He came, walking towards them.

Haiku for those who sink.

He sent them ahead
by boat, to the other side.
The crowd was dismissed

Seeking solitude,
he ascended the mountain
to pray and reflect.

Out upon the lake
his friends battled wind and waves,
a long way from home.

In this strange story
he came ghost-like at morning,
caused them much alarm.

The reports tell us
that he walked across the lake.
Fear not! It is I!

Stranger still, a man
steps from the boat to join him;
does all right; at first.

Beginning to sink,
he cries in fear: Lord, save me!
Jesus takes his hand.

Is this an image
of baptism, of drowning
and rising to life?

Like the little boat
we are battered by the waves,
far from land and hope.

The waves engulf us;
We are fearful and we doubt.
Jesus, take our hand!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Two disciples

Haiku for those who are called.

John the baptiser,
had a group of disciples
learning from their lord.

A man of insight,
a prophet, fearing no-one,
pointing to the light.

When Jesus turned up,
the way the story is told,
John stepped to one side.

John saw him coming.
“Look, here is the Lamb of God,”
two friends were told.

When they heard these words
they took leave of their master
to follow Jesus.

Jesus turned, saw them,
asked: “What are you looking for?”
Top question, that one.

They did not answer,
asked him, “Where are you staying?”
“Come and see,” he said.

An invitation
for all who come with questions;
and much repeated.

The Lamb of God comes
bringing life and light and hope:
Don’t wait, come and see!

Epilogue.

Andrew found Simon.
“Come and meet the Messiah.”
Took him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him.
“You are Simon, son of John.
I’ll call you Rocky.”

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Needing to be baptised

Haiku for beginners

When he was ready
he travelled from Galilee,
south, to the Jordan.

There he came to John
with a baptism request.
John was reluctant.

You ask this of me,
I should be baptised by you;
the Baptist demurred.

Let it be so now,
Jesus answered. It’s proper
and right to do this.

The river beckoned.
He sank beneath its surface,
finding his calling.

Emerging once more
from the darkness into light;
fills his lungs with life.

The white dove flies low,
with heaven’s voice whispering:
this, then, is my son.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

The present time

Some Haiku

Kindling the fire,
the one that burns so fiercely
divides day from night.

Division not peace.
Inevitable conflict:
darkness versus light.

Baptism the door,
not to comfort or respect;
life fulfilled by death.

Households will be split;
the ones who serve the kingdom,
the ones who do not.

I, disloyal son,
dared to defy my father;
wounding more than one.

The cloud, it rises
in the west to bring the rain.
The north wind scorches.

Register the wind,
read the signs of earth and sky;
interpret the times.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Come to the water

The water, it dances, it gurgles and flows,
it sings alleluia, new life it bestows.
It sweeps over rapids, around unseen bends,
to vistas surprising and landscapes of friends.

This river, it eddies, it catches us all
in long graceful turnings; love’s generous swirl.
This water lives deeply, our thirst, it is quenched;
our bodies are freshened, our souls they are cleansed.

The Spirit is given, she hovers and cries
delights in the dreamings and aches with the sighs.
Surrender to the water, and hear Jesus’ call
to be a disciple, and a servant to all.

Some are wrinkled from birth, some are wrinkled with age;
Hey, come to the water; whatever your page!
Drink freely, my sister, my brother, my friend;
drink deep from the fountain, of grace without end.

The water is justice, the water is peace;
it saturates living, its strivings won’t cease
Let none withhold water, the Spirit commands;
unite in one body and fulfil love’s demands.

© 2016 Ken Rookes

Can be sung to the tune St Denio,
Together in Song
143, AHB 80

I have reworked this from an older poem/song. The original was suited to an actual baptism, this has a more general use, such as for the Baptism of Jesus, this coming Sunday. I think it has been markedly improved.

The heaven was opened

The opening of heaven,
by all accounts,
was not an every-day occurrence.
At Jesus’ baptism, by John,
in the flowing waters of the Jordan,
this rare event,
(according to some ancient stories),
took place. On that occasion,
we are told, heaven’s stately doors
swung wide on their ethereal hinges,
allowing the divine spirit to descend
and to mingle outrageously
with that which is human.

While the record may well be incomplete,
no mention is made
of their subsequent closure.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

The related poem/song can be found here.

Tearing

On the day when Jesus
strolled down to the Jordan
to meet with John and to be baptised,
the heavens, it is said, were torn apart.
They’ve been tearing apart ever since,
not just with Jesus,
who was outrageous enough;
some of those who came after him
have ripped things up a bit, too.
They broke laws, defied the powers
and governments, and challenged
the fearful and loveless status quo.

Here are some of the outcomes;
divine fragments,
torn from the heavenly interface
like squares from yesterday’s newspaper
and layered with earth’s paste
as they are fashioned into something new
and surprising.
A papier-mâche new creation, disturbing,
defiant, and more than a little foolish;
it is flimsy and fragile,
a vulnerable reliquary
of sacred hope.
 

 

© Ken Rookes 2015