The word of God came to John

There must have been a number of them;
words, that is,
that drifted through the ether
to lodge themselves in the cranium of the prophet.

Repent, for one, springs quickly to mind.
It is an unfriendly word,
strident and uncompromising,
articulating its ‘holier than thou’ attitude
of judgement. Perhaps necessary;
all the same.

Prepare is friendlier;
along with the request
that we actually do something.
Prepare tantalises with its sense of expectation.
Something big is about to happen;
something wondrous and unprecedented.

Borrowing some more words
from the processes of creation
the prophet gets down to business.
The mountains will be razed, he tells us,
and the valleys filled!
Geologically improbable,
at least on the time scale
to which the prophet is working.
How many hundred million years would we need?

Get excited!
the prophet’s hyperbole declares;
the Lord, (whoever he or she might be), is coming!
You may be present when she comes,
you may witness his arrival;
you may not,
but the hope embodied in this advent event
will be there for all humankind to see.
So get yourself ready.
Now!

© Ken Rookes 2015

Shine

If Jesus had been strolling around
southern Australia today,
rather than Palestine in the first-century,
he’d have dropped his fig-tree metaphor
and gone with the Jacaranda.
“Look at the Jacaranda,” he’d say.
“When it puts forth its purple-Advent flowers,
to compete luminescently
with the sky and to carpet the earth below
in a circle of blue;
can summer be far behind?
No; nor God’s kingdom.”

Hail to you, wondrous tree of purple;
botanical immigrant,
transplanted two hundred years ago
from another new world.
Your dazzling hue has ensured your welcome.
Like the land’s many human inhabitants
you regard yourself as a true-born native,
among the greens, reds and yellows
of indigenous eucalypts and wattles.

Hail, Jacaranda!
The arboretum’s John the Prophet,
landscape herald of one who is coming
and of the remarkable kingdom
of hope and justice.
(For which, we still yearn.)
For a month you shine, harbinger
of the extraordinary,
until your flowers fall and fade,
your leaves of green resume their rightful place,
and we are returned to our ordinary lives.
There our achings are embraced,
tasks and challenges are taken up,
and we get on with it.

© Ken Rookes 2015

So you are a king? A group of Haiku

Nazareth’s native
handed over for judgement:
an unlikely king.

The foreign ruler,
intrigued, probes with his questions,
but gets no answers.

He asks, Are you king?
The charge is laid against you;
what, then, have you done?

Where is your kingdom?
You won’t find it around here.
Then again; perhaps.

Try looking harder,
opening your heart, your mind;
God’s reign has come near

For this I was born,
for truth I came among you;
listen to my voice.

So you are a king?
The question hangs in the air;
each one must answer.

© Ken.Rookes 2015

and a follow-up poem, that takes us a verse or two beyond the RCL reading.

If he fell over it

For two thousand years
Pilate has been asking:
What is truth?
Like most people of wealth and power
he wouldn’t recognise truth if he fell over it,
or if it stood before him.

© Ken.Rookes 2015

Let them crumble

The columns and arches
shall be disassembled
the stones will be broken-up
and allowed to erode
in the wind and the rain and the sun.
The stone-masons’ skills
have been brought to nothing.
Let the walls crumble;
no heritage order can save them,
money has not been put aside for reconstruction.
There will be no restoration project
driven by a grand vision
with its attendant fund-raising scheme;
religion, too, will be allowed to collapse.
The man who foretells the demise
of both Temple and Religion,
himself becomes the rock
upon which these flawed vessels
will be dashed and broken.
It will be thrown down,
all of it.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Scribes

Arrayed in long, showy robes,
(first century Armani,
bespoke, suits cut to impress);
commanding attention.
We know that they are important,
social and religious heavyweights;
demanding to be taken seriously.
They are among the nation’s leaders,
and clearly know better than the rest of us;
soaring high above the crowd,
magnificent, learned, erudite.
Highly respected,
these Scribes lack nothing;
except compassion.

© Ken Rookes 2015