Young Wesley does it again

A second Young Wesley post.

The strips are a reflection drawing upon various youth groups I have been associated with, from the 1960s onwards.

My first youth group, Ashby Methodist in Manifold Heights, Geelong, is holding a reunion in a couple of months. It was seminal in my own formation, and former members will note points of recognition.

This strip remains one of my favourites. The Magnolia room was known as the Mongolia room among youth group members. Most disrespectful. We never really did lay claim to a space of our own, but we did subject the congregation to some outrageous youth services. The urn is true, (and was true in a number of congregations that I have been associated with), and gave rise to the famous – and rare – Young Wesley tea towel

The congregation is now a part of Western Heights, a little up the road, having eventually united with the former Presbyterians more than a decade after church union. The old bluestone building continues its life as a mosque.

Tell it not in Gath

2 Samuel 1:17-27


The stories are messy and convoluted:

the struggles between David and King Saul;

further complicated by the deep love

that David shares with the son of his rival.

Jonathan, hero, and great leader in his own right,

would have been a match for David,

but it never came to that.

Jonathan dies, a death with honour,

alongside his father and two brothers

in battle with the Philistines,

and David is left to weep.

How he weeps! In all of the scriptures

is there a cry of deeper anguish,

a lament that speaks of a darker place,

a tearing of love’s loss more agonised

than that of David

as he mourns for his beloved Jonathan?

There is no embarrasment in love

as the soon-to-be-anointed king

declares of his friend:

your love to me was wonderful,

passing the love of women.


© Ken Rookes

Why trouble the teacher?


With his opening line

the distraught father, one Jairus by name,

grabs the teacher’s attention.

Finishing the sentence,

he claims his sympathy:

“My little daughter

is at the point of death.”


Jairus and his nameless wife

are distraught at the prospect

of losing their beloved child;

they will not lightly let her go.

Tears and wailing are not enough

to bind her to them, nor the embrace

of their arms, nor even their love,

to tether to earth her soul.

The well-respected leader of the synagogue

does not hesitate to sacrifice his dignity

upon hope’s altar.

Begging on his knees, he risks

offending his colleagues

as he pleads for help

from the alleged blasphemer.


Perhaps the unnamed girl

was particularly diminutive,

or else her father used the adjective

to indicate his affection.

By her given age the girl

was no more than a year, or thereabouts,

short of that which might have seen

her betrothal.

At twelve years old,

her parents know well,

that the time is not far away

from the good letting-go. For now

they will brave the derision

and take their chances

with the teacher.


© Ken Rookes 2012

Peace! Be Still!

Without the benefit of radar rain mapping

or Doppler wind display,

Jesus, known among the faithful

as Son of the great Creator-Parent,

manages to deal with the storm.

First century gospel writers

had no hesitation in promoting

the miracle-working capacities of their Lord;

evidence, as it was, of his status as an equal

within the Godhead.

Hey, storm-subduing Jesus,

orderer of waves

and director of the wind,

we could use a few miracles, too!

How about sending some rain down here;

you know that we need it.

And while you’re at it

there are a few other storms

that could do with some divine intervention.

The blizzards of relationships, frozen,

bitter and unforgiven;

swirling tornados of fear and certainty

catching up all in their path;

the burning maelstroms of greed and accumulation,

always hungry for more;

cyclones of despair that build large and wild

to eliminate hope;

the thunderous lightning that deafens, blinds

and denies that which is true and good;

squalls and tempests that accuse and abuse,

causing damage difficult to repair;

and the destructive hurricanes

released by rampant egos

lusting unrelentingly for power.


Speak the word, Jesus!


© Ken Rookes 2012