Sunday, June 30, 2019

ein . . .

“God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

a king size bed
is our God, a haven
of warmth when folks
give us the cold shoulder,
a library where we can
read under the covers
with a flashlight, a
gathering place for
all your children when
we are frightened, alone,
and heartbroken

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 29, 2019


“You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.”  Psalm 56:8

just when it seems
that bitterness is the
beverage of choice, you
reach out and change it
into the sweet wine
of wonder and peace, just
as you did at

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 28, 2019

bottomed out

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.”  Psalm 130:1

when i bottom out
in life, and my pain
echoes off the walls
dripping with my tears,
you lie down at the abyss,
listening until you locate
me in the shadows, then
stretch out your hand
to lift me into the light
of your grace and hope

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 27, 2019

among us

“But I am among you as one who serves.”  Luke 22:27c

you are
the two kids out
riding their bikes
this morning, who
paused to drag the
cardboard boxes off the street,
after they fell out of
the back of the truck,
whose driver was too busy
yakking on his mobile
to pay any attention

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12

in the teenagers
volunteering to help
little kids learn to read
(instead of spending
the summer on devices);
in the neighbor who checks
on the woman down the street
who is recently widowed;
in the caretaker at the
cemetery who puts flowers
on the graves that are never visited,
we discover Ebenezer
is a more common name
than folks imagine

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


 “So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.” Luke 22:6

when no one’s around,
and we think you
have fallen asleep, we
break faith with you
with our foolish choices,
and words we hurl
like weapons of mass

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman 

Monday, June 24, 2019


“Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles.”  Acts 5:12a

when we believe
we are signless,
show us the teacher
tutoring for free during
summer break, the
coach buying gear
for her players out
of her own pocket,
the improv group
which includes an
interpreter for the deaf

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 23, 2019


“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
    to follow their own counsels.”  Psalm 81:12

you wait patiently,
while we hold our
breath until we turn blue
   so you can revive
   us with the Spirit;
while we lay on the floor
flailing our arms and legs,
   so you can cradle
   us in your peace;
while we slam the door
to our hearts (and keep
slamming until you look up),
   so you can open it
   with your hope-picks
   and enter, to listen
to our tear-drenched souls

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 22, 2019


“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.  They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”  Acts 4:34-35

when we share, without
grumbling or hoarding, it
isn’t because of
a political position or
economic doctrine,
but simply the graced
responding with grace

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 21, 2019


“Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:10

in the anguished cries
of the oppressed;
in the weeping
on the excluded;
in the questions
of adolescents;
in the words behind
the silence of fears,
you call to us,
may we listen

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 20, 2019


He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’”  Luke 21:3-4

remind us that
when we give you
the pocket change
from our XXL lifestyle,
it doesn’t mean we
are peers of this woman
you admire so much

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


“Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD” 1 Samuel 2:12

when we treat rogues
as being righteous,
when we trust liars
and dismiss fact-checkers,
when we trample the vulnerable
to rally around the power hungry,

Lord, have mercy
on us

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 17, 2019


“Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    give heed to my sighing.”  Psalm 5:1

though we’ve told
you the same story
over and over, you
listen with a big smile,
nodding and gripped
by every word, even
hearing what we say
in the sighing silence

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Trinity Sunday

“We could say more but could never say enough;
    let the final word be: ‘He is the all.’  Sirach 43:27

tempted to keep
saying more, let
your silence be all
the language we need;
tempted to offer
lectures, let
the soft breath
of our loved ones
be all the whispers
of grace we need;
tempted to turn
to the powerful, the
celebrities, the tartuffians
to set the world straight,
let your weakness
be all the strength we need.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 15, 2019


“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
    passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    a raging flame.”  Song of Solomon 8:6

touching death’s chilly waters
with your hope, you
warm them so we can
swim beside you toward
the far green shore of grace,
your love skimming
the tops of the waves
like fireflies lighting the way

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 14, 2019


“The voice of my beloved!
    Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.”  Song of Songs 2:8

you come:
in the kids
playing leapfrog
in backyards;
in the dog racing
toward us to knock
us over with a big welcome;
in the older couple
dancing to the tune
played at their wedding . . .
do we notice you,

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 13, 2019


“Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

in a world
where bullies strut
the stage, preening
and pronouncing, may
our frailty become
the thorn in the flesh
which infects them
with your humility, O God

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


“May my teaching drop like the rain,
    my speech condense like the dew;
like gentle rain on grass,
    like showers on new growth.”  Deuteronomy 32:2

we could utter
those words which
would burn others’ hearts
to piles of ashes, or
we can whisper grace
which will water their
souls and nourish the
seeds of hope you have

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,  loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him;” Deuteronomy 30:19c-20a

when we love you
more than our wants,
when we listen more to you
than to our temptations,
when we cling to you
more than those who
beg us to follow them
into anger and fear, we
do indeed choose life –
yours, not ours

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 10, 2019

shut it!

“Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Luke 18:39

we shove our way
to the front of the crowd,
so God will notice us,
while telling those we’ve
pushed aside to shut it,
so God can hear us
more clearly.

Lord, in your mercy . . .

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 09, 2019

divided tongues

“The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,” Isaiah 11:2a

in the soft breath
of a napping child,
in the excited bark
of a dog chasing a squirrel,
in the whispered memories
of a grandparent’s stories,
Come, Holy Spirit,
and rest upon us, so
we can be patient
enough to listen

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 08, 2019


 “He said to me: Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel forever.”  Ezekiel 43:7a

may we see
the chair next
to the hospital bed
as your throne;
the footprints of those
in Pride parades
in stride with the
imprints of the soles
of your feet;
the homeless camps
hidden in the woods
next to the highways
as your dwelling place

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, June 07, 2019


“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;”  Psalm 138:1a

truth be told, Lord,
we are so busy
preening in front
of the mirror,
patting ourselves
on the back, and
listing our successes
on social media, we
offer only a tithe
of our heart’s praise
(if that much)

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, June 06, 2019

(self) justification

“But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”  Luke 10:29

as we explain why
(politically) we need
to throw up barriers at borders, and
(economically) we can’t
support raises for workers
in menial jobs, and (religiously)
folks whose love lives
are different from ours
need to be challenged, you
are lifting up the bullied,
providing medical care for the vulnerable,
making sure folks have a place
to sleep each night, and longing
for us to go and do the same

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 05, 2019


“I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,"  Ezekiel 11:19

take our rock-hardened hearts
and crush them to pieces, so
from the dust, you may gather
them up, and with the breath
of the Spirit, not blow them away,
but create hearts that live and give
for our sisters and brothers around us

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 04, 2019


“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain,”  Hebrews 6:19

tossed about by
worry’s winds,
seasick from our
silliness, battered
by waves of doubt,
us anchor ourselves to
your hope which keeps us
from drifting too far
from the shores of grace

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 03, 2019


“Why should the nations say,
    ’Where is their God?’”  Psalm 115:2

huddled with rough sleepers
under bridges;
toiling in the fields
with migrant workers;
holding the hands of kids
undergoing chemo;
listening to the confused
stories of folks in memory units:

there, is our God

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 02, 2019


“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”  Matthew 10:40

while we are busy
using bricks made of
tweets and words
to raise walls, you
are building bridges
of love and inclusion
to span the flooding
rivers of our fears

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 01, 2019


“An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side,” Luke 9:46-47

we rush to throw
open the doors, and
usher you to the
best place at the table
we notice the ragamuffins
who are clinging
to the edges of your robe,
as if they should be
seated next to you,
instead of us

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman