30 Nov 2016

A Holy Hallelujah – A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
16 Nov 2016

Crucifixion Night 2016

I had to get up out of the muck and mud slinging – you can’t sling mud without getting your own hands dirty – so I climbed up the only thing high enough to be looking down on the world, a cross. I had some help up; some friends who knew I needed crucifying nailed me. From up here I can see a lot of other crosses, people put there against their wills, the people

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 10
14 Nov 2016

Anointing of the Sick – A Reflection

Anointing of the Sick Song of Songs 5:2-8   What voice called when I lay silent on my bed?   Was it the voice of my Beloved, soft as the thief who enters when the light has fled; come to break my lesser loves from where they lay in jars and by a sacred power change the spilling oil– the slow oil of suffering into the shining oil of gladness poured on my hands, dripping

Daniel Hyland 2
02 Nov 2016

A Psalm for Tearless Eyes

Why art thou not cast down, o my soul, Why art thine eyes not flowing as rivers after the winter thaw, washing away thine every stain and uncleanness? Thou liest with unplucked eyes and uncircumcised arms and unquenched passions for the unquenchable fire. If a thou burnest a candle from both ends thou art in timeless darkness. Why, o my soul, dost thou not sleep in peace, since thou eatest the bread of idleness? Instead,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
21 Sep 2016

Walking on Waves

I am always walking on waves – the formless void of earth Whose walls are made of the wind And whose roof is the cloud Like Peter I sink in the storm Thinking it is the storm outside And not the Charybdis within Although I am looking only inside I reach up before I look up Hands have more faith than eyes What comes into an eye twists And colors everything wrong You see with

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
24 Aug 2016

#OneLifeMatters

Lest I be misunderstood: ____ Lives Matter because this one does.   One life matters, there is no other Passed down to you from Son to mother A life that only begins with death A spirit bequeathed with latest breath A breath that whispered a single Word That by the hosts of Heaven was heard And even the depths of Hell were stirred As living corpses were given breath Having died with that one in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
10 Aug 2016

Hey Jude

~Apologies to Paul McCartney   Hey Jude, don’t leave her burning Save a lost soul out of the fire Remember, hate the garment spotted with sin Then you’ll begin to make it better Hey Jude, build up your faith You were made to go out and get her In God’s love and in the Spirit pray Then you can say it can be better And any time you feel hope’s gone, hey Jude, keep on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
27 Jul 2016

St Matthew

Matthew was only working the system Didn’t make him right or wrong, just smart You know you would have done the same If you had been the one playing his part You’ve got to play by the rules If you want change the game Then the rulemaker came And nothing was the same   Why would the rabbi sit and eat with you? Doesn’t he know you are not a good Jew? Consorting with sinners

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
13 Jul 2016

Two Theives

Everything is contained in the crux Alpha and omega, beginning and end Foundation and destruction Shame and glorification Sin and redemption Wrath and love As infinity figure-eights around We get two sides to the story Right and left, down and up Scorn and supplication Sheep and goats Heaven and hell Let’s steal a look at the two thieves Also lifted up on the cross drawing us One on the left hand, on on the right

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
29 Jun 2016

Ascension

This could be the sky Jesus flew up through And this could be the ground with the city around Where he left his disciples to wait for him too Because we still stand looking where he went Even though the angel is here we don’t seem to hear That he went away so we could stay and be sent Perhaps we are those same five hundred fed Who want to be given things and make

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
20 Jun 2016

Charred Pillars

Have  not the poets said “The woods are God’s temple”? But throughout time man hath said, “The waters and woods are gods!” So they whisper in the wilderness, they shout from the mountain’s brow, raise arms in homage to the forest crown, and kneel to honour the ‘sacred’ ground Yet their precious Nature holds a scourge whipping fire-cords upon the earth; pillars of pine blaze a burnished bronze, the wood-god’s spirit spirals away in smoke

Johanna Byrkett 0
15 Jun 2016

Dressing the Dead

This weekend, we buried a beloved member of our parish, retired priest Father Gregory Heers. As a member of our burial society, I had the privilege of participating in his preparation. We wash and anoint the body, and dress the reposed, in this case in the vestments he wore in caring for us. It is humbling to be allowed to pay your respects to another member of the body in this way; and, like Lent,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
01 Jun 2016

Coffee Hour

An essential part of any Orthodox Sunday morning liturgy is the coffee hour. Whether it’s literally just coffee and baked goods, or a full meal, this is where the Church, renewed as Christ’s body through the Eucharist, practices self-care before going out to work in the world. Everything culminates in coffee hour Not that being on time isn’t important, But the Kingdom will be blessed before you’re there Just like the food will be blessed

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
23 May 2016

The Blur in the Brushstrokes

Particulars matter. Of course, so do Universals and Forms. I hold to a healthy mix of Aristotle and Plato, tempered by Jesus and his word. I find it interesting that the particulars make up the whole, even if the universal was set into place first. For example, God said, Let there be light, and there was; then he went on to make the sun, moon, and stars. The universal preceded the particulars. However, we live

Johanna Byrkett 0
18 May 2016

When You Give Death Its Sting

When you give death its sting And it is finished Nothing left but darkness and torn curtains And a bloody mess You’ve crucified Christ afresh And you’re both hanging dead How do you get to the resurrection? What gets you both down? Joseph and Nicodemus came sorrowful Begging for the body Can you feel that sorrow, too For your Lord’s death for you? When you realize you have killed him And so have no life

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
04 May 2016

The Hart of the Morning

The Hart of the Morning – Memories of a Song by the Spectator’s of Christ’s Passion (click to listen) 1 For three long hours a darkness that could be felt pressed down on the land. Those who came only to see what they could see left those who came to love and those whose duty it was to look. The hillside was still as death. From a dying man, the necrotic darkness was ripped in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
25 Apr 2016

Have You Noticed Beauty?

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have noticed that many people claim that humans are animals. After all, we are mammals and are classified as Homo sapiens in the scientific realm. But that is

Johanna Byrkett 2
20 Apr 2016

Jesus Prayer Rope

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, the sinner” + Up early in the morning to pray At the hour we can still half believe Our dreams and that the sun Still comes up after the darkness + Like an invalid by the roadside Almost unable to rise up from bed We grasp our rope to pull ourselves Knowing he’s holding the other end + We sit between the Pharisee and The

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
06 Apr 2016

Great Lent 2016 Week 2

The poems below were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 The first icon was written By the hand of God in red clay And the first kiss it received Was to fill it with breath But the first iconoclast Made the icon just a picture Removing it from the temple And preparing it for the fire And so the prototype came In

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0