Where is your sting?

Haiku of hope

Paul, persecutor
of the church, born out of time,
met the risen Christ.

I proclaimed to you
the good news about Jesus
and you received it.

I passed on to you
what I received; that Christ died,
was buried, and rose.

Christ appeared to them;
Peter, the twelve and many.
Finally to me.

He lives, don’t doubt it
and we all shall live, sharing
resurrection life.

Death, where is your sting?
Jesus looked you in the eye:
you’ve been defeated!


© Ken Rookes 2020

Posted in response to the Narrative Lectionary, 7th Sunday in Easter


Haiku for opened eyes

They did not know him,
the perplexed pair walking home
to Emmaus.

They’d heard the reports
from the women at the tomb;
struggled to believe.

The stranger listened,
then spoke to their confusion;
The Christ must suffer.

They pressed him to stay,
Come in and share some tucker.
They passed him some bread.

The recognition!
Then he was gone. They raced back
to Jerusalem.

Jesus, let us see
and recognise your presence
as we share the bread.

Let us see your face,
Lord; and journey as comrades
towards your kingdom.


© Ken Rookes 2020

The word that brings life

Haiku of wholeness

He couldn’t escape.
the people recognised him;
the word spread, they came.

For the miracles
and the healings they gathered,
pleading, insistent.

Wherever he went
they came for the miracles,
more than for his words.

Jump a year or two,
he is no longer with them,
except in Spirit.

At the Lovely Gate
disciples Peter and John:
the lame man begs alms.

Following their Lord
they speak a healing word, pull
off a miracle.

Walking and leaping,
the healed man praised God.
They were all amazed.

Better than silver,
more valuable than gold;
God’s word that brings life.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Posted in response to the two readings from the Narrative lectionary for the 3rd Sunday of Easter.

But what of the Poor?

Haiku of poured-out love

Ah, Lord Jesus,
how to show my love for you,
what to make it real?

The very costly
ointment of nard spills over
his face and his hair

Splashed with abandon
in a profound act of love.
A perfumed present.

Loving is costly.
Effort, commitment, struggle;
also many tears.

But what of the poor?
Yes, of course, we all must spend
love upon them, too.

This woman has done
something beautiful for me;
for my burial.

Will I love this way,
with my naked heart exposed,
accepting the pain?

© Ken Rookes 2020

Posted for the Narrative lectionary, Palm Sunday. The Anointing at Bethany – Mark’s version.

When you are thirsty

Haiku for parched souls

When you are thirsty
and someone gives you water,
you take it gladly.

A surprise meeting;
the Samaritan woman
and the Jewish man.

The well: this image
of life splashed with hope, purpose,
and filled with spirit.

Life, not limited
by all the negative stuff;
full and unconstrained.

Drink this life, woman,
man, child; all of you who yearn
for truth and fullness.

The hour is coming
for all the true worshippers
to reveal themselves.

What will be the sign,
how will we recognise them?
One thing; by their love.

I know that he comes,
the Messiah sent from God.
He is with you now.

Go, tell the city,
don’t keep this news to yourself;
others also thirst.


© Ken Rookes 2020

Behind the Wire: They cannot take the sky

deliberations 2

The PDF file above is a series of three small group studies for churches. It coincides with the exhibition Behind the Wire: They cannot take the sky at Latrobe Gallery, View St Bendigo, between 17th February and the 28th March 2020.

Working with Bendigo Rural Australians for Refugees, I am making these studies freely available. Click on Deliberations 2 above.

Feedback always welcome!

Entering Jericho

Haiku for grumblers

Mr Zacchaeus,
short of stature, short of friends
wants to get a view.

Zac is wealthy, but
a tax collector by trade,
not well respected.

Jesus is coming,
passing through Jericho town.,
so Zac climbs a tree.

(This is a great yarn!)
Jesus comes by, sees the man,
Friend Zac, come on down!

I’m needing somewhere
to dine and to sleep tonight;
your place will do fine.

All the good people
begin to grumble: he goes
as a sinner’s guest!

The act of welcome
brings existential crisis:
alf my wealth I give!

The lost has been found,
sinful Zac belongs to God!
Clever move, Jesus!


© Ken Rookes 2019

On the edges

Haiku of inclusion

On the edges of
Samaria, Galilee,
where nobody goes.

North of Jerus’lem
Jesus meets with outcast men,
unclean, unwanted.

Ten lepers approached.
Keeping their distance they cried,
Have mercy, Master!

Go and show yourselves,
to the priests; they will confirm
that you are made clean.

As they make their way
their skin becomes clean and new.
One man turns around.

The Samaritan
falls rejoicing at his feet.
Jesus, I thank you.

Were not ten made clean?
One, alone, comes praising God;

Another surprise;
the foreigner commended
as a man of faith.

© Ken Rookes 2019


Haiku of struggle

Jacob heads for home
hoping that time has softened
his brother’s anger.

Jacob is fearful.
He prays for deliverance,
hopes in God’s promise.

He hedges his bets:
sends his ample gift ahead
trying to appease.

Pausing for the night
Jacob buys time, putting off
the confrontation.

Sends the mob ahead,
waits alone. A man appears;
strange, mysterious.

Coming together
in a primeval contest,
Jacob fights the man.

They wrestle, Jacob
and the stranger. No one wins,
The sun is rising.

The man asks Jacob,
Let me go! Before I do
give me your blessing.

I’ll give you a name.
you have contended with God;
you are Israel.

Jacob understood;
he had wrestled with the Lord.
Somehow he survived!

Each of us wrestles
with the Lord in our own way;
we don’t often win.

© Ken Rookes 2019