Wednesday, July 31, 2019

set in concrete

for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.  Mark 6:52

we see no value
in being broken
to offer healing,
in feeding those
who could make
better choices, and
looking for you
in the storms of life,
we continue to pour
fear’s concrete into
our hearts, carving
our initials in it
as it sets

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


“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

when, from
the borders,
the street corners,
the rehab centers,
and other broken places,
people cry for help,
have mercy on us,
dear Lord,
when we roll over
and go back to sleep

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 29, 2019

fear mockers

“God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.  Psalm 57:3b

when fears’ bullies
taunt me,
hope and justice run up,
look them in the face, saying,
‘go away; you bore us’
and we skip hand in hand
down the paths
of your Community

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 28, 2019


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

preening in front
of the mirror, wondering
who’s the bestest sheep of all,
we lose sight of the fact
that caring for others
is not an act of
one-off grace

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 27, 2019


“On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!’” Mark 6:2

yes, we look for
signs falling from the sky,
wonders knocking us off our feet,
wisdom that will confound scholars,
and completely miss
your common sense ideas
that little kids can crawl into your lap,
that the outcasts are worth listening to,
and every single person
has a place at your table,
as well as a bed in your home

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 26, 2019

in the silence

“The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.” Acts 15:12

in the silence,
may we hear the
voices of humility,
instead of our own
filled with arrogance;
in the silence,
let us listen
to the chatter of kids
of the wonders they find
in their backyards;
in the silence,
whisper to us
of the signs we might
hear, see, taste, touch,
if we just spent more
of our lives

in the silence

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, July 25, 2019

plain & simple

‘On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.’”  Acts 15:11

no hoops
secret handshakes
private passwords – just
plain as God’s love
simple enough
for everyone

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


“He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”  Mark 4:40

truth be told,
fear seems to be
like melted chocolate
that sticks to our lives,
while faith slips
right through our
like beach sand

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


“He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?’  It is like a grain of mustard seed,’” Mark 4:30-31a

your Community
is like the post-it
note simply reading
‘you are loved bunches’
a parent puts in
the lunch box of
their child, who then
slips it into the
locker of the kid
picked on by bullies

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 22, 2019


“As the ancient proverb says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.”  1 Samuel 24:13

tempted to respond
in kind, may we offer
compassion to cruelty;
songs of hope to chants of fear;
gentleness to mean spirits;
grace to anger;
and always,
love to hate

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 21, 2019


“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

in the call,
‘come join us!’
to the immigrant child
who just moved
into the neighborhood;
in the fast food worker
who patiently listens
to the person with
difficulty speaking
give their order;
in the folks
who wander crowded
parking lots to make sure
no pets or kids
have been left in cars
in oppressive heat,
we are transformed
by the goodness
of those who know
your heart

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 20, 2019

more than just Sabbath

“As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to speak about these things again the next sabbath.” Acts 13:42

in a world
where cruel chants
are more and more acceptable,
let us whisper to others,
‘we value you, we honor you;’
in a time
when wedges are driven
into communities to fracture
people into them and us tribes,
let us continue
to build bridges
with words of justice
that are stronger than steel;
in places
where hopelessness
is offered as the only
lifestyle option by
the privileged and powerful,
let us gather the ignored
into our arms and shout
‘we are family; we are one;’
not just each holy day,
but every day,
every moment

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 19, 2019

praise songs

“O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.”  Psalm 51:15

my laughter
at the joke the old friend
has told a million times;
the words
i sound out
for the little kid
learning to read;
the gentle hello
i offer to the immigrant
everyone else snubs,
be the praise i offer
this day to you, Holy One

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, July 18, 2019


“will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”  Acts 13:10b 

with our cold shoulders
and frozen hearts
creating potholes;
with our hope-breaking
words that give
the wrong directions;
with the signs we
knock down in our hurry
to do everything our way:
we do our level best
to make it as hard as possible
for others to find the
easiest way to your heart

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

even as

“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.”  Psalm 33:22

may your love transform
our deserts of despair
into pools of grace;
may our hope
not be lost in the
torrents of tweets;
may your peace
be the balm
a bruised people
need in these moments

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


“And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him;”  Mark 2:4a

give us the courage
to tear off the tweets,
to push through the gatekeepers
who claim they know you best,
to take off the doors of apathy
and bring you the
families ripped apart by fear,
those paralyzed by injustice,
the broken, the forgotten,
the young, the veterans,
the rough sleepers and grief weepers
who long for your grace,
your hope, your peace,
and a welcome by your community

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 15, 2019

could we?

“A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’”  Mark 1:40

we could
feed the hungry,
welcome the outsider,
empty our closets for immigrants,
step in front of bullies,
challenge the oppressors,
speak louder than the haters,
we usually choose
not to get
our hands dirty,
our hearts broken,
our feelings hurt,
our faith challenged

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 14, 2019


“The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8

when we are callous
towards others, model
for us what softies are like;
when we turn churlish
with the ones we love,
transfigure us with
your tenderness;
when we are quick
to fly off the handle,
cradle us until we learn
the peace of patience;
when our hearts are
empty of love, fill
them from that fountain
of yours which never
runs dry

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 13, 2019


“And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”  Mark 1:18

as soon as
we have finished
binge watching the
latest hit show;
we have tweeted
our outrage at
whatever and whoever
is trending right now;
we have beaten
our high score
on the video game,
will get up and
follow, as well

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 12, 2019


“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1

may grace
be as fresh
as a lover’s kiss;
may hope
awaken in our hearts
each morning;
may peace
be the whisper
that challenges
our apathy;
may the gospel
never become as stale
as the bread
we left out
on the counter
last night

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, July 11, 2019


“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;”  Psalm 130:5

when others are hard
on us, may
   we be gentle;
when folks are
malicious to us,
may we offer kindness;
when they yank
the ground out
from under our life,
   may we wait
   in hope.

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

eyes wide open

“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.”  Luke 24:31

in every family
torn apart at borders,
in every relation
fraying at the edges,
in every rough sleeper
standing by the side of the road,
may we taste your
and recognize them
as you

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 09, 2019


“On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”  Luke 24:56b

while we daydream
about what used to be,
you are imagining
a future which will
be filled only with
life, hope, and peace,
and them turn your
thoughts into
creative action

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 08, 2019

long after

“For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    nor the hope of the poor perish forever.”  Psalm 9:18

long after
our memory of the
vulnerable has faded,
you lie awake at night
figuring out how to care for them;
long after we have
put their hope in
detention centers,
you are picking the locks
to set it free for their lives

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 07, 2019


“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”  Romans 5:1

because God came down,
it is not up to us;
because the last enemy
has been defeated, we
can simply rest in peace;
because the door is always open,
we have a home
to go to at the end
of this journey we call life . . .

. . . therefore

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 06, 2019


“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,” Psalm 100:4a

the classroom full
of wriggling toddlers,
the activity room
with hopeful retirees,
the waiting area
in the hospital –
as we go through
your gates to be
with your children,
may we rejoice!

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 05, 2019

the village smithy

“Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel;” 1 Samuel 13:19a

may the smiths we find
be those who offer
hope in haikus,
who weave peace
from the strands
of broken promises,
who craft guitars
from guns and rifles,
who turn hollow trees
into free libraries

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, July 04, 2019


“As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’”  Acts 8:36

. . . only the hoops
we hold outstretched
in our doctrines;
only that proper mode
which is prescribed
by our traditions;
only your bona fides
which must match
our sola fide . . .

that’s what

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, July 03, 2019


“When they call to me, I will answer them;
    I will be with them in trouble,
    I will rescue them and honor them.”  Psalm 91:15

a cry in the night;
a sign in trembling hands
   at an intersection;
a meltdown in a relationship;
when everyone else
turns away, you
run toward us to
scoop us up and listen
for as long as we

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 02, 2019


“for if you are silent to me,
    I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.” Psalm 28:1b

not silence,
but whispers of
wonder in the
fireflies of summer;
not silence,
but the gravelly
voice of grace
in the bullfrogs
down at the pond;
not silence,
but songs of joy
outside our windows
each morning;

not silence,
but you

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 01, 2019


“He chose our heritage for us,” Psalm 47:4a

not stockpiles
of weapons, but
open arms to carry
the most vulnerable;
not multiple accounts
overflowing with money,
but pockets emptied
to feed the hungry,
to heal the broken,
to shelter the rough sleepers;
not power and privilege
to tell others what to do,
but grace and justice
to share with those
too often ignored

our inheritance
is more than enough

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman