The gospel puzzle

Haiku of resolution.

The gospel puzzle:
Jesus the Galilean,
born in Bethlehem.

Rounding his story
Matthew give us more angels
to sort the mess out.

Despotic Herod’s
plans are spoiled, the infant
retreats to safety.

The threat is given
substance in a massacre;
a lucky escape!

Acts of cruelty
abound in human affairs;
why not another?

So the family
seeks refuge, South, in Egypt.
Like their ancestors.

It falls to Joseph,
family head, provider,
to protect his child.

Micah took us to
Bethlehem for the birth, time
now for Nazareth!

The conundrum solved!
The refugee family
settles in the North.


© Ken Rookes 2019


Haiku of wonder

In these ancient tales
unexpected pregnancies
convey the wonder.

God, they assure us,
is at last doing something
to sort the world out.

An agéd woman
has managed to conceive, now
it’s her cousin’s turn.

The angel’s busy
conveying surprising news.
The girl is nonplussed.

Do not be afraid!
Easy to say, Gabriel;
it isn’t your womb!

You will bear a son.
You’ll call him Jesus. He will
do amazing things!

That, we know is true.
We will follow his story;
we will follow him.

Her fears overcome,
the girl agrees, allowing
events to proceed.

Only Luke gives us
these strange announcement stories,
stretching the waiting.

We’re left to ponder:
is wonder the same as truth;
and does it matter?


© Ken Rookes 2017.

Dealing with dark forces.

haiku of ambivalence.

When light is coming
the dark forces congregate;
seeking to destroy.

A classic story.
The child of blessing, threatened,
survives the danger.

Like Moses, floating
on the river, the baby
lives to overcome.

Herod, the despot,
becomes his first enemy.
Will not be the last.

The angel returns
with a warning and advice:
Take the child and flee.

The land of bondage
becomes the place of refuge.
History reversed.

Back in Judea
the story is less pleasant.
Evil has triumphed.

The years pass, as does
the danger. The family
return to their land.

They choose Nazareth
in Galilee, to the north.
There they make their home.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Found to be with child

Haiku of mysterious birth

The birth of Jesus,
as befits a Messiah,
was less than routine.

Matthew’s birth stories
are designed to assure us:
things are in order.

Prophet Isaiah
provides a girl giving birth
as a sign of hope.

Found to be with child!
One way of looking at it;
the girl was pregnant.

With child, and engaged
to a man not the father.
It’s complicated.

Her husband, Joseph
is a good man. He still cares,
does not want her shamed.

Dreams can be useful
to spark possibilities
and provide answers.

The angel appears,
reassures the sleeping man:
somehow God is here.

Do not be afraid,
take the girl to be your wife;
the child is from God,

When the man awoke
he took the angel’s advice;
brought her to his home.

When the day arrived
the girl delivered her son.
They named him Jesus.


© Ken Rookes 2016



Like a scene from a carefully crafted play,
the angel messenger from above,
an apparition in glowing white
given the name of Gabriel,
passes uninvited through the door
(enter stage left), and approaches
the girl. The wardrobe department
has also dressed her in white,
for reasons which will become apparent.
It is a contest in whiteness.

The heavenly envoy tells the girl not to fear,
that she will give birth
to a Child of Light;
one who, when the stage lights are dimmed
for the penultimate scene,
will continue to shine
for all humankind.
The girl protests the improbability
of such a scenario;
she has not known a man.

She is told that the script for the second act
has already been written.
A divine spark
will overturn the laws of biology
when she is overshadowed
by a mysterious spirit something;
she has only to accept the role.
She does, without actually seeing the script,
thus allowing the rest of the drama
to proceed to its unpredicted ending.



© Ken Rookes 2014.

How many?

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.

In a similar manner do messiahs,
heroes, battlers,
has-beens and failures
begin their living.

A young woman,
barely pubescent,
finds herself expecting a child.
The man is surprised;
the man is always surprised.

A decision is needed.
The responsible thing,
the correct thing.
The ennobling thing,
the loving thing.

How many?
How many angels
will be needed
for the man to be persuaded to
do the right thing?

And how many tears,
both of joy and sorrow,
will be shed on the journey
to marriage, the birthing place,
and beyond.

© Ken Rookes 2013
Another poem for the 4th Sunday in Advent, year A, can be found here.