You must be ready

Haiku for the faithful

You must be ready!
He tells his friends a story,
as is his practice.

Ten bridesmaids with lamps
go out to greet the bridegroom;
a flaming escort.

The neighbourhood girls
invite themselves to the feast
with dancing and song.

The bridegroom is late.
The maids rest their heads and sleep.

The lamps keep burning.

The shout at midnight:
Here he is! Come to meet him!
Bridesmaids trim their lamps.

Five have brought spare oil.
The other five entreat them:
Give us some of yours!

There won’t be enough.
Make haste and rouse the dealers;
buy oil for yourselves.

They return, their lamps
recharged and burning brightly.
The rest have gone in.

The door has been shut.
Lord, lord, let us in! they cry.
Sorry, you’re too late!

Set your sights upon
the kingdom, Jesus told them,
make yourselves ready.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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Scribes and Pharisees

Haiku for servants

Scribes and Pharisees:
religious establishment,
power and bluster.

Religious heavies
still imagine that they rule,
brandishing their keys.

Creating burdens
is the thing they excel at;
they will weigh you down.

Telling the people
that they are not good enough
to make it with God.

Look how good we are!
Try your best to be like us;
we’re exemplary.

Measure our fringes,
see our wide phylacteries;
don’t we look the part!

Do not play their game.
Be humble, self-effacing,
a servant of all.

You are my students.
Don’t call yourself a teacher;
you have one teacher.

They still know better
than the rest of us; they still
tell us how to live.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Which is number one?

Which is number one?
Haiku of the essential

Some Pharisees came
to ask another question;
to test and trick him.

Which is the greatest?
Of all of God’s commandments
which is number one?

No hesitation.
Love the Lord with all your heart,
and your mind and soul.

But wait now, there’s more:
You have to love your neighbour
like you love yourself.

Forget all the rest,
live according to love’s rule!
Nothing else matters

Good answer, Jesus.
With love, grace and forgiveness
the world is transformed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Tell us then, what do you think?

Haiku for cutting through

Should we pay taxes
to the Emperor? they asked,
trying to catch him.

He can’t answer Yes;
but nor can he reply: No.
Both create problems.

They are hypocrites
and he tells them so. Show me
the coin for the tax.

A denarius.
Whose head is this, on the coin;
what is his title?

It’s the emperor!
Then give to Caesar those things
that belong to him.

And, while you’re at it,
give unto God all those things
that belong to God.

They make no reply.
Departing in amazement
they leave him; for now.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Like a wedding feast

Haiku for the hopeless.

Like a wedding feast;
the kingdom invitation
is there for us all.

Still one more story;
a parable to confound,
also to offend.

The king sends his slaves:
It’s time, come to the banquet!
Lots of excuses.

A second time: Come,
everything is ready now!
They make light of it.

The affronted king
declares them all unworthy,
decides to move on.

Go out to the streets
and, whoever you find there,
bring them to the feast.

Everyone came
and all were made most welcome,
both the good and bad.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Paying the rent.

Haiku for a new order

Parables abound,
and here’s another vineyard.
This one’s rented out.

Shades of Isaiah.
Fruitlessness still the problem,
but it’s not wild grapes.

This time the tenants
refuse to pay the due rent;
and with violence.

Slaves are beaten, killed.
Not even his son is spared.
What were they thinking?

The owner will come
and deal with these reprobates.
It won’t be pretty.

He will start again.
Other tenants will be found;
they’ll produce the fruit.

The rejected stone
becomes the one that is key;
how unexpected!

Religious leaders:
pay attention! It is you
who must give account.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Doing the Father’s will.

Haiku for those who are called.

They came enquiring:
Who gave you authority
that you do these things?

He does not answer.
Was the Baptist sent from God?
he asks in return.

It is a stand-off.
They refuse to answer him;
he will not tell them.

Instead a story.
A father asks his two sons
to work the vineyard.

The first answers: No.
But later has second thoughts,
works among the vines.

The second says: Yes,
(to keep the old man quiet).
But he never fronts.

Which one, asks Jesus,
did the will of his father?
They reply: the first.

Stop your pretending!
How can you do what God wants
when you won’t listen?

The ratbag sinners,
who you dismiss as worthless,
believed what John said.

You still won’t believe.
These sinners go before you
into God’s kingdom.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017