If the owner of the house had known
in what part of the night the thief was coming
The vigilant householder;
an illustration of security,
or, rather, insecurity,
to convince the believer
to be awake and alert.
A warning to be ready
for that uncertain moment
when the Son of Man comes.
No need to stay awake today;
the gates, deadlocks,
screens, alarms, cameras,
and, if required, armed personnel,
will do the job for us
while we sleep on, oblivious.
This image inhabits a changed context,
and is not longer at home;
always a limitation
when we take the stories literally.
No. Not wakefulness;
Living with truth,
courage, generosity and love;
this is the house
into which no robber can break,
the life that no thief can steal.
© Ken Rookes 2013
Another poem for Advent week one year A can be found here.
Eating and drinking and marrying;
life goes on as it always has done.
We rise to the sound of the birds
and add our own peculiar melody
to that of creation. The birds gather
nectar from the grevilleas while we
ready ourselves for our daily tasks.
The world, in these parts,
is still very beautiful, even after
many dry years; and safe.
The whole world, of course, is much bigger
and significantly less safe,
than our own small corner;
and we hear often of the dark places
of fear and human disregard,
of fighting on the other side of the planet,
of refugee camps closer to our secure borders,
and of the homeless and bruised
in the dark corners of our neighbourhood.
Life goes on as it always has done.
But something happened a distant once,
as divine lips brushed gently
across frightened eyes to surprise,
and whispered softly to reassure,
and call claimingly;
declaring that love’s outrageous light
is newly and defiantly present,
that the rules had been rewritten,
and that life’s hitherto tightly defined parameters
are no longer fixed.
© Ken Rookes
Another poem for Advent Year A week one can be found here
He saved others;
touched them, blessed them,
warned them, loved them,
heard them, healed them.
He reached out to embrace them,
waited for them,
gave them permission,
wept with them.
He told them stories that lead to life,
laughed at their foibles,
offered them freedom.
He placed among them, children;
invited them to learn,
asked them to listen,
sat with them in silence.
He came into their houses,
entered their lives,
ate bread with them,
shared their wine.
He argued the point with them,
got angry, taught defiance,
and walked with them
on the road to the kingdom.
He whispered where God might be found;
pointed towards hope,
and showed them the way.
He saved others;
and felt no need to save himself.
© Ken Rookes 2013
Another poem for the Reign of Christ year C can be found here
I could never get much excited by the notion
of Paradise / heaven / the hereafter.
It sometimes seems to be a construct of the church,
attached to the teachings of Jesus
and distracting us from his command
to get on with the work of love.
At best, it is a bit-player, thrust
on to the centre-stage, to claim the spotlight.
There it assumes the role
of an all-controlling Master of Ceremonies
through whom ecclesiastical authorities,
popes, priests and everybody in-between,
direct the thinking and the behaviour
of the masses. If you want to get there,
as opposed to the other place,
remember; we hold the keys!
It suited, too, the civil authorities
with its message of divinely ordered patience.
No need for revolution, in Paradise
you will receive your reward / recompense
for all the indignities, pains and brutalities
suffered during your earthly sojourn!
In Luke’s story of the passion
the word is placed upon the lips
of the cross-suspended Jesus,
as he responds to the justice and compassion
of a fellow criminal. Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.
To die with Jesus; perhaps this
is the proper meaning of Paradise.
© Ken Rookes.
Another poem for The Reign of Christ Year C can be found here
It doesn’t really matter what we do
in our own finite occupation
of planet earth; so one theory goes.
All the pollution and the global warming
and the depletion of the fishing stocks
and the extinction of the various species;
not our problem.
And all the refugee camps in border regions
and the ragged children on the smoking
garbage mountains and all the repression
and the fear
and the greedy corporate exploitation
and all the political lies; about these things
we need have no concern.
Because Jesus is coming back.
Yeah, Jesus is coming back
and he’ll wave his hand, his magic
Holy Spirit hand, and the new heaven
will replace the old, and the new earth
will take over from the old,
and everything will be clean and sparkling
and smell like a pair of shiny new shoes,
fresh out of their box.
Or so one theory goes.
© Ken Rookes
A further poem for this coming Sunday can be found here