Remembering the SIEV X

The SIEV X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X) sank on this day, twenty years ago, on its way to Christmas Island with more than 400 refugees on board. 353 men, women and children, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, were drowned. It is still unclear how much the Australian authorities knew of the boat’s situation, and whether more could have been done by way of rescue.

Now I see

Haiku for the enlightened

The blind beggar sees
enough light to realise
that Jesus can help.

Just a glimmer, but
The smallest fragment of hope
leads him to shout out.

Blind Bartimaeus
has heard the rumours; he cries,
Jesus, have mercy!

The crowd insists: Hush
Don’t trouble the teacher! But
Jesus has heard him.

Jesus stops. Call him!
Take heart! they tell the blind man,
he is calling you.

The teacher asks, What
should I do for you? Let me
see again, Jesus!

Your faith makes you well
Sight restored, Bartimaeus
follows on the way

Open our eyes, Lord.
We, who grope in the darkness,
would see, and follow.

© Ken Rookes 2021

At your right and left

Haiku for servants

Teacher, will you grant
whatever we ask of you?
They ask, cunningly.

What is it you want
He asked brothers James and John
when they came to him.

In your glory time,
grant us to sit at your right
hand, and at your left.

Jesus must have sighed.
You don’t know what you’re asking
haven’t heard my words.

Can you drink my cup
or share in my baptism?
Sure we can, Jesus!

Yes, you will follow.
Death will be my baptism,
suffering my cup.

The Gentile rulers
play at power, lording it;
Don’t imitate them!

Would you become great?
You must become a servant;
be the slave of all.

The Son of Man came
not to be served, but to serve;
and to give his life.

The sighs continue.
Many still play power games;
refusing to hear.

© Ken Rookes 2021

We have left everything

Haiku of the journey

He had kept the law,
this man who wanted to live
the life eternal.

Jesus looks with love.
One thing you lack. Sell the lot,
give it to the poor.

For your poverty
treasure in heaven. The cost
proves to be too great.

How hard for the rich
to enter God’s realm. Camels
squeezing through needles!

Relax, he wasn’t
talking to us. Just this man!
We can keep our stuff.

We who have comfort,
warm, with three meals; perhaps we
are among the rich.

Who, then, can be saved?
For mortals, not possible,
but God can do it.

What you leave behind
to follow, you will receive
back a hundredfold.

In the age to come
all will be reversed. The first
are last; the last, first.

© Ken Rookes 2021

In Patriarchy

Haiku of the powerless

In patriarchy
women are commodities;
discard when it suits.

They ask, Can a man
lawfully divorce his wife?
How will he answer?

What did Moses say?
A simple certificate
to dismiss will do.

You misogynists!
Because you are hard of heart,
Moses gave this law!

In God’s great purpose
two people come together
to be joined as one.

Together as one
in mutual support, love;
marriage is God’s gift.

The twelve gate-keepers
were dismissing the children;
Jesus takes offence.

Let the children come;
the kingdom belongs to them.
They bring God’s blessings.

Powerless children;
by grace alone they receive.
So, too, must you come.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Not one of us

Haiku of welcome

Wasn’t one of us,
casting out in Jesus’ name;
we told him to stop.

Complained to Jesus.
No probs. He’s not against us,
must be on our side!

When deeds of power
are done in my name, they bear
witness to my words.

The great welcomer;
Jesus looks a what we do,
not at our Tee-shirt.

When people bless you
because you carry my name,
they too, will be blessed.

Don’t make barriers
that cause the weak to stumble;
work to welcome them.

Let nothing stop you
from living the kingdom life.
It is ev’rything.

The kingdom’s good salt
is in you. Share peace and salt
with everyone.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Making matters clear

Haiku of servanthood

Avoiding the crowds,
hanging with his disciples,
making matters clear.

Betrayal awaits
the Son of Man, and then death;
then there’s more to come.

His words seem riddles
to his friends. Afraid to ask,
not understanding.

They were arguing
as they travelled. Which of them
would be the greatest.

They are embarrassed
when he asks them, will not say
why they had argued.

Those who would be first
must be last of all, must learn
to be a servant.

He takes a small child
in his arms. When you welcome
such, you welcome me.

Some self-styled Christians
climb the ladder, reach the top,
then forget to serve.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Who am I?

Haiku of the question.

Near Caesarea
he turns to his disciples,
asks them, Who am I?

Some say Elijah;
others, John the Baptiser,
one of the prophets.

But what do you say?
he asks them, looking for an
answer more profound.

Peter finds the words.
You must be the Messiah!
(Whatever that means.)

The one that God sends
will suffer, be rejected
by those in power.

When he speaks of death
the disciples are disturbed.
Weren’t expecting that!

Peter finds the words.
Don’t talk of such things, Jesus;
the Christ cannot die.

Those who would follow
the paths to life, they must learn
to lay life aside.

They must be ready
to deny themselves, to take
their cross upon them

For the gospel’s sake
you must do the things I do;
you must die to self.

© Ken Rookes 2021


Haiku of the impudent answer

Jesus is in Tyre,
a coastal city up north
in Gentile country.

He is travelling
incognito, needs a break.
But the word gets out.

A woman finds him.
Her daughter is sick; she wants
Jesus to heal her.

The woman bows down
at his feet. She’s desperate,
begging him to help.

You’re not one of us
I’ve been sent to feed the kids,
not to feed the dogs.

The woman insists,
impudent. Even the dogs
get to eat the scraps!

Jesus laughs out loud.
Quite right, great answer! Go home,
your daughter is healed.

Holiday over,
Jesus makes his way back home;
brings blessing and hope.

They were astounded.
At his hands the deaf and mute
find healing and life.

© Ken Rookes 2021