Bible poems

The Travellers

Now the Lord said to Abram
“Go from your country and your kindred
and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
A journey; a far journey
to see lands he had never seen,
to meet people he had never known.
Imagine Abram packing his donkey, saying farewell to his family,
leaving behind everything that was dear to him and going forward,
forward into God`s invitation, “to the land that I will show you.”
Abram, the journey-man was the first of a long-line of travellers.
Hagar and Esau unwillingly sent into the wilderness,
Isaac trekking to find a wife.

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Abundant Life: Peter on the Road with Jesus

Abundant life, he says.  That’s what he came to give us.
A somewhat surprising answer, since me and my friends
might have suggested that he had come to bring us abundant
blisters, leading us up hill and down, from morning to night.
Or an abundance of crowds,
or an abundance of Pharisees to argue with,
or an abundance of riddles;
those stories with their twists.
An abundance of days filled with amazing healings,
miraculous feedings, abundant piles of bread.
Abundant numbers of jaws dropping as even the dead are raised.

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It was a close call.
I thought I was a goner.
I’d been sentenced to death,
and there was a cross with my name on it.
The Romans are brutal, and there is no mercy,
not for someone like me.
I was arrested a week before the festival.
I led my men, we planned and plotted,
waiting for the right time, the right opportunity.
Everyone is sick of this occupation,
this bowing and scraping, yes sir and no sir,
keeping our mouths shut and our eyes down.
Carrying centurions’ burdens like donkeys,

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Passover: A Maundy Thursday Poem

The preparations are made in the city of Jerusalem,
in an upper room, for a meal,
the Passover meal.
The feet coming up the stairs are dusty,
they’ve travelled far for this meal,
the Passover meal.
The friends recline together weary and hungry
as the teacher begins the meal,
the Passover meal.
He looks them in the eye and tells them
that he has eagerly desired this meal,
the Passover meal.

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The Anti-Magnificat (if I had been Mary)

Dear God:
Thank you for the invitation
you so kindly extended,
inviting me to become pregnant
with the Prince of Peace.
What an honour to be asked,
and I am so grateful for your confidence in me.
The world needs a Saviour and it is to your credit
that you have remembered your promises.
I totally support your endeavors in this regard.
Circumstances being what they are,

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A Manger Scene

A manger scene,
our manger scene,
a tiny little manger scene.
Everywhere we go, we see them.
Mary kneeling, Joseph standing
shepherds with their trailing sheep watching,
wise men with their robes and gifts adoring.
Everyone’s eyes pointing to the baby Jesus,
lying on a bed of hay in a manger.
The wooden beams of the stable sheltering,
the golden angel heralding
and a star shining…..

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Mary’s Lullaby

Oh! hush thee my Jesus,
the work is behind us,
at last you are lying here
safe in my arms.
The night with its quiet
has fallen upon us
and God and your parents
will keep you from harms.
Now sleeping, now dreaming,
don’t worry my darling,
Ah, sweet little saviourchild
be at your ease.
A star shining brightly
looks downward to find you,
a baby, our baby,
my baby, at peace.

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Buried in the Ground: A Grave Poem about Stewardship

I always feel sorry for the man in Jesus’ story
who buried his money and returned it intact to the master,
only to be scorned for his trouble.
He is remembered forever as the man who didn’t get it,
the man who missed the stewardship boat,
the man who was profoundly untalented. 

What brought him to that inearthly choice?
What circumstances put a shovel in his hand,
and only preservation in his heart?
“I was afraid,” he said.
Maybe it was a deathly fear of change,

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Through the Open Window

Jesus’ life was bookended by the kindness of strangers.
At the beginning:  innkeepers giving the pregnant Mary shelter,
a place for newborn Jesus to rest his head.
And at the end of a terrible Friday,
Joseph of Arimathea bearing the lifeless body of Christ
to a cold dark place of rest.
Before Jesus’ first breath, and after his last one,
at the gateways of life and death,
acts of kindness.

What to do, then, about the man in the gray car
tailgating me today in heavy traffic,

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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