Bible People: Letting Judas Down

What do we do when people are unlike us? Do we, like Jesus, still call them friends?

Source: Bible People: Letting Judas Down


Who is My mother?

sayler cover april 10 full (2) (640x474)Stone Jars

She hadn’t meant to check the flow of wine,
but, when it ended, suddenly, their em-
bryonic time together ran out too, springing
across those six steps of the universe
and descending into six stone jars
of water.

For one creative moment, they rehearsed
another hour, transparent,
with transformations yet to come,
and, still, He asked, so like a child,
What has this to do with Me or you?”

She had no answer for Him,
no command, no sign
but poured, instead, instructions
onto the waiting stewards
of the wedding wine.

Do as He says,” she simply said,
but making it as clear as water
that she knew Him as The One
to trust.

by a crowd half-crazed with disbelief,
she sought Him – called Him home –
like any good mother apt to calm
a storm with solemn warnings
and warm bowls of chicken soup.

But He’d grown so far beyond the womb –
empty now, swept clean –
she scarcely knew what He might mean
by sowing words, seeded,
seemingly, with thorns:

Who is My mother?”

How could this Child she’d borne
say such a thing, and yet, she knew
the sound of truth which stoned
her laboring heart with pain:

Whoever does God’s will,
alone can bear the jar
of mothering again.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2016
from the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014

Shaking Salt

A recent post on The Word Center discussed Matthew 5 where Jesus tells His followers, “You are the salt of the earth,” bringing to mind this poem:

Shaking Salt
by Mary Harwell Sayler

We want
We taste
We crave this old

Body cells
Electrical charges
never brackish

Our pores exude
Washers of wounds

Blood pressure
Bread leavening

Too much
Too little
ruins a thing

better tasting
Humor taken
with a grain

Plain speech

Salt of earth salt
of earth
You are the


Included in Mary’s book of Bible-based poems Outside Eden,©2014

Living in Eternity

The Escape
by Mary Harwell Sayler

Day after day I think of death
descending on us
like that fish hawk on the pond,
the dark wings
towering through each window
of our house and settling
on the sofa
where we like to rest.

Some call death
an osprey, kindly and benign
with its sweet brown and white
seersucker breast and tail,
but they forget
the downward hook of the beak,
the prickly spicules on the feet,
the claws that claw through the
thickest cushions, letting nothing,
get away but

love and spirit.

©2015, ©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. “The Escape” first saw print in the Journey’s End anthology then was included in the poetry book, Living in the Nature Poem, published by Hiraeth Press.

Prose poem on Lot’s Wife

This poem originally appeared in 2012 on the Bible People blog and in 2014 was included in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books.

Prose poem by Mary Harwell Sayler
Lot’s Wife Visits Genesis 19

No one bothered to name her, not even as an infant when the streets intersecting Sodom and Gomorrah gave birth to her and held on tight, bouncing her back on the bungee of an uncut umbilical cord. She married, made a home, and brought forth future generations in her girls. The older nameless ones wed and started families before the Angels came, announcing unnatural disasters, but what did Lot think he was doing, offering up the other two anonymous girls to get the single-minded Sodomites away from unclean thoughts?

His wife hardly had a warning – only orders to flee as an unidentified Angel grabbed her hand and told her to hurry, hurry, hurry. She felt so tired, so angry with Lot for saying he would sacrifice their two youngest girls to the mob, so confused by all the commotion, but hand in hand with an Angel, she ran. She ran. She ran, and no one knows why she stopped: To ask a question? To drop to her knees? To see what would happen to her children and grandchildren left behind?

As she lagged behind the Angel’s orders, no one dared to turn and see where she had gone. No one dared to turn and ask if she could make it to the mountain by herself. Later, when Lot and the two girls reached the little town of Zoar and saw salt outcroppings dashed across the plains, they noticed one shaped like The Wife, The Mother, but no one bothered to name her, not even then, not even as the pillar of her community, preserved in salt-dried tears.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. For more on prose poems, see “Do real poets read and write prose poems?” on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog and “From Gospel to prose poem” posted In a Christian Writer’s Life also by Mary Sayler.

Prose poem parable

Children Sulking in the Public Square
Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35

And Jesus said:
To what shall I compare this generation?

You’re like kids, complaining to their playmates: “You don’t play right! When we played Wedding, you did not dance. When we played Funeral, you did not beat your chest and weep and wail and mourn.” Oh, grow up! When John the Baptist came playing Funeral, you said, “He has a demon!” And when The Son of Man came in like a Wedding, you said, “What a pig! He drinks too much wine and with such sinful people.” At least, that’s how it seems but seek some discernment and you’ll see some things differently – as Wisdom often does.

©2015, 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. The above prose poem first appeared in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.

Present in the Hand of God

Turning Handsprings
by Mary Harwell Sayler


“Give me a hand,
would you?” — a hand-
some metaphor for asking help when feeling hand-
i-capped by lack of time on hand,
energy lagging behind the task one has been handed.


In Michelangelo’s creation on the Sistine ceiling, the Hand
of God stretches, pointedly, toward Adam’s hand:
the human palm turned from a firm hand
shake, thumb down, into a limp hand
loosely situated to receive a synaptic leap from Hand
to hand
as heaven and earth keep a hand
in designing this hand-
book to be handed
down for generations to those hand-
picked to hold the well-woven hand-
kerchief, handy
now for wiping ancient markings from the hands.


If I hand
myself over to Your keeping, Lord, will You handle
me carefully — perhaps hand-
feed and caress me, O Living Hand
of God? Give me Your Hand
in marriage. Let me be Your Hand-
made hand-
maiden — Your Hand-
i-work reflecting Your likeness in my hand-
mirror, hand-held along the life-line of Your undying Hand.

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler. All Rights Reserved. The poem first appeared in the poetry book, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.

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