Wise men from the East

Haiku of adoration

Wise men from the East,
so an old story tells us,
came seeking a king.

A child has been born
who will rule over Judah;
we have seen his star.

In Jerusalem
they make their inquiries.
Herod is alarmed.

Those who have power
become anxious at the thought
that they might lose it.

Calling a meeting
of the chief priests and the scribes,
Herod seeks answers.

Bethlehem, they say.
According to the prophet,
Bethlehem’s the place.

Go to Bethlehem,
and when you do find the child
come, report to me.

They locate the boy,
bow down in adoration,
and give him their gifts.

Gold for a king’s crown
frankincense to worship him,
myrrh for his dying.

Proving their wisdom
the men, having found the child,
choose a new way home.

© Ken Rookes 2018

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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 birth

Haiku of wonder

When a king is born
the stories must reflect it
with wonder and awe.

Apart from angels,
this narrative is humble,
with a common cast.

Comes to Bethlehen,
the tradie with his girl-bride,
about to give birth.

A shed out the back
of a packed-out small-town pub.
Nothing flash in that!

A son is born, wrapped
in cloth strips and put to bed
in a feeding trough.

Shepherds get the news:
the Messiah has been born,
look for a baby.

This will be the sign:
a baby in a manger,
in David’s city.

The shepherds decamped
to see for themselves the child,
as they had been told.

They told ev’ryone
about the child, the one born
to save his people.

 

© 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 old people sing

Haiku of fulfillment

Old people hang out
in churches and in temples;
watching and waiting.

Something might happen.
You never know, it might be
the day God appears.

Righteous and devout,
old Simeon was patient;
he would see the Christ.

His words erupted!
This child, he would be the one;
light and salvation!

The old man blessed them.
It is enough, I’ve seen him
Let me go now, God.

He spoke to Mary.
There will arise much turmoil
on the road to peace.

Anna, the prophet,
saw the child, raised her old voice,
and joined in the song.

Wisdom and insight
come not just with the years,
but with openness.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

Tales of wonder

Haiku of uncertain destination.

The tale is dodgy,
its historicity doubtful,
but still we wonder.

Driven by a dream
they seek the child of promise,
born to be a king.

They came from the east,
a vague description, at best;
those men of wisdom.

No maps, GPS,
their star takes them all the way
to Jerusalem.

They call on Herod;
(where else would you find a prince
but in a palace?)

Herod takes advice,
sends them off to Bethlehem;
asks to stay informed.

The child is threatened
by this late development.
God’s plans are at risk.

Finding the infant
they offer their gifts: the gold,
frankincense and myrrh.

The gifts are laden
with meaning and importance
for a future king.

Having paid homage,
the pilgrims return eastward,
give Herod a miss.

The nations have seen,
the threat will be overcome;
the story rolls on.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Dealing with dark forces.

haiku of ambivalence.

When light is coming
the dark forces congregate;
seeking to destroy.

A classic story.
The child of blessing, threatened,
survives the danger.

Like Moses, floating
on the river, the baby
lives to overcome.

Herod, the despot,
becomes his first enemy.
Will not be the last.

The angel returns
with a warning and advice:
Take the child and flee.

The land of bondage
becomes the place of refuge.
History reversed.

Back in Judea
the story is less pleasant.
Evil has triumphed.

The years pass, as does
the danger. The family
return to their land.

They choose Nazareth
in Galilee, to the north.
There they make their home.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016