Of all his stories

Haiku for a servant people

Imagination
is engaged less by constructs
than by parables.

He told his stories;
cunning, sneaking up on us,
causing us to think.

Many parables
cause us to squirm. Banish them;
choose other verses.

His stories trouble.
This one disturbs more than most;
gives no place to hide.

Unavoidable!
The king, (Jesus), expects us
to care for others!

Naked, in prison,
hungry, homeless or stranger;
we must show them love.

The neighbour in need
is an opportunity
to love your master.

Make no excuses.
We will be judged by our deeds;
by how we have loved.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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Playing safe

Haiku for faithful stewards

Talents were immense
lumps of money, like a big
CEO payout.

The so-called experts
don’t agree, but a million
will get somewhere near.

Another story.
This time three slaves are summoned,
trusted with big bucks.

Their freehanded boss
is going on a journey.
Take care of my things.

You know how it goes:
Five talent man makes five more;
two talent man, too.

When the boss returns
he commends them. You’ve done well,
I’ll trust you with more.

The one talent man
got cold feet; panicked, anxious,
hid it in the ground.

Here we are! he said
when he came before the boss:
All safe and secure!

He is not impressed.
Security is worthless;
learn to take some risks!

Get out of my sight!
You cannot serve God’s kingdom
if you play it safe!

 

© 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

The politics of resentment

Haiku of generosity

A new parable
to illustrate the kingdom,
turning things on end.

Vineyard labourers
hired in groups through the day;
get the harvest in.

Some worked twelve hours,
some laboured for only one.
Pay them what is fair.

The last are paid first.
They get a full day’s wages.
A happy surprise!

The twelve-hour workers
rub hands in expectation;
but get basic wage.

The grumble is great.
Quit whingeing says the vintner;
it’s what we agreed.

If I deal freely
with my money, that’s my choice;
why should you complain?

Others might get more
than they deserve, that’s all right.
Be happy for them.

This story disturbs,
offends our sense of justice.
Best to ignore it.

(We all take offence
when those who don’t deserve it
receive more than us.)

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Seventy-seven times

Haiku for forgetting to keep score.

Peter came and asked:
How often must I forgive
my comrades in faith?

Would seven times do?
Not really, Jesus answered;
add seventy more.

Another story.
A king forgives a huge debt.
Well done, your highness!

The king shows pity,
his debtor is much relieved.
High fives all around!

Relieved and grateful,
the man will show like pity
to others, won’t he?

Quickly forgetting
the forgiveness he received,
he demands payment.

When you have known grace
how can you not live by grace?
Unbelievable!

We forgiven ones
are expected to forgive.
End of the story.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017