Thursday, January 31, 2019


“Even these may forget you,
   yet I will not forget you.”  Isaiah 49:15b

though friends ignore
our calls, you
always answer;
though emails are never
returned, you always
tell us we are loved;
though others forget our faces,
you carry our pictures
in your purse.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


“and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

of course,
if i ignore the lonely neighbor,
mock the most vulnerable,
walk past the homeless,
idolize the cruelmongers,
cash that check marked ‘privilege,’
i shouldn’t be surprised
people think i evicted
Jesus from the premises.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


while for you
i wait, O Lord, in
the neighbor who says hello
(no matter that i ignore him),
the kids who share
the lunch table at school
(even when i talk about
them behind their backs),
the boss who mentors me
(despite my knowing more
about everything than she),
remind me i do not have to be

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 25, 2019


“He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?’”  Mark 4:40

(after all these years)
we are still afraid,
and so, keep trying to
build better boats,
gain control of creation,
rely more on others, as
we simply let faith
sink to the bottom
of Chickenhearted Sea.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 24, 2019

love songs

“I will sing and make melody to the LORD.”  Psalm 27:6c

so busy
filling your ears with
my choruses of carping,
my grocery list of greed,
my anger-laced worries,
i have completely
forgotten to sing
love songs to you.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,” Ephesians 5:1

we find it easier
to do celebrations
in the end zone,
   then pick up the
   trash after a game;
to dress just like
our fashion icon,
   then sort clothes
   for giving to the homeless;
to parrot the bitterness
of our favorite politician,
   then to whisper
   grace to the forgotten;
to be anyone else,
but your child.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

how easily we
use you, Lord,
to justify
   words dripping with bitterness,
   bile-filled anger,
   judgments of others,
since this is obviously
what folk need most
these days, as
you put your head
in your grace-filled hands
and weep.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 20, 2019

letting go

“Do not remember the former
   or consider the things of old.”  Isaiah 43:18

we spend so much
time wandering
   the maze of our past
and replaying
   the words covered in dust,
   the hurts scabbed with grudges,
   the people who cling
      so stubbornly
      to our souls, we
cannot turn and see
the gate marked ‘future’
standing wide open,
just for us.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 19, 2019


“I am God, and also henceforth I
         am He;
   there is no one who can
         deliver from my hand;
   I work and who can hinder it?”  Isaiah 43:13

those walls we think
will keep out hope
   will crumble;
those words of hate
we use to bully others
   will turn to dust;
those fears we wrap
tight around us
   will unravel;
those people we follow
because they play
to the worst in us
   will trip and fall;
for we are we,
while you are you.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 18, 2019


“We shall be satisfied with the
         goodness of your house,
   your holy temple.”  Psalm 65:4b

the hymns drag,
   the praise band is so loud;
the preacher is high church,
   the youth minister can’t control the kids;
the time of the service is wrong,
   the sermons last forever . . .
we keep so busy
moving the furniture around
we never notice
how we scratch up
that goodness which
is the flooring of
your house.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 17, 2019


“When the poor and needy seek
   and there is none,
   and their tongue is parched
         with thirst,
I the LORD, will answer them.
   I the God of Israel will not
         forsake them.”  Isaiah 41:17

may your answer be
the water bill
we pay for a neighbor;
the lead we remove
from drinking fountains
in our schools;
the wells we dig
in barren lands;
the glass of water
we hold to the lips
of a friend in hospice care.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

early morning

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35

how quickly we can
find the prayers when
our team needs
to score, or
we have to find
a parking space, or
they are wheeling
us to surgery,
in the silence,
in the loneliness,
in the shadows of life,
in the early morning’s doubts,
we cannot seem
to put two words together . . .

