Picture looking out to the sea from the edge of the shore with yellow and pink sky. Word: The morning after (a poem for when your faith has been rocked) Faith in Grey Places

Loneliness in the morning after (a poem for when your faith has been rocked)

Today’s poem draws on the time after Jesus’s resurrection when he had breakfast with seven of the disciples (John 21:1-14). The disciples had been fishing all night and caught nothing, but when Jesus tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, they catch a large number (of large fish). 

There are various ways to take this story. You could say the disciples were returning to what was familiar to them, though I’m more inclined to think they were doing it to relax as much as anything else. I also think the large catch was an affirmation of what they were doing. 

Continue reading Loneliness in the morning after (a poem for when your faith has been rocked)
Woman sitting on the edge of a balcony in a city looking up at a large sign that says "JESUS SAVES". Text over the top: A sonnet from a modern Thomas (reflecting on what it takes to share our faith). Faith in Grey Places

A sonnet from a modern Thomas (reflecting on what it takes to share our faith)

The lectionary readings this week include the story of Thomas recorded within John 20:19-31. When Jesus appeared to his disciples, he wasn’t there, and then he wouldn’t believe them until he saw Jesus for himself.

He said he would need to see the marks in Jesus’s hands and side before he believed. What I find remarkable is that when Jesus does appear to Thomas, he offers Thomas his hands and side. Almost as if he wants Thomas to believe. 

Continue reading A sonnet from a modern Thomas (reflecting on what it takes to share our faith)
Paper cut-out of a tomb with the stone rolled away, against a brown background with light seeping through from above. Text: A question, not a criticism (a poem reflecting on the resurrection accounts) Faith in Grey Places

A question, not a criticism (a poem reflecting on the resurrection accounts)

Jesus’s resurrection is the best surprise ending ever. It’s so good, so fitting, so unexpected, so inevitable, so awe-inspiring, so triumphant, so impossible to make up.

The accounts of the resurrection are in Matthew 28:1-15,  Mark 16, Luke 24:1-49 and John 20:1-23.

As I read through them this week I was struck by the number of questions that Jesus and the angels ask Jesus’s followers. The most famous is “Woman, why are you weeping?” when Jesus meets Mary Magdalene but she doesn’t recognise him. But there are several others.

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Close up picture of a rich woman in a large ornate room, sitting on a red and gold couch, wearing a tiara, looking out towards the light with a concerned look on her face. Has the text: His blood and his body, a poem reflecting on when Pilate washed his hands

His blood and his body (a poem reflecting on when Pilate washed his hands)

Last week I wrote that I’ve written these poems starting from a blank slate, meaning the end result often surprises me. Again, this one surprised me.

Also, I hope you like Shakespeare.

I wanted to reflect on Pilate’s agency, especially how on Good Friday he tried to wash his hands in public and absolve himself from the guilt of Jesus’s death. The account is in Matthew 27:11-26, Mark 15:1-15, Luke 23:1-25 and John 18:28-19:16.

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Sunset over the sea with small waves crashing close to the camera. Text over the top: The Longest Sabbath - A poem reflecting on Jesus's prayer: "Not my will but yours." Faith in Grey Places

The Longest Sabbath (a poem reflecting on Jesus’s prayer: “Not my will but yours”)

I’ve written these poems starting from a blank slate, meaning the end result often surprises me. This one… this one really surprised me. In short, I started out wanting to write about Maundy Thursday, but ended up writing something peaceful set on Holy Saturday. I also cried a lot while I was writing it (but in a good way, I think?) 

I wanted to reflect on Jesus’s agency and will, when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion. He was so overwhelmed with sorrow, knowing what was about to happen, that he asked God (the Father) if it was possible for him not to suffer. But, having prayed this, also prayed that the Father’s will be done, not his own.

The account is in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46.

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Brown parchment background with text over the top: Don't ask (a poem about Jesus debating on his own terms) Faith in Grey Places

Don’t ask (a poem about the debates Jesus had)

This week I wanted to explore the idea of holding your own in a debate intended to undermine you. I’m looking at it in the context in the week before Jesus’s crucifixion, when he was questioned in the temple. In particular, when he was asked by what authority he said and did the things he did. 

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Profile picture of a young donkey with the text over the top: My neighbour's colt, a poem inspired by Jesus's entry into Jerusalem. Faith in Grey Places

My neighbour’s colt – a poem inspired by Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem

In this poem I wanted explore the idea of following orders in the context of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a week before his crucifixion.

When systemic injustice is uncovered, you often hear this point raised: can the rank and file be blamed for complying with unethical instructions from their commanding officers?

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Neutral choice (a poem inspired by Mary of Bethany when she anointed Jesus with spikenard)

For lent and Easter 2021, I’m writing a series of poems, each exploring the theme of agency through the lens of stories from Jesus’s passion. This first one is inspired by Mary of Bethany when she poured a pint of spikenard over Jesus’s head.

Actually, the gospel accounts vary. 

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Where has the cadence gone? A lament during times without structure.

Note: While the word ‘cadence’ has a number of meanings, this poem uses it primarily in the sense of a sequence of notes or chords that bring a musical phrase to a close.


Where has the cadence gone?
The sentence-ending fitting word,
The coda of a rhythmic song?
When inhale, exhale linger – but not too long.

Continue reading Where has the cadence gone? A lament during times without structure.