Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
Everywhere I look
I see words,
hear a voice that calls me
to love my enemies,
to bear fruits of justice,
to live the grace,
to welcome the strangers,
to visit the prisoner,
to forgive without counting,
to have compassion on the wounded,
to care for my neighbour,
to extend generous hospitality,
to not be afraid,
to treat my fellow mortals
with dignity and respect,
to gather treasure in heaven
and not upon earth,
to guard the interests of the weak,
the vulnerable, the widow and the orphan,
to give the cup of cold water to the one who thirsts,
to offer food to the one who hungers,
to be a servant,
to make peace,
to be the least,
to follow Jesus.
Everywhere I look.
And these blaspheming party leaders
who tell me they are Christian,
want me to vote for them
so that they may deal cruelly
with the weeping and broken ones,
in order that boats might be stopped.
© Ken Rookes 2013
Put them to shame, Jesus:
those pompous guardians of Sabbath law
whose self-enforced enslavement
causes them to overlook
things of wonder, grace and beauty.
Put them to shame, Jesus:
who kill hope and close their eyes
to love’s possibilities.
The law has not saved the woman,
bent and broken for eighteen years;
she is also a child of God.
Teach them, Jesus,
that liberation and truth will not be denied,
and that grace abounds and extends,
unconfined by our fears
or the hardness of our hearts.
Put them to shame, Jesus;
put them to shame.
© Ken Rookes
Another poem for this coming Sunday is here
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant. Jeremiah 1:10
The emergence of a civilization
delivers one certainty, and only one:
that it will one day fall.
This cycle of rising and decline happens slowly;
a stop-motion animation
condensed into narrow chapters
in a one-volume history of the world.
The boy-prophet, Jeremiah,
was appointed, according to the ancient text,
to preside over such comings and goings
among a handful of middle-eastern nations;
including his own.
Nationalism, it seems,
matters little to God.
This unorthodox divinity cares nothing
for notions of national destiny;
still embarrassingly popular
in our own steadily unwinding era.
National pride is yet conscripted
to provide delusional justification
for all manner of greedy, shameful
and violent activities.
The planet and its people continue to weep
beneath the burden
The promise of national restoration
flashed unexpectedly among Jeremiah’s
layered images of dark destruction,
bringing glimmers of hope.
Two and a half millennia later
the darkness is denser,
and hope’s shadow
is all that remains.
© Ken Rookes 2013.
Another poem for this coming Sunday is found here
A little impression in acrylic 50cm x 40 cm.
Glen Helen Gorge is about 120 km west of Alice Springs in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
While we were asleep
the language of time began to change.
realities lost their substance.
Ideas, recently new,
were rendered obsolete.
No longer effective,
they were promptly shredded
and used to pack trinkets.
Trends evolved into essentials;
while formerly iron-clad necessities
shrivelled to nothing dust,
and were swept away.
Even beauty became something fearful,
ugly and untrue.
We woke up as aliens,
confused and perplexed.
A period of dislocation passed
while we learned a new language,
and began to recognise again
the blurry edges of truth;
with a shape somehow different,
but undiminished, glowing strong.
Grace, too, remains;
and demanding that we speak.
© Ken Rookes
God the failed gardener;
sleeves rolled up,
hands roughened and calloused
from clearing the stones
and building them into walls and tower.
Blistered with digging and hoeing,
skin darkened from all the pruning
and all the sun,
but the vineyard is unfruitful.
among the empty branches;
among the fear and the voting
and the credit cards,
among the accumulators, the manipulators
and the gate-keepers
among the networks and the systems
and the tent-cities,
among the indices and the vaults
and the shock-jocks,
among the editorials and the card-gamers
and the judgement-sitters,
among the candidates and the slogans
and the low denominators,
among the investors and the magnates
and the number-gatherers,
among the light-thieves, the chance-dealers
and the hope-stealers.
God, the failed gardener
among the sad empty branches
for some generosity, some love
and some mercy;
but the vineyard
© Ken Rookes 2013
Strange stuff, faith;
Across the millennia
we mortals have tried to quantify it
and make it into some sort of device
by which we claim the almighty’s attention.
Then, as if we have a particular right
by virtue of some contractual arrangement,
we use it to force the divinity’s hand
so that he, (historically speaking,
it tends to be a ‘he’), our captive deity
will give us what we require of him.
Thus by faith we pray
earnest letters of request to our santa god,
hang our eager stockings
and wait for them to be filled.
No, that’s not fair; I’m being overly cynical
and I apologise. By faith we see
through closed and prayerful eyes,
and with eyelids opened we peer
beyond earth’s dust; to behold
a tantalising vision of all that could be.
All that is good, and full of virtue,
all that is possible, and full of hope.
This shall come to pass, should enough people
truly trust themselves to the ungraspable
spirit-wind’s unknowable future.
With this faith they whisper their request:
your will be done, and enter into that rare place
where neither life nor death matters;
and where grace is the truest hope,
and all that is possible is love.
© 2010 Ken Rookes