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


“To whom then will you compare
   or who is my equal? Says the
         Holy One.”  Isaiah 40:25

we compare
you to the mighty,
but it is your weakness
that empowers you;
we set you side by side
with the wealthiest among us,
but it is your poverty
which gives you compassion;
we weigh you up with
the voices which invite us
to angry and bitter lives,
but it is your whispered Word
which calls us home with grace.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 14, 2019

every day

“Every day I will bless you,
   and praise your name forever
        and ever.”  Psalm 5:2

on winter-brittle mornings,
   i will sing of that love
   which melts frozen hearts;
in heat-drenched afternoons,
   i will tell of that grace
   which cools fevered fears;
on evenings when winds snap branches,
   i will remind little children
   of your heart which shelters them;
when 3 a.m. nightmares shatter my sleep,
   i will whisper your name
   over and over, until
   i fall asleep in your arms.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 13, 2019

just a drop

we search for that deep,
caverned pool we can explore;
or the tub filled with steamy
water where we can luxuriate
our worries away;
or that flowing stream
we can float on forever;
but sometimes,
just a drop of
is all we need.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 12, 2019

canticle 120

you listen to me, Lord,
even when my words
echo my broken heart;
help me to turn a deaf ear
to those whose tongues
drip with derision and whose
lives are built on lies.

for you will take their hollow words
and fill them with grace;
you will pierce their pride-swollen
souls and deflate them with your love.

[remind me that i am but a pilgrim
wandering through despair’s land,
spending but a short time in
anger’s air bnb!]

i spend so much time among those
who think justice is nothing but a joke;
i try to be a voice for non-violence,
but every time i open my mouth
they try to make me eat my words.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 11, 2019


“I know your works.  Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”  Revelation 3:8a

if we all put
our shoulders to it,
we can push shut
the open door of your heart,
latching it with our fears
so those who scare us
are not allowed to enter;


© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 10, 2019


“I held out my hands all day
   to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is
         not good,
   following their own
         devices.”  Isaiah 65:2

since we know better,
than you ever will,
we continually slap
your hands away until,
at the very end of the path
that leads to nothingness,
we reach out and grab
tight to the only thing
that can keep us from
stepping into the abyss,
your heart held out to us,
as it always has been.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 09, 2019


you came down to earth, God,
so grace might hold our hands,
we might look love in the face,
hope could be whispered in our hearts,
and wonder unfold around us;

you walked the dusty roads
of despair at our side;
you called out injustice
as the cruel bully it is;
you embraced all those
the rest of us fear to touch;

keep us down to earth, Spirit,
caring more about the broken
than admiring the breakers;
paying more attention to the vulnerable
than listening to the authoritarian;
filling in poverty’s potholes
rather than building walls.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 08, 2019


“The LORD saw it, and it
         displeased him
   that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
   and was appalled that there
         was no one to intervene;” Isaiah 59:15b-16a

when no one will speak,
   let us shout;
when no one will act,
   let us step forward;
when no one else cares,
   let us share compassion;
when no one does justice,
   let us be those some ones
   who will
without ever letting up.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 07, 2019


“’Come,’ my heart says, seek his face!’
Your face, LORD, do I seek.  Psalm 27:6

in the lover’s face
i know better than my own;
in the smiling eyes
of the little kid
at the bus stop;
in the gentle look
of the stranger passing
on the sidewalk;
in the affirmation
of the teacher
handing back a test,
we find you.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 06, 2019


“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”  Matthew 12:12

ignoring the exit
ramp to Another Road,
we prefer to remain stuck
in the congestion caused
by hate, worry, bitterness,
fear, despair, violence,
turning up the volume
on the radio so we can
hear more clearly the
angry and bullying voices.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 05, 2019


may we be
more healers
than hurters;
more carers
than damagers;
more pullers up
than knocking down;
more letting others go first
than pushing our way to the front;
more you
than us,

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 04, 2019


we search for that
mighty, blazing star
to lead us out
of the shadows, while
you are that overlooked
night light that slowly
illumines every corner of
              life, so
we can find our way
without stubbing our

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 03, 2019


freshly minted, grace
crept through the curtains
with the sun motes;
grace stirred the porridge,
buttered the toast,
poured the tea,
handed me the paper;
grace warmed the bath,
handed me a towel,
squeezed the toothpaste;
grace tied my shoes,
brushed off my coat,
sent me out in the day
to be grace for others,
freshly minted.
© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

January 2nd

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

rather than remaining
a good luck rock
we carry in our pockets,
let us toss faith
into the world, letting
it ripple throughout
those around us.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


this year,
may we see the grace
   and share it;
hear the joy
   and give it away;
embrace the hope
   and release it
   to run to another;
feel the love
   and pass it on;
welcome the peace,
   and let it heal
   those around us.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman