Natal Narratives

Haiku for a birthday

History retreats
as the birth stories unfold,
highlighting wonder.

Natal narratives,
much loved by card designers;
but no shepherds here!

Matthew takes Joseph,
scripting him the leading role,
puts him centre stage.

Found to be with child!
Mary; what to do with her?
Joseph measures up.

As the story goes
an angel helps him decide,
to do the right thing.

The child, he is told,
is conceived through the Spirit.
Most improbable!

Hooray for Joseph!
By obedience and love
the story proceeds.

The child will be born
and the course of salvation
will not be hindered.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

Doubting in the dark

Haiku of unexpected hope

John the Baptiser
languishing in the dungeon;
doubting in the dark.

Sending out his friends
to find out. Are you the One
or must we still wait?

Return to John, tell
of the things you see and hear;
life in its fullness.

Tell of God’s welcome,
the outsiders who find home,
of friendship’s triumph.

Tell of the confused
who have come to understand;
lives renewed by love.

Tell of the gospel
taking root in aching hearts,
producing much fruit.

Tell of forgiveness
bringing many beginnings,
joy blended with hope.

Tell prophet-man John
that God’s reign is upon us,
and to be at peace.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019.

The Baptiser cries

Haiku of expectation

The Baptiser cries
loudly his words to repent,
and weeps in silence.

In his op-shop clothes
of camel hair, leather belt,
catches them off-guard!

Make ready, he says;
things are changing, a new day
is about to dawn.

You privileged ones,
presuming on your birthrights;
produce fruits of love.

No place for smugness
you who think you have arrived;
you must live justly.

Flee the coming wrath;
produce fruits of justice, and
generosity.

One is coming soon,
with greater, more powerful
words of hope and life.

He will bring judgement.
There is really no need; we
bring it on ourselves.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

To Bethlehem we come

The course of the Advent and its violet road-map
was determined two millennia ago.
We who claim our places among his disciples
walk the Coming-Season’s famous annual path to Bethlehem.

Was he even born there?
Perhaps / probably not:
it doesn’t matter.

We tread our Advent road toward Bethlehem
to meet with shepherds and other disreputable people
to sing the songs of the coming of our friend and mentor.

We travel, recalling those irresistible demands of the ancient bureaucracy
to be counted, numbering ourselves
among those blessed to share in his suffering.

We bypass Jerusalem,
knowing that there are many places where truth is hidden,
that deeper truth awaits its revelation,
and that our ultimate destination will, one day,
include that great and troubled city.

Our journeying eyes search out inns and stables,
knowing that God and Spirit and other mysteries
will be found in the most unlikely places.

The city of David calls to us with the power of its history,
but we come, knowing that the new story being birthed
will be a far deeper drama
of love, generosity and sacrifice.

To Bethlehem we make our Advent
with gratitude, wonder, and trepidation.

© Ken Rookes 2018

The great song of announcing

Haiku that lead to fulfilment.

Mary went in haste
to visit Elizabeth
at home in the hills

Two women embrace,
both pregnant, feeling wonder
and knowing the joy.

They cry and they sing
their songs of expectation;
the world is pregnant.

The young woman’s song
filled with its socialist themes
won’t win many friends.

The proud are scattered;
powerful kings and rulers
brought down from their thrones.

And yet the lowly,
cast aside, will be lifted
and the hungry filled.

And what of the rich?
They have had it all; send them
away wih nothing.

A promise of hope
for the people who struggle:
The new realm comes!

All old promises
will achieve their fulfilment
in the One who comes.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

The crowds were coming

Haiku of anticipation

The crowds were coming.
They’d heard he was baptising.
Come! Begin again!

John was a preacher,
among other things. Repent!
Produce righteous fruits!

You brood of vipers!
he cried to the hypocrites
who came, pretending.

Your historical
entitlement is ending;
bear the fruits of love.

What then should we do?
they asked him. Learn how to share;
spread the love around.

Tax collectors came.
Don’t collect more than you should.
Treat people fairly.

Soldiers came, seeking.
Don’t exploit your position;
wages are enough.

People were asking:
Could he be the promised one
that God is sending?

That one is coming.
I have baptised with water;
he brings the Spirit.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

When the time was ripe

Haiku of anticipation

When the time was ripe
he came. John the forerunner,
preaching, baptizing.

Across the region
his message was heard: Repent
and be forgiven!

In the wilderness
a voice was heard, crying out:
Prepare the Lord’s way!

Metaphorical
earthworks describe a coming,
wond’rous, bringing life.

Paths will be straightened,
mountains and hills made level,
valleys shall be filled.

Rough ways will be smoothed
and all humankind shall see
God’s full salvation.

Get yourselves ready!
Make the most of this new thing
that God is doing!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018