Surveillance: A poem about the suspects of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Walking through the crowd with your backpacks
surrounded by happy people on race day,
you weave your way purposefully
down the street
around the corner,
you know where you are going.

I want to reach out
from my vantage point on high
I want to call you by name so you look
I would reach out and put a hand on your cheek
like your mother
I would look in your eyes
looking for the good boy,
I would hold that gaze

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Emmaus Road Poem

Two travelers trudging
the long road from Jerusalem.
Their sorry faces are bent,
reliving the sad event
that sent them scurrying.
“What next?” they wonder.

The stranger comes alongside,
and he is told the sad tale,
but far from sympathizing
he starts scolding them;
too slow of heart,
too slow on the uptake,
not enough faith….

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Thanksgiving Revolution

God, on this Thanksgiving we know enough to give thanks.
Our prayers often begin, “Thank you God for…”
and then we make a list.
The list is longer today, because it’s thanksgiving. 

But what if thankfulness has nothing to do with lists?
What if thankfulness is more like the difference between night and day,
the difference between being shut in and being free,
the difference between holding on and reaching out?
What if thankfulness is not something to be grasped,

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Jesus Makes Breakfast: A Poem about John 21:1-14

I could smell that charcoal fire a long way off
while we were still rowing far from shore.
As we got closer I could smell the fish cooking,
I imagined I could hear it sizzling.
When you’re hungry, your mind works that way.

When the man by the fire called out asking us about our catch,
we held up the empty nets.
And his advice to throw the nets in once more
is something we might have ignored,
except for the smell of cooking fish…
this guy must know something  about catching fish!

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The Ins and Outs of Jesus

Jesus never fit into the Inn crowd
there was just no room.
From the very start those in-power people
had very little use for Jesus.
Moreover, they were increasingly offended
by his accusation that they lacked insight.
In the end, they were incensed
and looked for any way to do him in.
Even the Romans had no use for Jesus,
although Pilate’s wife believed he was innocent.
It was inevitable, he was in for it.
In the final hours a cross, and then interred in a tomb…

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Psalm for Silence

I crave silence like water.
In this noisy non-stop fast-paced high-powered
injection-fuelled people-filled emotion-packed
day, I say,
“I crave silence like water.”
Drop, drop, drop
into my soul, soul, soul.
I will listen for the drip and the echo.
I will look, look, look
for the dropper of silence
and wait, wait, wait to be filled.

Silence expands noiselessly.
It blossoms unexpectedly,

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The Year I put God on the Christmas List

It never occurred to me till this year
to put God on my Christmas list.
Heaven knows, I’ve been on the receiving end
too many times to count,
with a God whose giving knows no ending.
Maybe God would like a gift,
for a change.
What do you get Someone who has everything?
Slippers?  Does one size truly fit all?
A book?  What hasn’t God read yet?
An ipad?  Are there apps made in heaven?
Can everyone really use socks?

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God Our Champion

Everyone needs a champion,
someone who will be in your corner, always,
someone watching your back,
someone watching you, treasuring you,
keeping you in their heart.

Parents are nature’s champions,
biologically led to love and nurture,
feed and foster,
support and sustain.
They can’t keep their eyes off you….

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A Faith without Bells

I belong to a faith without bells.
No crystal clear call to worship
floating over fields and factories,
whispering over shopping malls;
come, come, come.

I belong to a faith without bells.
No insistent tugging reminder
more universal than any cellphone
piercing even concrete with its message,

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

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