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

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You have heard that it was said (2)

Another haiku sequence

You know it is said
eye for eye and tooth for tooth;
this prolongs the fight!

Jesus says revenge
and payback get you nowhere;
grace is what’s needed.

Turn the other cheek.
It’s not easy, but opens
the doorway to peace.

Do the things you should.
Let that be your starting point;
then the extra mile.

Love builds empathy,
enhances all of living,
goes beyond duty.

If somebody begs
or asks to borrow money,
do not refuse them.

Life is in giving;
withholding diminishes.
Live generously.

They say, ‘love your friends.’
Love your enemies as well,
and pray for them, too.

God’s loving regard
falls upon all, good and bad.
Try to be like God.

Love those who love you.
Big deal! The ratbags do that.
Jesus calls for more.

Be servants of love,
sons and daughters of heaven.
Here is perfection.

© Ken Rookes 2017

The first part of this haiku sequence from Matthew chapter 5 is found here.

And a haiku sequence on salt and light, also from Matthew chapter 5 can be found here.

You have heard that it was said (1)

You have heard that it was said (1)
A haiku sequence,

Going beyond law.
You have heard that it was said;
but I say to you.

You shall not murder;
but anger with a brother
also is a sin.

Insult a sister
or call a brother “you fool,”
this will bring judgement.

Don’t attend worship
if you have caused an offence;
first be reconciled.

If you are accused
don’t wait ’til it gets to court,
sort it out before.

No adultery,
but even looking with lust
damages the heart.

If your hand or eye
leads you astray, discard it.
Live with truth and grace.

Do not swear falsely;
better still, don’t swear at all.
Stick with ‘yes’ and ‘no.’

He rewrote the law,
calling forth our better selves;
for the sake of love.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

The bonsai man

Zacchaeus the bonsai man,
growing stunted and gnarled;
his roots bound and starved
of human respect and affection.

Until the gardener looks up
into the twisted branches
of another tree, sees him,
calls him friend,

uproots him from the cruel pot
of judgement and derision
and offers him a plot
in the field of God’s kingdom.

There he can grow as God intends;
with space to send roots deep
into love, to stretch out his limbs,
and to be made fruitful.

© Ken Rookes

This is a golden oldie. My new poem can be found here.

The unexpected generosity of ratbags

A haiku sequence.

Thanks for the stories,
Jesus. This one is cunning;
sneaking up on us.

The Samaritan,
like Muslims in our own age;
fear and suspicion.

From Samaria,
an unexpected hero
when others had failed.

This tale confronts me:
am I the Samaritan?
Or am I the priest?

Generosity.
At the heart of this story,
and of the gospel.

“Hey there!” says Jesus,
“You who hear this tale of love:
go and do the same!”

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

 

The Good Samaritan Rap can be found here.

Peace I leave with you

It doesn’t seem to have been very effective,
that Johanine blessing of peace
upon the lips of Jesus.
Wars, crusades and other violences
have never been in short supply
throughout the years of Christendom.
And so we internalised peace;
pointing to the interior serenity
of those who have come
to worship the Christ.

Self-satisfied peace is not worthy
of disciples.It seems a sad substitute
for an end to brutality, violence and bitterness,
not to mention suffering, abuse, hatred
and fear-engendering politics.
Look around,
see for yourself.

“My peace I give to you,”
the Nazarene is reported as saying.
Are these words for real?
It we take them seriously,
we might need to accept our discipleship calling
to become makers of peace;
we might need to actually do something.
Something to give peace substance,
to clothe it in reconciling flesh and blood,
like the one who came to be its prince.
Something that helps end the fear
and begins to make peace happen.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

When the wine gave out

Those things that have grown weary
and no longer serve their purpose,
are to be cast aside;
their place will be taken
by the eager and determined.

The caterers’ miscalculations
threaten to bring the nuptial celebrations
to a premature conclusion.
Water’s cold austerity
gives way to wine by the bucketful;
joy flows abundant and free,
and the party continues.
The attendant throng is suitably amazed;
the man’s mother, who provoked the action,
is merely impressed.

In the hands of her son
the wedding feast is made into
the metaphor par excellence:
life that is fruitful and expectant,
filled with hope, joy,
and laden with possibility.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016