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Easter 2013

April 1, 2013

This is the final poem of the Holy Week, now Easter series.Flowers at Luther Place

Why look for living
among the dead, surprise spreads
Jesus on the loose!


Easter Vigil-New Fire

March 30, 2013

This is the third in my Holy Week series, as we walk towards the final of the Three Days.  I start with a short version and then share the full prose poem.

in short

new fire burns brightly
from Luther statues
to streams of our lives

New Fire VigilFire

Back in the day
fires did ignite
around Martin Luther
in 15th century Germany
this fiery reformer
burned away
some church chaff.

This is the night
we burn a fire
in front of a giant
bronze Luther statue
in Washington, DC
our vigil liturgy
a precursor of
reformation proper
a re traditionning of
ancient words and ritual
all leading to a deep river
bathed in holy light.

We start with fire
a new fire
its flames leaping
calling us
into a procession
of light
into storiesWater
of creation
Stories that get us
to the river of life
its waters gathered
into a font of blessing
we all walk
yet one travels deeper
into the water
alone, but not alone
surrounded by witnesses
a community assembles
to celebrate
God given hospitality
in Baptism.

The pastor says,
I want an Easter Vigil baptism!
the pastor doesn’t always get her way!
yet in the profound grace of God,
a candidate arrives.
Tentative at first,
for so many reasons,
over time the love manifest
in quiet smiles
and small conversations
in music
and a space to serve
leading to a path of discovery
God generates a welcome
that is true.

Because Easter is about
new things
the water poured over
an offered head
announces we get
a new family member
an incredible association
where God’s love
promises to join us together,
and God gets
a new agent of
fire love
on earth.

And then,
with all the saints
of every time and place
we travel further
to the table
set with a food
that feeds us
with the body and blood
of Christ dead and risen
a substantial meal
made real
by Friday’s Cross
and Easter morning’s mist
its a meal
for mountaintops
and valleys.

May this be the night
when the fires
of a new Reformation
are ignited
flames not just
before a statue
also burning in heartscandle
and minds
attracting all manner
of feet and hands
in our day
where the tsunami
of work and no work
of love and no love
of infinite information
and opinions
crashes over us.
It is so devastating,
that even NPR commentators
say on air,
“We sure need some grace
in our political discourse!”
(Did Jesus crash NPR?)

May this be the night
when fire
and story
and water
and holy food
converge in a smash up
resurrection joy–
joy that finds a place
in you.

Karen Brau
April 2013

Good Friday 2013-I Thirst

March 29, 2013

This poem is inspired by John 19:28, which is used for one of the 7 last words of Jesus at the crucifixion.

Good Friday 2013

I Thirst








What do you pray
when everyone hates you?
Hanging on that cross
hour after hour
your life blood drips
the crush of the crowd’s venom
is heavier than your heart
that beats nailed in place
suspended above
a swirling swamp of hate.

You pray — I thirst.

So popular is thirst
that millions buy books
and throng to movies
about vampires who practice
life draining activities
to satisfy their thirst.

So real is thirst
that addicts of all types
do anything
and I mean anything
to satisfy the parched pain
of deep thirst.

So profound is thirst
that Jesus on that cross
at the place of the skull
a hill of death
prays aloud an utterance
above the hate filled gazes
of a mad crowd —
I Thirst!

Trying to quench thirst,
maybe he will remain
a little longer.

Trying to quench thirst,
maybe God will intervene
and send that army of angels.

Trying to quench thirst,
he makes a prayer
when everyone hates him —
I thirst…

I Thirst,
for the goodness
of the one who sent me
to bring good news
to the poor
and to the captive
and to the blind
and to the oppressed
and to the dying
the goodness of a God
who makes a table
in the presence of my enemies
pouring libation
into a cup that runneth over
into swollen tongue tasting
the joy of the Lord
one more time.

On the cross
there is a prayer
that soars above
the self righteous toxic waste
that foams from our mouths
back then and still today.

I thirst.

Even a dying heart
can be filled
with holy love.


Holy Thursday-Love in strange places

March 28, 2013

This Holy or Maundy Thursday, I invite you into a poem that emerges from John 13:1-17, often called The Last Supper.

Love in strange placesJesus Washes Feet

Washing up, he bends to
the crusty life of feet
cool water pouring
over bumps and dirt.
He washes up our lives,
freshness for a moment
cleanses in ways that match
the new steps Jesus teaches.

“Jesus washed my feet,”
announces my friend in recovery.
“I was only going for a bed
and some clothes, and now
I’m 10 months clean.”

Maybe Peter was not wrongWashing-feet-by-Leszek-Forczek
feet aren’t the only thing
Jesus washes
his flowing like water love
pours into the cracked parts of us.
He loves us
in strange places,
and we are surprised
to find ourselves
along side Jesus
loving others
in strange places too.

Karen Brau
Holy Thursday, 2013

Luther Place Church Vision

February 5, 2013


In 2017, Luther Place will be a community that looks and feels like God’s kingdom in its beautiful expansiveness, where all are called into relationship with Jesus Christ and one another.  In this place we will use our gifts to act in the world and build the beloved community.

Worship attracts and gathers a range of people with various services and styles, engaging the community in a depth of traditional practices and creative endeavors.

Spiritual Growth is how we are formed as disciples of Jesus Christ, embracing scripture and all opportunities to engage the divine, and nurturing us to contemplate, study, and question our faith.

Justice is a public witness to our faith; we will continue our history of openness to what arrives, standing in solidarity and acting with people who are struggling, in our community, country, and world.

Hospitality is how we- each of us- extend God’s kingdom to a dynamic and diverse city, growing our community and engaging all of God’s children, from the powerless to the powerful.

Community Care is how we sustain a vibrant community, our intentional practice of supporting and nurturing one another in all stages of life, in celebration and sorrow.

MLK — At the Last

January 28, 2013

At the last evenings gatheringMartin-Luther-King
the rumble of AMEN phrases
build to a mountain top
where he went alone
beckoning company up the way
to view the valley of no tuning back
its dream like quality freeing his soul

At the last preparation for brotherhood
the motel room close with the sweat
of threat to this uncharted course
on the balcony breathing evening
moving thru the inconsolable
that burdened and unburdened
all at once

At the last words
“Ben make sure you play
Take My Hand Precious Lord,”
in the meeting tonight.
Play it real pretty.”
Benediction, punctuated by a shot
that wounded dead part of our soul.precious-Lord-take-my-hand

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on,
Let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

2013 — At the Start

At the start of a year
there is some space
for breathing in and out
new dreamsglitter
rainbow colors
shimmer hope
and conjure up courage.

At the start
we want to step over
fissures of last years pain
(darkness still fresh can swallow us whole)
when we do spend time looking back
we witness
where we’ve come from
long time ago

So, at the start, look both ways
thru it all God’s holy mountainPrayer-Circle
moves across geography of space and time
its ancient rumblings of love
resonating in hearts of keen listeners
causing hands to join in a global web
one that shape shifts towards justice

At the start
midwife us, precious Lord
so we move with courage
shine with beauty
burn with passion
and listen carefully to the voices
that lead us home.

When the darkness appears
and the night draws near
and the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet,
Hold my hand,
Take my hand, precious Lord
Lead me home.

January, 2013

Winter Solstice 2012

December 21, 2012

Winter solstice 2012solistice
sunflowers bloom in DC
they shouldn’t be smiling
they’ve been through so much
two Sandy’s
swirling weather and bullets
that leave some sisters
swaying  like skeletons
still small yellow petals
testify to the strength
of solstice light
and the promise
of brighter days
to come.

PKB 12/21