The next chapter

Haiku of witness

Ah, Theophilus
our erstwhile correspondent,
here’s the next chapter.

They saw him alive
a number of times, so the
tradition tells us.

In Jerusalem
the Spirit will be given,
you must wait for it.

He sends power
to bear witness with your lives,
not just with your words.

Are we to witness
just to the resurrection
or to his whole life?

He remains with us,
no longer in the flesh
but by his Spirit.


© Ken Rookes 2020

Posted in response to the Narrative Lectionary for the second Sunday in Easter

Never any doubt

Haiku for the faithful.

Temptation stories:
will his mission be derailed?
Jesus is not swayed.

This devil fella,
who invited him into
these Gothic stories?

Angels and devils;
do they still make sense to us,
must we yet believe?

If you are God’s Son . . . ?
Great question! What quality
makes Jesus God’s child.

What makes me God’s child?
Is it that I am baptised,
or because I love?

The superpowers
hinted at in these stories;
will they capture him?

Or is he defined
by denial, declining
any privilege?

Refusing comfort,
and captive to his calling
he chooses his path.

Worship only God
and do what God requires.
The choice for us all!

© Ken Rookes 2020.

The mountain was high

Haiku of illumination

The mountain was high,
according to Matthew’s text.
Four friends made the climb.

Mystery mountain
cloaked in energy and light;
Jesus shining bright.

Moses, man of law,
talking with the carpenter
and comparing notes.

Prophet Elijah
enters the conversation,
gives his two-bob’s worth.

Jesus, fulfilment
of the law and the prophets.

Further approval
in the voice and shining cloud:
Listen to my Son!

Some who name him, Lord,
forget his command to love.
They will not listen.

Surpassing the Law
and greater than the prophets:
Jesus’ words of love.


© Ken Rookes 2020

The changing of the guard


John was a prophet
who had his own disciples,
loyal, devoted.

Tradition tells us
that when Jesus took the stage
John moved to one side.

I am just a voice,
John said, One sent to prepare
the way for the Lord.

Dove-like, God’s Spirit
rests on him. He will immerse
you in his Spirit.

That one there, John said,
pointing to Jesus. That’s him,
The Lamb sent from God!

Two disciples heard,
took leave from the Baptiser,
and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned, asked them,
What is it you’re looking for?
Great question, Jesus!

What are you seeking?
What will fill your emptiness,
what will give you life?

Who do you follow?
Where do your commitments lie,
who will be your Lord?


© Ken Rookes 2020

It’s a beginning

Haiku for getting wet

In Jordan’s waters
John calls folk to turn to God
and baptises them.

Leave your sin behind
God’s kingdom is near at hand,
embrace God’s new way.

Leaving Galilee
and his quiet village life,
Jesus comes to John.

Jordan’s waters call;
Jesus comes to be baptised.
John is hesitant.

It’s a beginning,
says Jesus. Let’s do it right:
for now, baptise me.

Signs come from above,
as water pours from his brow.
A dove and a voice.

A retrospective
voice of divine approval,
from gospel writers.

In his baptism,
as in ours, the call to serve
and to live full true.

© Ken Rookes 2020

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

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

Into Paradise

It was called The Skull
this place where death is dispensed
with lumber and nails.

Jesus, Son of Man,
has his own appointment there
his arms stretched out wide.

To his right and left
two criminals share with him
his sentence and pain.

The leaders mock him,
along with the killing squad:
Save yourself, O King!

One felon joins in,
deriding him with mocking:
Save yourself, and us!

He has done no wrong;
leave him! Our condemnation
is just; his is not.

Jesus, think on me,
the second spoke, when you come
into your kingdom.

We die together.
This day you’ll journey with me
into Paradise.


© Ken Rookes 2019

An old creation story

A poem for the Narrative Lectionary


An old creation story
Haiku from the dreamtime

The ancient story
sees the divine creator
sculpting humankind.

The Eden garden;
fruitfulness to be enjoyed,
The man must tend it.

The tree of knowledge
of good and evil is there;
a great temptation.

What did God expect
from her arboreal ban:
don’t eat of this tree?

Humans dominate
the other creatures, even
giving them their names.

The man sleeps deeply
as the woman is taken,
rib-like, from his side.

Fashioned from the ground
the man and woman of dust
belong to the earth.

She is his helper;
he will be her helper, too.
They will be partners

What means this order;
first the man, then the woman?
Damn patriarchy!

Two will become one,
this divine purpose: friendship,
support, and oneness.

© Ken Rookes 2019

Sunday. The first day.

Haiku for upending

Sunday. The first day.
The sun returns from beyond;
light chases darkness.

They come to the tomb,
the women, aching, faithful,
to honour their friend.

Bringing their spices
they come to prepare his corpse;
their duty of love.

The stone had been moved.
The open entrance calls them;
Come, see my surprise!

The tomb is empty,
His broken body is gone,
spirited away.

Two men, shining bright
in robes that dazzle the eyes,
come and address them.

Why look in a tomb?
The one you seek is alive!
Remember his words.

The women returned,
(there were at least five of them),
but they weren’t believed.

Peter, however,
wanted to see for himself,
and ran to the tomb.

Only the grave-clothes
were there to be seen. Peter
returned home, amazed.

A tomb that’s empty,
a man no longer present:
should we doubt or hope?

How shall we respond
to this story of wonder,
and to he who lives?


© Ken Rookes 2019

They came to listen

Haiku for net leavers

They came to listen,
to hear what he had to say;
the Nazareth man.

Some said that he spoke
direct words from the Father.
They pressed in on him.

Two boats at the shore.
He employs one to teach from;
a floating platform.

The lesson concludes.
Take the boat out, he tells them,
and let down your nets.

The fish aren’t biting.
what would be the point? they say.
Yet, if you insist.

The nets are soon filled,
nearly breaking with the strain.
The other boat comes.

Simon, James and John,
fishing partners, are amazed;
can’t believe their eyes!

Boat owner Simon,
falls before him, cries: Depart!
I am not worthy!

Stick with me, he said
we’ll catch people, netting them
into God’s kingdom!

When they reached the shore
the fishermen left their nets
and followed Jesus.


© Ken Rookes 2019