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.

We are born, we die.

Haiku of joy and sorrow

Near Jerusalem,
Bethany, place of welcome;
Martha and Mary.

Brother Lazarus
is ill. They send for Jesus.
He doesn’t hurry.

Twelve hours of daylight,
nobody needs to stumble
if they see the light.

Lazarus is dead.
Much grieving with many tears;
Jesus weeps with them.

Your brother will rise.
I am the resurrection.
Trust in me, and live

Yes, Lord, I believe
that you are the Messiah,
the Son sent from God.

Mary comes and kneels.
If only you were here, Lord,
he would not have died.

We are born, we die.
Cycles of joy and sorrow;
we all must face death.

It’s overrated,
bodily resurrection;
there’s a time to die.

Jesus prefigures
his own dying and rising,
raises Lazarus.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Portents in the skies

Haiku for the watchful

Let the walls crumble!
The temple no longer serves;
welcome the new thing!

Portents in the skies.
How we love to speculate,
what does it all mean?

Don’t be led astray.
Test their claims; do they measure
up to love’s standard?

Coming in the clouds!
Expectations have worn thin
in two millennia.

Is it really near?
Is the Son of Man coming
to end history?

These understandings
from two thousand years ago;
are we bound by them?

Everything passes.
His words remain to give life,
calling us to love.

Be watchful with love.
Be eager in your serving.
This is faithfulness.

Midnight or cockcrow
or at dawn, it matters not
if love is your guide.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Some haiku for the Narrative Lectionary, Lent 5.

Surely we’re not blind

Haiku for those who can see.

Who was the person
whose sin caused this man’s blindness?
Doesn’t work like that.

A miracle tale
as Jesus heals a blind man.
Much consternation!

The authorities
refuse to see the new thing
that God is doing.

Oppressive doctrine
is the cause of much blindness;
now, as it was then.

Blind authorities
still betray; they are captive
to lust and power.

Blindness all around.
We quite like this blissful state;
pretend innocence.

No, it wasn’t me;
I’ve not seen their suffering,
do not know their pain.

Surely we’re not blind!
If you were, you’d have no sin;
but your sin remains.

He comes seeking us;
the one who opens closed eyes.
Let us see, Jesus.


© Ken Rookes 2020

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

Late in the ev’ning

Haiku of enquiry.

Late in the ev’ning,
when polite folk are sleeping,
Nicodemus comes.

Why is he hiding,
what secret does he conceal
in the dark of night?

What doubts are harboured,
to be kept from his colleagues,
lest they heap their scorn?

Value your doubting,
Nicodemus: your questions
are embraced by God.

Clasp the mystery,
fear not the uncertainty.
Doubt boldly, with faith!

Birthed in the waters
and through the Spirit as well;
enter God’s kingdom!

Through love you are born,
in love the Son comes to you.
It’s all about love!

Eternal the life
that is shaped by the Spirit;
this is salvation!


© Ken Rookes 2020

Setting the pace

Haiku for getting serious

They were on the road.
Their destination; trouble.
Big Jerusalem

He was leading them,
setting the pace; they held back,
anxious and afraid.

It will get ugly,
he told his friends. Always does
When you challenge them.

They fear my message,
hate me for daring to speak.
They will have their way.

Don’t ask for honour,
honour comes with pain and death.
There are no short-cuts.

The cup is suff’ring,
the baptism, it is death.
Will you still follow?

Will you follow me?
Will you be a slave to all?
Will you give your life?


© Ken Rookes 2020

Some haiku for the Narrative Lectionary, second Sunday in Lent.