In my name

Haiku of inclusion

Dividing the world
according to our judgements,
into us and them.

They watched him cast out
demons. Not part of their group!
They tried to stop him.

Jesus said, Let be!
Who does such things in my name
cannot malign me.

Someone not opposed
to the things I do or say
must be on our side.

A cup of water
given in the name of Christ
will be rewarded.

Take good care of them,
the little ones who believe,
that they may grow strong.

Do not be tempted.
Whatever makes you stumble,
best to discard it.

Salt should be salty,
adding flavour to living;
be salt for others.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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Even the dogs

Weary from the crowds,
he slipped across the border for a break.
A holiday with a few close friends,
up north among the foreigners.
Different people, culture, food.
Best of all, no one knows him here.

The woman’s love
has grown achingly to despair;
such is her daughter’s illness.
Her dormant hopes quicken
when she learns the identity
of the stranger from the south.

Disregarding his request for privacy,
she intrudes, insisting that he intervene
to heal her child.
His response disappoints.
Wrong race, wrong religion.

The man offers a domestic metaphor to justify
his lack of compassion.
Sorry, I can’t help;
the food is for the children, not the dogs.

It takes our breath away.
Suddenly we hear the shrill, cheering voices
of the xenophobes, islamophobes, flag wearers,
shock jocks and opportunistic politicians.

But the story continues;
this foreign woman does not know her place.
She accepts the racial calumny,
but, with impertinence,
throws the image back at the teacher:
Yes, but even the dogs . . .

Even the dogs.
The woman, he concedes, is correct.
There are no boundaries to love
except the ones we fashion from our fears.
The man accepts his lesson with grace,
and setting aside his weariness,
offers her the crumb.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Other sheep

Taking heed of Jesus’ teaching,
listening for his voice;
looking out for others,
unafraid to make love’s choice.

The shepherd calls them by their name;
he’ll keep them safe from threat.
Come join him in the fold and know
his work’s not finished yet.

Some sheep have different colouring,
might feed on different grass;
they trust in hope and justice,
never fear what comes to pass.

Some speak with foreign accents,
step out in robes or veils,
make peace their golden standard
and weep when loving fails.

They may not pray like we do,
or sing our sacred songs;
but the flock, it comes together
when it stands against the wrongs.

Their doctrines might not be the same,
but one thing they agree:
love is the thing that matters,
forgiveness is the key.

Joined in freedom’s family-flock,
because that’s where they belong:
their differences won’t stop them
as they sing the shepherd’s song.

© Ken Rookes 2015