Friday, June 30, 2017

day 181

And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace,  Acts 20:32a

when the twitter
      bombs continue
      to fall,
when anger's waves
      crash on our
      souls' shores,
when bitterness
      is offered as
      a balm to our hearts,
cradle us with
grace
and draw us closer
to you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 29, 2017

day 180

But Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak."  1 Kings 22:14

may
we not turn
      your passion
      for peace into
   platitudes,
      your compassion
      for the vulnerable into
   clich├ęs,
      your grace into
   generalities,
      your justice into
   fables.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

day 179

One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent;"  Acts 18:9

we have all sorts
      of opinions
   we proclaim loudly
      about the weather,
            politics, sports,
         and religion, but
when it comes to
injustice
   poverty
prejudice
      inclusion,
we suddenly develop
laryngitis.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

day 178

He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.  1 Kings 19:11-12

in the utter quiet
of a candle flickering
      on a winter's night;
in the gentle rocking
   of a cradle
   in a nursery;
in the winds
of justice breaking
         oppression
      into dust, you
pass by
        us
   so we can
   notice and
follow.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 26, 2017

day 177

He made streams come out
         of the rock,
   and cause waters to flow
         down like rivers.  Psalm 78:16

strike our
hard-as-flint
         hearts, so
   grace may flow
   into the deserts
      burnished by cynicism;
transform the
bitterness pooling
      in our souls
   into streams
   of hope flowing
to the sea.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 25, 2017

day 176

The LORD tears down the
         house of the proud,
   but maintains the widow's
         boundaries.  Proverbs 15:25

early each morning,
      you drive down
      the street, stopping
   and tossing the scraps
   from our over-built lives
      in the back of
      your rusty pickup,
taking them with you
as you join the Carpenter
   in rebuilding the hope
   of the forgotten.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 24, 2017

day 175

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."  Acts 16:9

the family members
      we haven't spoken
      to in years;
the residents of
      the group home
      down the street;
the transgender kids
      in the schools
      around us;
the opposition party
      folks living
      next door;
the immigrants
      in line with us
      at the stores;
so many
   Macedonias,
so little time,
so much resistance
      to crossing
over.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 23, 2017

day 174

And I say, "It is my grief
   that the right hand of the
         Most High has
         changed."  Psalm 79:10

when we expect
         a whip, but
   you hold a whiffle ball;
when we long
      for a sword, only
   to see you offering
   a sandwich;
when we think
         you should wield
         an iron fist, but
   are caressed by
   a hand callused
      from building shelters,
may we laugh
with joy, not
         shed tears
         of regret.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 22, 2017

day 173

"Has God forgotten to be
         gracious?
   Has he in anger shut up
         his compassion?"  Psalm 77:9

in our anger
      towards others, we
   forget about
            grace,
   trying to lock
   its compassion,
      hope,
             joy
   deep in the
   recesses of our
         hearts,
where
we have closeted
              God.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

day 172

Sheol and Abaddon lie
         open before the LORD,
   how much more human
         hearts!  Proverbs 15:11

we pile
all the brush, branches,
         and leaves we can
         to cover over
   the emptiness in
   our hearts, but you
still jump
in feet first
      to fill us with
   you.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

day 171

From the heavens you
         uttered judgment;  Psalm 76:8a

you enunciated
         judgment, but
   it arrived in
   the cry of a
      baby born
      into poverty, so
we might be
set free from
   sin's injustice
   and death's
         onerous
         stillness.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 19, 2017

day 170

'Look, you scoffers!
   Be amazed and perish,
for in your days I am doing a
         work,
   a work that you will never
         believe, even if
         someone tells you.' "  Acts 13:41

we mock those
who
      deliver meals
      to the home bound;
   tutor homeless
   children;
      advocate for
      health care for
      the most vulnerable;
   defend the rights
   of all people, never
noticing it is
you

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 18, 2017

day 169

But the woman whose son was alive said to the king - because compassion for her son burned within her - "Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!"  The other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it."  1 Kings 3:26

when leaders
[in their wisdom]
         push to take
         away all that
   might give children
   in poverty,
       on the streets,
          living in war zones,
   a chance at life, will we
cry out
      'have mercy'
   or
'cut away'?

