Written by: Rachael Keefe

Heads Up

I am in the midst of vacation and just don’t quite have it in me to say all the things I’d like to say about this week’s lectionary readings. My …

Heads Up


I am in the midst of vacation and just don’t quite have it in me to say all the things I’d like to say about this week’s lectionary readings. My recommendation is to listen to those who call all Christians, particularly white Christians, to be repairers of the breach. Pay attention to the promise of God’s presence with us and the transformation that is possible when we remove all that binds us to gloom and separates us from one another. Let us also ask ourselves what weighs us down and if we are willing to allow God to remove it with a simple word or touch.

Here is a poem based on the Luke text from Negotiating the Shadows:

Heads Up

Winter holds tightly to spring –
few signs of warmth, of promise,
break through frozen ground.
Hope eludes me while cold
gray fog weaves around my feet
like a stray cat driven by hunger.
I want to lift my eyes,
search for signs of new life,
but I am too tired, overburdened.
This long season of darkness weighs heavily,
a yoke I am unable to bear

I complain after a season of heaviness –
How hard it must have been for her!
Eighteen years of staring at the ground,
so weighted down by the burden of living
she could not hold her head up.
A spirit crippled her, bent her right over,
left her unable to stand on her own.

You saw her in the crowd, on a Sabbath.
She couldn’t have looked you in the eye,
but You must have seen her hidden under that spirit.
She was strong enough to walk,
to come when You called her.
A simple Word,
a light touch,
and she stood straight and tall,
with praise on her lips.

You broke Tradition
to make her whole.
Liberation – a just cause, worthy of risk.
Why are Your people so afraid to follow Your lead?

So many spirits to cripple us,
keep our heads down.
We bend.
We break.
We barely hear Your call.
We honor Tradition more than ourselves,
more than we praise You.
How many of us go through life
seeing even less than the ground under our feet?

Call me out from under this spirit.
I will trade my yoke for Yours.
I will speak Your Word.
Lift the eyes of those who bend.
Free us all to stand tall
and sing Your praise.

Rachael Keefe, Negotiating the Shadows: Daily Meditations for Lent (Eugene: Wifp & Stock, 2010), 9-10.

RCL – Year C – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost – August 21, 2016
Jeremiah 1:4-10 with Psalm 71:1-6 or
Isaiah 58:9b-14 with Psalm 103:1-8 and
Hebrews 12:18-29 and
Luke 13:10-17

Photo: CC0 image by Jill Wellington

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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

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