Incognito

Haiku for staying uninvolved

Jesus headed north
to foreign parts, seeking rest.
Tell no one I’m here.

The word got around.
A woman came to see him;
her daughter was ill.

She was a Gentile
with no claim on this Hebrew,
except that of love.

Come and heal my child,
cast the demon out of her,
give her back to me.

No, it is not right.
My food is for the children,
it’s not for the dogs.

Not fair! She replied.
The dogs under the table
get the scraps that fall.

He must think again,
enlarge his understandings
and respond with love.

That’s a great answer!
Quite right, you can go home now,
your daughter is freed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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They thought him a ghost

Haiku of wonder

They thought him a ghost
when the risen Jesus came
and stood among them.

They were terrified,
did not know how to react:
hardly surprising.

He reassured them
with his words of peace, as if
all was quite normal.

Showing them his hands
and his feet; he ate some fish.
See, I’m just like you.

He died, we saw him
buried, along with our hopes;
and yet now he lives!

Joy and disbelief,
a clumsy combination;
how to deal with it?

Remember the words
that I spoke in your presence;
they make sense of it.

The law of Moses,
the words found in the prophets,
they all point to me.

It is written thus,
the Messiah must suffer,
and rise the third day.

Go, proclaim the Christ,
his life and his forgiveness.
Be my witnesses.

© Ken Rookes 2018

An elusive figure

Haiku for us sceptics

The risen Jesus
is an elusive figure:
now you see him. . .

From behind closed doors,
according to the story,
he appeared to them.

His greeting of peace
was not quite enough, so he
showed his hands and side.

He breathed upon them.
Receive the Holy Spirit:
go out and forgive.

Thomas was absent,
didn’t believe the reports.
I must see his wounds.

What is there to see;
what evidence sufficient
to bring us to faith?

Thank you, man of doubts,
Thomas with your questioning;
you speak for me, too.

Risen Lord Jesus,
present with those who question,
be patient with me.

What more can I say?
Should ev’ry story be told
they would fill volumes.

These have been written
that you might know God, have faith,
and life in his name.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Emmaus

Haiku of recognition

A couple of hours
to Emmaus; much talking
trying to make sense.

Two friends, followers;
their hopes had been swept away
when their master died.

The stranger caught up.
What are you talking about
as you walk the road?

How come you don’t know;
where have you been these days past?
The fear and turmoil.

We had been hoping
that he might be God’s promised;
and then he was killed.

Three days have now passed.
Some women went to the tomb;
is body was gone.

It’s got us flummoxed;
we don’t know what to believe;
not sure what to think.

It isn’t so hard.
What do the prophets tell us?
The Christ must suffer.

Starting with Moses,
and picking up the prophets,
he explained it all.

When they reached their house
it was getting dark. Stay here;
spend the night with us.

At table that night
he blessed the bread and broke it.
They recognised him.

Then he disappeared.
They were amazed, rejoicing.
Did not our hearts burn?

© Ken Rookes 2018

Struggling to believe

Haiku for faithful doubters

Thomas, called the Twin,
wasn’t there with the others,
struggled to believe.

The resurrection;
life constructed out of death,
the seed bursting forth.

Jesus reaches out,
speaks words of acceptance, life;
inviting us all.

Thank you, friend Thomas,
for your precious gifts to us,
your doubts and struggles.

Jesus shows us faith,
Thomas teaches honest doubt.
We need both of them.

Embrace your questions.
Faith is not opposed by doubt;
no, but by fear.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

It is hard to remain alert

Our houses are reliquaries.
The objects they hold have many shapes, colours and sizes;
some are valuable, and promise much.
We festoon our dwellings with chains and bolts fashioned from fear,
and security cameras, should the locks fail.
We will not be taken advantage of;
we will guard what we have.
Yes, we know these things are all just stuff;
precious, perhaps,
but stuff, nonetheless.
In time it will all be reduced to dust.
Still we take much comfort from our locks.

The disciple is to be prepared, alert;
so the ancient scripture enjoins.
This instructive text was written in those excited early years
when the imminent return of the master
was eagerly anticipated.
Jesus is coming; look busy!
After two millenia the sense of expectancy
has largely evaporated, at least for some of us.
For twenty-first century disciples
the urgent metaphors for faithful living –
being dressed for action and keeping our oil lamps burning –
must have some other purpose.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016