Friday, January 31, 2020


“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24 

this day,
surround me with those
who will aggravate me
out of my apathy,
nudge me out of
my numbness to cruelty,
rouse me out of my reluctance
to seek justice for the forgotten,

i pray

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 30, 2020


“Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
    the sweet lyre with the harp.”  Psalm 81:2

instead of
our usual grumbling,
may we sing love songs
to those around us;
may we clap
our hands in delight
at the wonders of creation;
may we play
the anthems of justice
until they are learned
by the whole world

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


“By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
    O God of our salvation;” Psalm 65:5a

in the first-generation
immigrant who sets up
a grocery for new arrivals;
in the former athlete
who graduated from prison,
and now mentors young people
from his mistakes;
in the big sister who
patiently teaches her
little brother how to knit,
we find your awesome deeds
announcing your grace.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” John 5:6

if we say yes, how
will we ever manage
the delicious bitterness
on our tongues
destroying the taste buds
of grace and hope,
the weight of the
decades-old grudges
slowly crushing our souls,
the unbridled anger
curdling our hearts?

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman


“In speaking of ‘a new covenant,’ he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear.”  Hebrews 8:13

our covenant with cruelty
dissolve into dust;
our fealty to fear
be broken to pieces;
our treaty signed with terror
be ripped to shreds;
our agreement with anger
be tossed in the bin,
so that we may discover
the new hearts you
have carved within us

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 26, 2020


Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’”
Mark 7:34

as we close our ears
to the single parent
looking for a job, you whisper,
as we close our hands
in fists of rage instead
of welcoming love, you croak,
as we close our mouths
when the powerful are
stepping on the vulnerable, you shout,

all the while looking
up to heaven as if to say,
‘see what i have work with?’

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 25, 2020


 “And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.”  Genesis 12:9

thinking it is simply
a direct route from
point A to point B,
we quickly discover
the time spent making
bricks for the bigshots;
wading ankle dip through
freedom’s waters, before
a wilderness sojourn;
a kingdom divided here,
an exile there;
searching for a newborn
in a most unlikely place;
a heart-shattering loss
at the top of a garbage dump,
before seeing the sun rise
over the walls of the city
whose gates never close

just like our ancestors

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 24, 2020


“I come to the end—I am still with you.”  Psalm 139:18b

no shadowed alley,
but well-lighted streets’
no angry words,
but whispers of love;
no wretched punishment,
but warm embraces;
no anguished emptiness,
but a heart filled with hope

just beyond the end

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 23, 2020


“And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’”  Genesis 11:3-4

as a fund-raiser for anger,
the fearmongers offer
bricks to be inscribed
with our names, we are
willing to borrow money
if we need, to help
build that wall which
will keep us safe
within our paranoia

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


“Therefore let us go on toward perfection*, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God,” Hebrews 6:1

for the sake
of civility, let us
stop opening snark’s
inasmuch as
we are called to love,
let us let go of grudges;
since we are no longer
two-years-old throwing tantrums,
let us listen to another;
in the event that God
just might know something,
let us live in faith.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman  * - ‘maturity’ might be a better word here

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19 

(not so)
breaking news:
we walk around
throwing all the circuit
breakers, taking batteries
out of flashlights, and snuffing
everyone’s candles, hoping
they will come and enjoy
living in the shadows of foolishness
as much as we do

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 20, 2020


“They are not afraid of evil tidings;
    their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.”  Psalm 112:7

hate tries to buckle
our knees with words
of anger and fear, let
us rearrange the letters
into songs of hope;
the autocrats demand
unconditional loyalty to
their cults of personality,
let us reveal our hearts
etched with your grace
and offer them to
the most vulnerable

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman


“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

we try to weave
lives from hubris and
grudges, edged with frustration
and bound together with
the threads of anger and hurt,
you unravel us, and
putting us on the loom,
our hopes, dreams, fears,
and doubts the warp threads,
while the weft thread of your
shapes us into your

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 18, 2020


“And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” Genesis 6:19

we breathe in the
acrid smoke,
fill up sandbags to
edge our homes,
respond to appeals
to help victims of
earthquakes and hurricanes,
remind us
that now, earth is
our ark, and
we need to stop saying,
“no, ah, there is no such
thing as climate change”

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 17, 2020


“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
through the assignment
to write all our foolishness
on the chalkboard, you
show up, wiping off
our painmaking efforts,
taking the erasers
outside, clapping them
together to watch the chaff
drift away towards the horizon
© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 16, 2020