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman
      

Saturday, June 17, 2017

day 168

A gentle tongue is a tree of
         life,
   but perverseness in it
         breaks the spirit.  Proverbs 15:4

when i
open my mouth
          today, may
i plant seeds
            of
   hope,
      wonder,
welcome,
      grace.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 16, 2017

day 167

And he said to them, "You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean."  Acts 10:28

may those sticks
we could use to
      smack opponents
   be used to build
   shelter for the homeless;
may those stones
we could use to
      wall off outsiders
   be used for a
   bridge across anger's abyss;
may those words
of condemnation and ridicule
we could hurl
      at all who offend us
   be turned into
   love songs.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 15, 2017

day 166

But the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will by them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing."  2 Samuel 24:24

may
   our compassion
   cost us our
         apathy;
   our love
   cost us our
         hate;
   our hope
   cost us our
         bitterness . . .
may every gift
we can offer
   cost us our
         desire to hoard.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

day 165

Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  Acts 9:3

personally,
      we hope our
            conversion
   is more
   like a night light
      keeping us from
      stubbing our toes
      in the shadows, not
a bright light
knocking us off
   our ass(umptions)

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

day 164

Those who oppress the poor
         insult their maker;
   but those who are kind to
         the needy honor him.  Proverbs 14:31

so, it is actually
         you
we think should
pull yourself up
   by your bootstraps,
we mock for using
   food stamps,
we call a
   welfare cheat?
!!!

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 12, 2017

day 163

For I was envious of the
         arrogant;
   I saw the prosperity of the
         wicked.  Psalm 73:3

may our mentors be
   the kids who
   spend their lunch
   money on fixings
         for meals for
         rough sleepers;
   teenagers who
   mow lawns and
   babysit to
      help pay for
      a mate's chemo;
   those whose humility
   is simply who
            they are, not
      a political expediency.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 11, 2017

day 162

May he judge your people
         with righteousness,
   and your poor with justice.  Psalm 72:2

in our marathon
to judge others
      based on our
      worries,
         doubts, and
         misconceptions,
may we be
refreshed with
the water of grace
   you offer to us
   as we race by, so
we can cross
the finish line
         hand in hand
   with those we
   discover are
our sisters and brothers
in hope.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 10, 2017

day 161

The poor are disliked even
         by their neighbors,
   but the rich have many
         friends.
Those who despise their
         neighbors are sinners,
   but happy are those who
         are kind to the poor.  Proverbs 14:20-21

as we deepen
         in kindness
   may we discover
   the deep and
         abiding
friendship
   of those folks
             others believe
are of no value
   to themselves
   or
   anyone else.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 09, 2017

day 160

So even to old age and gray
         hairs,
   O God, do not forsake me,  Psalm 71:18

despite the
stress highlights
      dancing across
      my head,
   the canyons worry
   has carved in
      my visage,
   the creaking
   of my joints
      with every move,
you cradle me
in your arms, whispering,
   'my sweet baboo,
   my beloved,
   my joy.'

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 08, 2017

day 159

But I will hope continually,
   and will praise you yet
         more and more.  Psalm 71:14

when i am
rocking furiously
      on the porch,
   in a grumble
   over all that
      has come my way,
take me by
hand and sit me
      beside you at
      the scarred piano
   teaching me hope's
   chopsticks, so
we can play
as one.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

day 158

In you, O LORD, I take
         refuge;  Psalm 71:1a

may we become
      a shelter
         for those whose
         grief keeps them awake, 
      a kitchen
         for those who
         hunger for hope,
      a hospice
         for those dying
         of loneliness,
      a panic room
         for those bullied
         by platitudes.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

day 157

But I am poor and needy;
   hasten to me, O God!  Psalm 70:5a

when we would
hemandhaw
      with our reasons,
   using our busyness,
             our bum knees,
             our bare cupboards
   to put off caring,
double dare us
      to beat you
   in a sprint
to help the
            vulnerable.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 05, 2017

day 156

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.    Acts 2:44-45

it is as simple
as bringing all
      our accumulated
      stuff for a yard
   sale (letting folks
      take all they can
      put in a bag for $1
      the last hour), and
using the funds
to feed the hungry,
   offer shelter to the homeless,
and a community to the
            lonely . . .

yet
it seems so
uncommon.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 04, 2017

day 155

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.  Acts 2:2-4

if we are not
willing to let
      you take our breath
   away, Spirit, and fill
      us with your passion
   for the broken,
         the ignored,
         the unloved,
         the other, perhaps
we should just
replace the windows
of our hearts,
   install a new sprinkler
   system in our souls,
and keep mumbling
the same old, same old
we have done for
            centuries.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 03, 2017

day 154

With your faithful help
         rescue me
   from sinking in the mire;  Psalm 69:13c-14a

when the world
dares me
      to jump feet
      first into fear's
   quicksand, send
Spirit with the
blueprints for
      building a
      bridge to your
hope.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 02, 2017

day 153

He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep."  John 21:17

when we think
the sheep
      never stop
      showing up,
   always forget to
   say 'thank you,'
      and that we
      don't have enough
      to share, remind us
that before you
ever challenged us
      with this simple
                     task, you
fed us with
all we need
to do the same.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 01, 2017

day 152

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20:18

in the middle
of the muddle
      of our messes,
   may we see you
   coming behind,
         broom and pan
         in hand, cleaning
up
   after us, until
we start helping
others whose lives
      are littered
      behind them,
letting them in
on the secret of
   faithfulness.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman