsteps
   are firm;
apart from wanting
things done our way
(only on the rarest
      of occasions!)
   surely we are
   on the side of righteousness;
other than those
daggers we hurl
from our hearts
      at others,
   surely we are
   people of veracity.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

day 24

Do not let loyalty and
         faithfulness forsake
         you;
   bind them around your
         neck,
   write them on the tablet of
         your heart.  Proverbs 3:3

from the jewelry box
on top of the bureau,
      you take the necklace
      crafted long ago by Spirit
      when she was young,
   with beads of hope strung
   on the strands of kinship,
and placing it
around our necks, you
   whisper, 'you'll
   always have my heart.'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 23, 2017

day 23

You would confound the
         plans of the poor,
   but the LORD is their
         refuge.  Psalm 14:6

we hold hoops
      for the poor
      to jump through,
   while you make
   snow angels with them;
we write regulations
      enabling the hungry
      to receive our leftovers,
   while you take them
   out for dinner;
we look down our noses
      at those standing on corners
      with hand-scrawled appeals,
   and you offer them
   a lift to your heart.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 22, 2017

day 22

With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep.  So he went into a private room and wept there.  Genesis 43:30

noticing the scarfed
   teenager sitting alone
   on the bus;
listening to the
   immigrant child
   translating for his
           parents;
comforting those
   who find themselves
   outsiders looking in,
we meet our family,
      and weep
for our loss in
not knowing them
all our lives.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 21, 2017

day 21

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"  Matthew 14:31

when we wonder
if the new captain even
   knows the bow
   from the stern;
when we worry
that justice
   will be jettisoned
   over the side;
when we fear
that the vulnerable
   will be left behind,
may the winds of faith
continue to refresh us,
   so we may journey
   with you until we reach
the shores of compassion,
      inclusion,
      peace, and
      hope.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
  

Friday, January 20, 2017

day 20

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. Matthew 14:14

when
we step over
the homeless on our way
      to buy another
      $5 coffee;
we give our
cast-offs to the
      shivering kids instead
      of a new coat;
we throw out
enough food to
      feed another
   family,
we have left our
compassion
back in the boat
once again.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 19, 2017

day 19

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."  Matthew 13:44

we could mend
      crumbling and
      hungering-for-hope
                   neighborhoods,
   but since we think
   no one of value resides
         in such places, we
spend the money
on ourselves
                    (again)

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

day 18

They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer."  Genesis 37:14

they come with
dreams cradled in their
                   hopes:
   that children can be lifted
         out of poverty;
   that peace could emerge
         from the ashes of war;
   that people just might
         learn how to love each other,
and
we toss them and their dreams
in the empty bin, as
      we watch reality shows
      hosted by con artists
   eager to fill our hollow souls
   with even more emptiness.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

day 17

Why, O LORD, do you stand
         far off?
   Why do you hide yourself
         in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked
         persecute the poor --
   let them be caught in the
         schemes they have
         devised.  Psalm 10:1-2

when we could stand
next to others,
         holding their hearts,
   why do we edge
   away from the bullied?
when we could confront
those who would take away
      services to the poor,
   why do we hide behind
   our walls of
         good intentions?

kyrie elieson

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 16, 2017

day 16

Then you will understand
         righteousness and
         and justice
   and equity, every good
         path;  Proverbs 2:9

when we hunger
   to do the harder right
      than the easier
                    expediency;
when our thirst
   for justice will
   not be quenched by
         sugary platitudes;
when fairness breaks out
   in the corridors of
                   power and
          not just on
          playgrounds,
we will have found your way.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 15, 2017

day 15

Be gracious to me, O LORD.
   See what I suffer from
         those who hate me;  Psalm 9:13a

Lord, be gracious
to those who have suffered
from my hurtful words,
        my cavalier arrogance,
        my thoughtless disdain,
        my (dare I admit) hate;
especially when i could have
   lifted them up with
      grace
            comfort
         hope
      love
instead.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 14, 2017

day 14

"But to what will I compare this generation?  It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,"  Matthew 11:16

the generation which
      balkanizes the playground
      so everyone knows
      their place and
   never crosses the line,
or the one which
      welcomes and teaches
      games to outsiders
   and learns new ones
   from them . . .

which shall we be?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 13, 2017

day 13

Jesus answered them: "Go and tell John what you hear and see:"  Matthew 11:4

when we see immigrants
      welcomed with joy
   or
injustice brought
      to its knees;
when we listen to
      children speak out
      against bullies,
   or
the rough sleeper invite
      others to share a meal,
how
can we not run
to share this good news?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 12, 2017

day 12

"So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrow."  Matthew 10:31

perhaps
the most vulnerable
in our midst
would be less fearful
                       of us, if
we offered them
the same love,
         compassion,
               care
we shower on our
dogs, cats, pet birds.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

day 11

for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well."  Matthew 9:21

with a hat and gloves,
   we can warm
   the rough sleeper;
with a smile,
   we can ease
   the child's fears;
with a word,
   we can cradle
   the senior's loneliness;
and bring healing
to our selfish
      apathy.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

day 10

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.  So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac."  Genesis 21:9-10

forgive us when
we, who are so
      graced by you,
   show such bad
   manners towards
those around us
who are struggling,
      different,
   a seeming threat.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 09, 2017

day 9

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean."  Matthew 8:1-2

instead of turning
our backs,
we could be the
   hope,
   healing,
   forgiveness,
   grace
others need in their lives,

if we choose.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 08, 2017

day 8

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.  He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.  Genesis 18:1-2

may we be
      as eager to
   embrace the strangers
   you send to us, as
we are in welcoming
our best friends
      into our hearts.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman