Category: Poetry

O God of Peace and Love

O God of peace, be with us now.
Stand here beside us; bring hope this day.
Transform this world of greed and strife,
From domination to your new way.
Teach us to make an end to war,
An end to bloodshed, an end to hate.
May hearts and hands in your new reign
End earth’s oppression and liberate.

Empower us so we can build
A world of justice where all can share.
Providing food to all in need
With your compassion and loving care.
The poor, the lame, the sick, the blind,
Are brothers, sisters, the whole world round.
You now invite them far and near
To your great banquet of love unbound.

You send us forth to find the lost,
Abandoned, lonely, and homeless ones.
You welcome all in your embrace
Forgiving freely as daughters, sons.
You set before our hungry eyes
A feast of plenty with wine and song.
We gather round as family,
A loving circle, where all belong.

You bless all those who work for peace
And cry for justice across the land.
You give us strength to speak your word.
Against all powers, you help us stand.
You teach us how to turn the cheek,
Resisting evil, with peaceful force.
You teach us love for enemies.
Gracious, forgiving, you are love’s source.

O God of love, be with us now.
Stir up your power, transform the earth.
Renew our minds, refresh our hearts,
Send peace and justice, give hope new birth.
Establish your reign here and now,
And help us live a more loving way,
That peace may flourish in our world
And streams of justice cascade today.

 

Music: “Wexford Carol” (Carul Loch Garman) — Traditional
© 2002

all are welcome

The sign outside the church
said “all are welcome.”

Perhaps they meant to say
all who look like us are welcome,
all who think like us are welcome,
all who believe like us are welcome,
all who wear masks like us are welcome,
all who don’t make a ruckus are welcome,
all who don’t shine the light of truth on us are welcome.

Come on in,
make yourself at home.

This is such a warm and friendly place,
such a nice community.

And we mean to keep it that way.

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

the Lord watch over your going out

Do you ever find it odd
that worshipers are greeted
as they leave the sanctuary?
This rite of transition
from comfort to challenge.
The grasping of hands, a warm smile,
a word of encouragement
as if to say
this was just the prelude—
worship begins outside these doors.
The one you seek is not here
he has gone ahead of you.
You will find him
amid the brokenness of the world.
For true worship does not consist
of heartfelt words,
of fervent prayer,
of bread and wine,
But of lives well lived
among those who need our love.

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

praying to God

I sometimes wonder if God
ever tires of our prayers.

Weekends must be the worst.
Friday prayers at the mosques,
Saturday appeals in the synagogues,
Sunday petitions from the churches.

An endless round of requests.
Do this, O Lord
and do that, Almighty God.
Watch over the sick,
care for the lonely,
help the poor,
encourage the unemployed,
bring peace among the nations.

As if addressing every human problem
great and small,
is part of God’s job description,
and somehow God has forgotten.

Someday I imagine
that God will lose patience
with our foolish words
and will tell us in no uncertain terms
that the care of the world,
the care of one another,
is our job.
Ours alone.

“This is your mess, not mine,” God will say.
“Get busy and stop bothering me.”
Perhaps God will add with a chuckle,
“Amen, so be it.”

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

the arms of love

I went to the funeral home last night
to see a friend whose life was entwined with mine.

Someone once told me
that if you want to know the truth about a person’s life,
go to their funeral.
Job, wealth, and possessions have no meaning.
Relationships and love are the only real measures
of one’s true worth.

The visitation is always a study in contrasts,
the living gathered around the dead,
the laughter amidst the grief and sorrow.
Photos of the past carefully displayed,
triggering memories of happier times.
Old friends meet again
reunited by relationships forged in youth.
We gather in community to say goodbye.

They say that she left us some time ago
lost in the arms of dementia.
Yet she died surrounded by those who loved her
in the warm embrace of her children.
And even though they may have seemed like strangers
she did not die alone.
She died in the arms of love.
And for that we are thankful.

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

a child is born

A darkened room
A trembling womb
Her sharp breaths cut the air
Now nearly done
The hour has come
They bring him forth with care

The child is born
In early morn
Their long-awaited one
With matted hair
He gasps for air
His journey has begun

A child’s first cries
A mother’s sighs
The sweetest song of all
Now put to breast
At last they rest
Asleep within the stall

Five fingers, toes
A button nose
Like any child, the same
His father’s son
His mother’s one
And Jesus is his name

 

 

© 2002 Kurt Struckmeyer

call me back

I am told that God answers prayer.
Always.

But then a few caveats are added,
meant to temper my expectation
for a quick and positive response.

First, they make it clear
that sometimes the answer will be “no.”
And secondly, I am told
I should not expect a speedy reply
because the answer will come in God’s time, not mine.

With seven billion people in the world,
if only a fraction pray every day
God’s in-box must be jammed 24/7.
The volume must be immense
since God also hears unspoken needs.

I wonder if God employs a triage system
so that brain cancer takes precedence over a math quiz.
Perhaps God weighs the requests on merit
based on an extraordinary need
or an intensity of feeling
or the strength of belief.
If so, my odds of getting through
are slim to none.

I have left messages, repeatedly,
but God never picks up.

Please.
Call me back.
I’m waiting.

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

be careful what you pray for

When we pray
come, Lord Jesus—

do we mean to say:
come, you malnourished stranger
come, you unwanted migrant
come, you ragged child
come, you crying crack baby
come, you dirty panhandler
come, you dying alcoholic
come, you addicted whore
come, you imprisoned gangbanger

Come, and join us.
Share our table.
Be our guest.

 

 

© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer

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