You show me the path of life.”  Psalm 16:11a

your path is too winding,
your way too steep
your road too potholed,
your streets too narrow,
we strike out
on our own, while
you follow at our side

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


“Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”  Psalm 33:3

let this curmudgeon
listen to the heart-changing
songs of little children,
watch the young couples
dance until the last song,
discover the wonders
of constellation’s designs
forgotten so long ago,
find the last piece
to the intricate puzzle of
love, so
i can not only age

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


“Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.”  Hebrews 2:1

we could share peace
but injure others;
we might be bearers of grace
but are spreaders of shame;
we should forgive another
but hold the grudge in our heart;
we could offer living water to the thirsty,
but remove the handle from the faucet,

we show we were too busy
daydreaming about ourselves
in the Gospel 101 seminar

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 13, 2020


“Listen to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.”  Psalm 5:2

hear the whispers
of hungry children;
give ear to the fears
of animals displaced
and terrorized by bush fires;
be attentive to those
huddled as drones
pass over their homes;
give ear to the
lonely, the forgotten,
the broken, the grieving;
tune in to those
who have no voice,
but whose hearts overflow
with worry and fears
teach us to listen
as intensely
as you

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Baptism of the Lord

“You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills,” Psalm 104:10

drip by drip,
drop by drop,
we dribble out grace
as if it were more
valuable than gold,
you turn on every
faucet in the house
to flood the world
without charging us

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 11, 2020


But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.”  Colossians 3:8

the bitterness tastes
so sweet,
the arrows of anger
pierce so deeply,
the foul-letter words
roll so trippingly
off the tongue, how
can you ask me
to just toss them
in the landfill,
than recycling them

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 10, 2020


“‘I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.’”  John 10:9

we see the gate
standing wide open
and think
we have to shut it
and put on new
latches and locks
to keep it closed tight,

forgive us,
Gate of the Sheep,
forgive us

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 09, 2020


“I did not speak in secret,
    in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
    ‘Seek me in chaos.’
I the Lord speak the truth,
    I declare what is right.”  Isaiah 45:19

no enigmatic codes,
no clandestine meetings
   in alleyways,
no mazes without an exit,
an invitation
to find your grace
   in whispers of peace
   and light-filled truth,
not in the chaotic
spite of bitterness
words of denigration
of your children

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


“He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’”  Exodus 17:7

so busy
coming up with another
true/false quiz for you;
bickering as to what
wing you are under;
asking you to produce
your bona fides, we
never notice you
giving drinks of
friendship to the lonely,
grace to the forgotten,
justice to the bullied,
peace to the frightened

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 07, 2020


“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.” Colossians 1:5-6

let us
not only hear
of your hope,
but plant it
in the lives of others,
watering it with
our tears,
warming it with
our love,
keeping the weeds
of despair from
choking it off,

because . . .

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 06, 2020


“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”  Revelation 21:26a

and now,
the journey truly
begins, as
we seek to follow
the Light we have
found in this insignificant
in this backwater town,
to the depths
of your
heart of love and grace

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 05, 2020


’I called to the Lord out of my distress,
    and he answered me;’”  Jonah 2:2a

when my tears
turned to dust
in my eyes, you
baptized me with yours;
when my throat
was so sore from
screaming, i was voiceless,
you whispered, ‘i am here;’
when my heart
shattered from the blows
of those i thought
loved me, you
mended it with
stained glass windows
of grace filling the cracks

© 2020 Thom M Shuman

Saturday, January 04, 2020


When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’” Joshua 4:6b

may we tell them
we used the stones
of our lives
for building walls,
but bridges;
as stumbling blocks,
but as steps to wholeness;
as monuments to hate,
but as landmarks for justice

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 03, 2020


“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

like a two-year-old,
we can
lay on the faith and
stomp our feet,
scream our heads off,
hold our breath
until we turn blue, and
having exhausted ourselves
with our foolishness,
are finally able to hear
your gentle whispers of
grace, hope, and love
for our lives

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 02, 2020


“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”  Ephesians 4:4-6

when we spend
so much time
splitting theological hairs
with family members,
disparaging another’s
practices while polishing
our Sunday School medals,
speaking ‘our’ truth (in
love, of course) while
turning deaf ears to what
others are saying,
we never notice how
we are breaking your

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman