How can these things be?


Mysteries and intimations;
things unseen,
unknown and unspoken.
The merest flicker of light
shining in darkness;
gleaming life amidst earth’s dust,
passing beyond birth’s waters
into realms of the spirit.
Places of healing, hope,
regions of truth;

The story-teller from provinces,
famous for his riddles
and tales with unexpected endings,
spoke often of wonders,
things half glimpsed among the shadows,
fleeting and never quite grasped.
No, you can’t grab hold of the wind.
His erudite nocturnal visitor
can only shake his head
and mumble unanswerable questions;
How can these things be?

The mysteries are many,
deep, disturbing and full of wonder:
life, labelled eternal,
generous love, called grace,
discipleship of the passionate kind,
and costly sacrifice.

© Ken Rookes 2015

But you cannot bear them now

Spirit of Truth, Advocate:
you see all things,
know all things.
Reveal it,
show us; but not too much.
Open our eyes and let us see;
but, if you don’t mind,
keep hidden those things
that might cause anxiety
or shame.

You know what we can bear;
just a little for now.
A single LED rather than a floodlight.
There are scenes we would rather not view,
stories we would rather not hear.
Tales of suffering and cruelty
of which we prefer to remain ignorant.
Injustices, that, intruding into our pleasant reality,
might impel us into action
or compel us to change.

It’s not that we lack courage
to take on the many things,
but one at a time;
if that’s all right.

© Ken Rookes 2015

He withdrew from them


Metaphor or historic reality,
it’s up to you. The ascension
serves its purpose.
Luke locates it at Bethany;
close to Jerusalem,
but away from the prying eyes
of the big city; it’s almost a secret.
He ties it to the promise of the spirit;
the Pentecost event,
also much celebrated.
Thus Jesus gives his friends their final instructions
and withdraws.
They are now on their own.
Except for the spirit thing,
and the knowledge that they have each other.
They are to speak of the things he did and said
and to be witnesses to love;
its sacrifices and its generosity.
Now we will see
how well they listened and watched,
how deeply they loved him,
and how truly they worship.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Do this thing

At the centre of the story
is love.
Nothing else.
A commandment,
said to be new.
Do this thing.
Right there at its core;
always has been, will be.
There, from its beginning,
and when it comes to its brutal end.
Which, at this point in the story, is not far off;
but perhaps it’s not really the end.
This love finds its greatest expression,
we are told, in sacrifice;
in spending oneself for others,
for those embraced as friends.

Love the same way the master does;
a rule for disciples
and all who come after.
Be courageous; do this thing,
and turn it into the fruit that endures.

© Ken Rookes 2015