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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Bitterness, like some evil intravenous

drips into each day

from a clear bag of memories.

He said, she said,

he did, she did,

he was, she was.

Daily, nightly, a steady dose

poisoning the soul.

Too many times the body convulses

shaken with anger

racked with sorrow

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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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