Tuesday, March 31, 2020

fifth tuesday in lent

Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts” 1 Corinthians 14:1a

we walk slow enough,
become distracted by our devices,
fall further and further behind,
we will never catch up with
and never have to listen
to her yack on about
and all those other things
at which the world laughs

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 30, 2020

fifth monday in lent

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’   Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them,” Mark 9:35-36

then you take
the young person spending
their days picking up supplies
for the vulnerable in our midst,
the older folks in retirement
dusting off their sewing machines
to make masks and gowns
for the front line at the hospitals,
the neighbors who cannot gather
to worship at their churches
but are in the parking lots
feeding those who haven’t
had a decent meal since the
orders for shutdown were given,
‘there . . .  there they are:
the lasts of the world
gathering up the little ones
in their arms and holding them
just as i showed them.”

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 29, 2020

fifth sunday in lent

 “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” Romans 12:5

we are still held
in that sanctuary
called your heart.
we are still holding
hands with your Spirit
who teaches new dance steps
and songs for these moments.
we are still family
who love those we cannot see,
who hear the hearts
of those we cannot hold,
who reaches out to care
for all who have cared for us
until we are gathered
together on that day
which will become
a new day of resurrection
for all your children.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 28, 2020

fifth saturday in lent

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant . . .” 1 Corinthians 13: 4 ff

love is
a weary nurse refusing
to leave the side of a patient,
a neighbor sharing a bag
of groceries with a newcomer in the ‘hood;
love isn’t jealous of those who are healthy,
or boasts on social media about its hoard of supplies,
or pushes in front of the old guy at the store,
or blames their problems on folks they don’t know.
love isn’t a bully on the playground,
or a grumbling spouse because the toast is burnt,
or ripped because someone got the last 6-pack of water;
it does not mock those who believe in a different way,
but realizes everyone sees faith through their own heart.
love carries all those we cannot,
love listens to all those we won’t,
love trusts all those we don’t,
love pushes on even when we disappoint it.
nothing, not even a virus, can destroy love.
like chaff, politicians’ words will scatter;
as for sound bites, they will fade way,
as for scammers, they will hear only dial tones.
we don’t know as much as we like to think we do,
and we like to grumble under our breath,
but when the moment finally comes,
we will run into each other’s arms.
we can stamp our feet, and hold
our breath, trying to turn blue,
but the day will come when we
have to become the adults in the room.
we may not see when these moments end,
but we see God’s face in everyone around us;
we don’t have all the answers, but trust
that God does and is giving them to the right people.
grace, hope, peace, joy, love, wonder, life
is all around us, in these moments like always,
and love is the glue that binds them all together
in the gift which is God’s heart beating for us.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 27, 2020

fifth friday in lent

“my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.”  Psalm 130:6

we’re not those people,
these waiters,
these watchers;
we’re impatient,
and move on folks
who don’t notice much
around us, so
in these times, when
we are forced (against
every instinct we have)
may we learn
to wait with increasing
hope that you are in
our midst, just like always
(though we never saw you),
and to watch, with clear eyes,
the sunrise and
to hear, with rested ears,
the birds sing and
to finally see you
in the neighbor who has
waved at us every morning,
though we never waved back
even once

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 26, 2020

fifth thursday in lent

“He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” Mark 8:29a

you are the spirits distiller
who stops looking at profits
to start making hand sanitizers,
you are the health director
who remains calm while
the rest of us embrace panic,
you are the high school kids
who lose their shining moment
in the spring musical, but
sing for strangers on social media;
you are
we long to be

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

fifth wednesday in lent

“And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign?’” Mark 8:12a

the teachers in a convoy
of cars driving through
their students’ neighborhood
to let them know they are loved
beyond measure (not just missed);
the police stopping folks
to offer them a roll of toilet paper
rather than a ticket;
the grocery chain ordering pizza
for all its employees as
a great big thank you (as
well as helping out the pizza folks):

how many more signs
do we need that
is afoot in our days?

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

fourth tuesday in lent

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26

in emptied sanctuaries
with the techie a safe distance,
with a few saltine crackers
and a glass of orange juice,
around a kitchen table and
hearing the words online,
with a slice of whole wheat
and a glass of milk,
gathered in a living room
or sheltered in a lonely apartment,
we proclaim your death,
O Lord,
even as we await the promise
of new days, new hope, new life,
when we are called from the tomb
of isolation

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 23, 2020

fourth monday in lent

“He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’  And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.”  Mark 7:33-35

remove the fearwax
we may hear your
whispers of hope
tell others of your
grace that surrounds
us in these moments

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 22, 2020

fourth sunday in lent

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”  Romans 8:14

lead us, Spirit of healing,
into solitude for the good
of our communities;
lead us, Spirit of grace,
into acts of remote kindness,
enriching the lives of those
we cannot touch physically;
lead us, Spirit of peace,
into gentle places of hope
where we can rest in your serenity,
even as we wait for that time
when we can be, once more,
one with all of God’s children.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 21, 2020

fourth saturday in lent

“But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my God.
 My times are in your hand;” Psalm 31:14-15a

as moment drifts
into moment, and
one day slides
into the next, as
the future seems
more uncertain
than ever before,
remind us that we
are cradled in the hands
of the Time Maker
and Keeper of our Moments,
who will not let us slip
through your fingers

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 20, 2020

fourth friday in lent

“for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’”  Mark 6:50

in our worries,
let us not overlook you
in the person shopping
for all her neighbors;
in our terrors,
let us not fail to notice you
in the health care providers
working extra hours;
in our enforced solitude,
let us not look past you
waving at us across
the courtyard, backyard,
hospital hallway, grocery store,
using sign language to tell us,
‘i love you’

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 19, 2020

fourth thursday in lent

“ Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
    you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
    O God of my salvation!”  Psalm 27:9

in the compassionate eyes
of the nurse behind
the protective mask;
in the young person
who knocks on the door
asking what they can bring us;
in the kids across the street
who sit on their porches
playing music for their
neighbors . . .

we see your face!

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

fourth wednesday in lent

“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.” Psalm 5:3

for little kids waking up
cranky and weary (already)
of a new routine;
for parents struggling
to be teachers of stuff
they had forgotten years ago;
for researchers cracking weary spines
and trying not to touch aching eyes,
searching for a new vaccine,
a quicker way to diagnose;
for those whose isolation
is a prison sentence, and
those who would serve right beside them
in nursing homes, and hospital rooms;
for those whose tapping feet
long to take them out into a world
they know they must avoid;
for all and every, for each and one,
we pray, O Lord,
hear our voices
hear our hearts

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

third tuesday in lent

“‘Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’” Mark 6:3

you watch
(not trying to laugh)
as we hammer our thumbs,
saw boards too short,
get so much glue on our hands
that our fingers stick together;
then you come
in your sawdusty coveralls,
your sweat stained hat,
your faded corduroy shirt, and
mend the cracks in our relationships,
clear the pipes so 
living water flows freely,
caulk the windows in our hearts
so that the evil one’s cold breath
cannot slip in, then mopping your face
and washing your hands, you ask,
“got anything to eat
for a hunger handyman?”

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 16, 2020

third monday in lent

“May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
    for I wait for you.”  Psalm 25:21

noticing my twitching knees
and shuffling feet, new friends
Honor and Justice
each grab a hand, so
i can’t dart into the street
before you blow the whistle,
stopping temptation’s busy traffic,
so that we can cross
over to Eden’s playground

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 15, 2020

third sunday in lent

“When shall I come and behold
    the face of God?” Psalm 42:2b

in the weary face
of the stocker who patiently
tells a customer, “i’m sorry,
we’re out and hope for more
to arrive tomorrow,” and then
repeats it 500 more times,
in the lined visage
of the staff caring for
the most vulnerable who
do not understand their isolation,
on the tear-stained cheeks
of the wife holding her hand
against the window with her
husband’s hand pressing
the other side, because she
cannot visit the nursing home,
we see your face, O God,
if we dare to take notice

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 14, 2020

third saturday in lent

“My times are in your hand;
    deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors” Psalm 31:15

when the world would knock me
over with a shopping cart to get
the last package of toilet paper,
when the angry voices holler at me
to turn my back on your future,
when people point a finger at me
and accuse me of preaching
perspective over panic,
remind me that these moments,
like all time, are measured by
your grace and hope, not
our foolish fears and worries

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 13, 2020

third friday in lent

“But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”  Mark 4:38

when the waves of worry
threaten to sink our hearts
and the thunder of rumors
rattles the windows of our souls,
we look to see if you care, but
you are working 24/7
on a vaccine for the world,
handing out grocery bags
full of hope to those who
found all the shelves stripped
by the hoarders,
stretching your aching back
and rubbing tired feet, before
heading back on your shift
in the hospitals

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, March 12, 2020

third thursday in lent

“But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
    your name endures to all generations.” Psalm 102:12

when you could stay
in your jammies, stretched
out in the recliner watching
the game and talk shows
the rest of the day, you
pull on your jeans, muddy work
boots and frayed, corduroy shirt,
gulping the last of your coffee
and grabbing your lunch box
as you head out the door to
feed the folks standing at
the kitchen doors of restaurants,
listen to the broken hearts
of the kids at the bus stops,
walk the assisted living hallways
with all those who have been
abandoned by everything but
their memories, tagging after them
like fading shadows

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

third wednesday in Lent

“If my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will take me up.”  Psalm 27:10

we come home
only to find a suitcase
(containing all we have)
on the front porch, a note
telling us all the locks
have been changed, and
through the tears, we
can barely see you sitting
in your banged-up, rusting
pickup, until you throw open
the passenger door, hollering
‘hop in!  let’s go hang out
at my place!  I’ve got plenty
of extra space.’ 

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

second tuesday in lent

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all day long.”  Psalm 25:5

though pock-marked with
bullet holes and hanging by
a single, rusted nail, i followed
the sign pointing down candor’s path,
and i was not disappointed
where it leads me.
though friends laugh, strangers
turn away in disbelief, and
the world mocks, i believe
you are the way for me,
and i will not be disappointed.
though the seconds tick slowly
the minutes move at snail’s pace
and the hours seem
to be more than 24, i wait,
and am not disappointed

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 09, 2020

second monday in lent

“Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you!” 1 Corinthians 4:8

that’s the problem
with you, God – you
expect us to be satisfied
with what we already have,
while we look around
and see only the things
we don’t hold onto and
want to clasp in our tight
greedy grasp

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 08, 2020

second sunday in lent

“My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.”  Psalm 42:2

knowing how parched
is my soul, the barkeep
pulls out the bottle of aged
death, nodding as he starts
to pour, then smiling as i say,
‘make it a double,’
not noticing you outside,
handing out bottles of life
distilled in your heart

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 07, 2020

second saturday in lent

“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?”  1 Corinthians 4:7

when my words
are as bitter as
the next person’s;
when my anger
is as raw as those
raging in public forums;
when my fears
comfort me more
than my faith, well,
why should anyone
notice anything different
enough that they want
to listen to me,
draw close to me,
share with me?

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 06, 2020

second friday in lent

“Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.”  1 Corinthians 3:18

holding up a mirror
for us, your smile gets
bigger and bigger as we
don the greasepaint, red noses,
rainbow hair, baggy pants,
size 23 shoes, and then we
all squeeze in next to you
in grace’s teeny tiny car,
racing around, squirting people
with seltzer bottles full of hope
every chance we get, and putting
big grins on people’s faces
as we show that the real fools
are those who discover that
goodness is stronger than evil,
peace is better than war,
a hug is the welcome everyone needs,
and that you are the biggest fool
of all, because you trust us
with the message of love to the world

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman