Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (C), May 8, 2016 - John 17:20-26 and Acts 16:16-34

He Asks That They Be One

He asks that they be one just as
The Father and he are one;
It's not an idle prayer because
It seems we've only begun
To realize just what he means -
He never meant to divide;
The love that opens you to harm
Is love which is bona fide.
The day will come when you and I
Will never, by faith, condemn;
But each will know the other just
As Christ made God known to them.

Scott L. Barton

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

(The following poem can also be seen through the archives to the right for 2013, or at

Blessed Be the Tie That Binds

We sang it yesterday with gusto;
The old timers love it,
 - and the new ones will;
What, do you suppose,
Did Paul and Silas sing,
Bound with ties, as they were
To the walls of that Philippi jail?
Perhaps you, too, have read
How Bill Coffin sang in a D.C. jail,
After marching for peace on the Capitol steps,
"Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people,"
His Messiah in his heart,
Encouraging the others there,
And probably himself, too,
Binding them together in the same One
Who set free that slave girl,
And who re-binds us still,
Re-ligaments us all,
So our re-ligion, at its best,
Is the song we have to sing,
No matter what.

Scott L. Barton

Acts 16:16-34

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Sixth Sunday of Easter (C), May 1, 2016 - Acts 16:9-15


For my poem on John 14:23-29, "Remember how, two weeks ago, 'The Father and I are one,' he said?" also for Easter 6, please go to the archives at the right for May 5, 2013, or go to

A New Normality

Why do you think that they supposed
A place of worship was where clothes
Were washed? The women, there, would be!
- Down by the river, where you see
Still, those who for their families care,
In third world countries everywhere.
There, Lydia, by Paul baptized,
And her whole family, then comprised
The founding members of the Way
In Macedonia, arrayed
Not just in royal fabric's hue,
But were by love and prayer imbued,
Which wove their hospitality
Into a new normality.

Scott L. Barton

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (C), April 24, 2016 - Revelation 21:1-6

Icon of the Revelation to St. John
(source unknown)

For my poem on Acts 11:1-18, "How Interesting Their Minds Were Changed," also for Easter 5, please see the archives to the right for April 28, 2013, or simply go to

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Christ is the alpha and omega,
The beginning and end,
The be all and end all,
The whole ball of wax.

Christ, the bride adorned,
Forsaking all others,
For better, for worse;
Nothing do we lack.

Never out on a limb,
Or up a creek without a paddle,
Or at a complete loss;
Christ has your back.

All things new,
Trustworthy, true,
Your meat and your drink,
Love to the max.

Scott L. Barton

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Fourth Sunday of Easter (C), April 17, 2016 - Acts 9:36-43

Cappella Palatina di Palermo (mid-12th century)

For my poem on John 10:22-30, "When In the Portico of Solomon," please go to the archives to the right for Easter 4, 2013, or

Some Miracle!

Though no daughter of Samantha and Darrin,
This Tabitha bewitched Joppa
By her good works and charity,
But also provided the opportunity
For Peter to follow his Lord
And pull off a Lazarus trick.
Then, to top it all off,
Peter went and stayed at the home of
One Simon the tanner,
As unclean a fellow as you'd ever meet,
By way of his occupation and all,
And apparently didn't even hold his nose,
Let alone wriggle it.

Now, that's some miracle!

Scott L. Barton

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Third Sunday of Easter (C), April 10, 2016 - Acts 9:1-6 (7-20); John 21:1-19

Pietro da Cortona: Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul (1631)

(For my poem just on John 21:1-19, "Omega 3 Antidote to Scarcity," please go to the archives to the right for April 14, 2013, or see

Miraculous Responses

The fishy thing is, Ananias went,
When reason told him that it made no sense - 
Except the Lord had called, and said to go!
Would you? Would you say, "Here I am," and so
Become just like those many others who
Those same words said, though didn't have a clue
Of what it meant? Except, we know; that phrase,
Each time it's said - to us who read - conveys
A risky proposition up ahead,
One where, without God's help, you end up dead.
But Ananias, standing in a line
Of faithful, almost to the start of time,
Responded, and so risked a trip to Saul,
And thus began a church - which fished for all.

Scott L. Barton

(Note: The words, "Here am I" (or "Here I am") by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Mary (Jesus's mother) and Ananias all portend some risky business that the LORD has in store for those who answer.)

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter, April 3, 2016 - Acts 5:27-32

He Qi: Risen Lord 

For my poem from 2013 on the John 20:19-31 text, 
"Oh, Why Do You Think that He Said to Them, 'Peace'?" please see
or access it from the archives to the right.

Still, Still, Still

"You're determined to bring this man's blood upon us!"
Said the priest to disciples who would not be shushed,
Since the Spirit of God would not let them be still
About Jesus, now raised, whom e'en death would not kill;
Thus the gift of the Spirit they had to obey
Was forgiveness for all! They could not turn away
From the truth, which is love, and the measure of God,
Who still calls us to tell, who still pushes, still prods.

Scott L. Barton

When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Bonus Poem: Good Friday, 2016, Québec City

Good Friday, 2016, Québec City

I learned about the holy door,
Just one of seven in all the world,
A tourist here at Holy Week,
Though nothing holy did I seek.

Returning to the train to ride,
I thought that I might turn aside
And see this sight, perhaps pass through,
Before I bid Québec adieu.

I thought I could not pass, until
I read that persons of goodwill
Might open up the heavy gate,
With love converting any weight.

"Je suis la porte" (Jesus a dit),
So said the sign, this Good Friday,
As I approached the holy door
I felt that I could not ignore.

Inside, a man in collar stood
In welcome, and I understood
It no mistake to pass inside
Where early pilgrims turned aside.

Then looking at the ceiling, high,
The wood and gold all pleased the eye,
I then turned back to give my card
To him who'd offered kind regards.

A "Presby minister," he read,
"A fellow Christian, then," he said;
My thanks, and his to me, alors,
Had opened other holy doors.

When all that's different now divides,
Christ still, by death, would open wide
To each, the love that ends all strife,
And help us sanctify this life.

Scott L. Barton