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.

Read More »

Grace Raining

Jesus help us live in peace,
even as we go to pieces.
The body of the redeemed
pulled apart by faithfulness,
yanked by righteousness,
clawed by holiness.
Ecclesial politics as a blood sport.
We stand our ground grandly,
confident of its moral highness.
“They’ve lost the way,”
“They don’t care,”
“We are following Jesus,”
echo back and forth

Read More »

The Confession of Dirk Willems

What I remember most
is the joy of God’s words on our lips
and in our hearts.
That good news bubbling out,
freely shared with any person we met,
old categories of friend and foe forgotten.
I remember the power of God changing us,
from empty Christians
to disciples full of fire.
I confessed my faith
and chose baptism, freely, consciously,
my prayer as the water trickled over me,
“O my Lord, my God!”
My family and friends,

Read More »

Mutiny on the Disciple Ship

Getting on board the disciple ship
was not what I expected.
I imagined clear sailing,
Jesus at the helm,
the congregation a happy crew
learning the ropes together. 
Back then, I didn’t know how close quarters
can sometimes drive us
to gnawing on the ties that bind.
Conflicts rolling over us like sea billows.

Read More »

Born into Darkness

Jesus is born into darkness,
a darkness that’s over the deep:
the deep sorrowing of our world,
the mourning over murdered children,
the soft sobbing of the hungry,
the wailing over bombed cities,
the despairing over a polluted earth,
the crying over our own sad stories.
On our darkest Christmas eve,
when we’ve forgotten what light looks like,
a baby is born. …

Read More »

Jesus, arrived at last

he baby emerges
like every baby:
wet, naked and wrinkled,
mouth opening for breath,
lungs expanding like a wet butterfly,
fingers stretching, eyes blinking.
The first wailing cry. 

Arms cradle,
hands touch each limb,
smoothing, cleaning, swaddling.
Two adults weak with relief,

Read More »

Knit Together or Frayed: A Poem about Relatives

Close can be comfortable
and close can be uncomfortable.
Knit together in our mother’s wombs,
we emerge and…
the fabric of the family holds us tight.
Loved and cherished from a young age,
we feel close-knit and strongly supported.
Or the opposite.
Abused, neglected or abandoned in childhood,
we can feel frayed at the edges,
unravelled at key points,
at loose ends in the world. 

Read More »

The Whole Score

God breathes and the world answers in a symphony of faithfulness.
Songs of services in chapels, halls and tabernacles,
arias of councils and conferences and conventions,
oratorios of missions and campaigns and committees.
The devoted bursting forth in a hundred million hymns,
harmonious, dissonant, raucous and serene.
The voice of the church exhaling its devotion,
praising Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer and Friend.
Angel voices and the saintly crowd of witnesses
hum along as God’s kingdom call echoes in the world. 

For so long we’ve tuned into only one part, ours,
examining it, analyzing it to the nth degree,
arguing over our notes, perfecting them, enjoying them.

Read More »

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,

Read More »

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 www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

Recent Posts

Posts By Month
  • Popular Tags

    Your browser doesn't support the HTML5 CANVAS tag.