To Bethlehem we come

The course of the Advent and its violet road-map
was determined two millennia ago.
We who claim our places among his disciples
walk the Coming-Season’s famous annual path to Bethlehem.

Was he even born there?
Perhaps / probably not:
it doesn’t matter.

We tread our Advent road toward Bethlehem
to meet with shepherds and other disreputable people
to sing the songs of the coming of our friend and mentor.

We travel, recalling those irresistible demands of the ancient bureaucracy
to be counted, numbering ourselves
among those blessed to share in his suffering.

We bypass Jerusalem,
knowing that there are many places where truth is hidden,
that deeper truth awaits its revelation,
and that our ultimate destination will, one day,
include that great and troubled city.

Our journeying eyes search out inns and stables,
knowing that God and Spirit and other mysteries
will be found in the most unlikely places.

The city of David calls to us with the power of its history,
but we come, knowing that the new story being birthed
will be a far deeper drama
of love, generosity and sacrifice.

To Bethlehem we make our Advent
with gratitude, wonder, and trepidation.

© Ken Rookes 2018

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In stables and sheds

In stables and sheds,
kitchens and lounge-rooms
where trees are trimmed and illuminated
and nativity scenes erected,
and where they are not;
where questions are asked
and objections raised,
where humans struggle
and sometimes doubt,
where the downtrodden gather
to become schooled in resistance,
where infants dance with delight and wonder
and old people pause to reflect,
where children are reckless enough to claim their voices
and challenge their elders,
where the just discover their anger
and politeness gives way to righteous insistence,
where generosity, compassion and hope reassert themselves
to confront the greed, brutality and fear at the centre of the universe;
here, in these places
among earth’s dust and straw,
and in many places like them
the Logos of God will be,
is being, born,
to shine again,
defiantly
in the darkness.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

The birth

Haiku of wonder

When a king is born
the stories must reflect it
with wonder and awe.

Apart from angels,
this narrative is humble,
with a common cast.

Comes to Bethlehen,
the tradie with his girl-bride,
about to give birth.

A shed out the back
of a packed-out small-town pub.
Nothing flash in that!

A son is born, wrapped
in cloth strips and put to bed
in a feeding trough.

Shepherds get the news:
the Messiah has been born,
look for a baby.

This will be the sign:
a baby in a manger,
in David’s city.

The shepherds decamped
to see for themselves the child,
as they had been told.

They told ev’ryone
about the child, the one born
to save his people.

 

© Ken Rookes. 2018

The great song of announcing

Haiku that lead to fulfilment.

Mary went in haste
to visit Elizabeth
at home in the hills

Two women embrace,
both pregnant, feeling wonder
and knowing the joy.

They cry and they sing
their songs of expectation;
the world is pregnant.

The young woman’s song
filled with its socialist themes
won’t win many friends.

The proud are scattered;
powerful kings and rulers
brought down from their thrones.

And yet the lowly,
cast aside, will be lifted
and the hungry filled.

And what of the rich?
They have had it all; send them
away wih nothing.

A promise of hope
for the people who struggle:
The new realm comes!

All old promises
will achieve their fulfilment
in the One who comes.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

The crowds were coming

Haiku of anticipation

The crowds were coming.
They’d heard he was baptising.
Come! Begin again!

John was a preacher,
among other things. Repent!
Produce righteous fruits!

You brood of vipers!
he cried to the hypocrites
who came, pretending.

Your historical
entitlement is ending;
bear the fruits of love.

What then should we do?
they asked him. Learn how to share;
spread the love around.

Tax collectors came.
Don’t collect more than you should.
Treat people fairly.

Soldiers came, seeking.
Don’t exploit your position;
wages are enough.

People were asking:
Could he be the promised one
that God is sending?

That one is coming.
I have baptised with water;
he brings the Spirit.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

When the time was ripe

Haiku of anticipation

When the time was ripe
he came. John the forerunner,
preaching, baptizing.

Across the region
his message was heard: Repent
and be forgiven!

In the wilderness
a voice was heard, crying out:
Prepare the Lord’s way!

Metaphorical
earthworks describe a coming,
wond’rous, bringing life.

Paths will be straightened,
mountains and hills made level,
valleys shall be filled.

Rough ways will be smoothed
and all humankind shall see
God’s full salvation.

Get yourselves ready!
Make the most of this new thing
that God is doing!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Stand, be courageous.

Haiku of warning and encouragement

Signs all around us
in the sun, moon and the stars.
and here upon earth

The planet will shake
seeking freedom from bondage
to power and fear.

They will call lies truth
and truth lies; brazen, barefaced.
Fear will rule the day.

The Son of Man comes.
When you see these things happen
stand, be courageous.

Leaves on the fig tree
tell us that summer is near;
so, too, the kingdom.

Live well, be ready.
Free your hearts from earthly cares.
Do not be caught out.

Troubles are coming
on you and ev’ryone else;
pray you have the strength.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018