They thought him a ghost

Haiku of wonder

They thought him a ghost
when the risen Jesus came
and stood among them.

They were terrified,
did not know how to react:
hardly surprising.

He reassured them
with his words of peace, as if
all was quite normal.

Showing them his hands
and his feet; he ate some fish.
See, I’m just like you.

He died, we saw him
buried, along with our hopes;
and yet now he lives!

Joy and disbelief,
a clumsy combination;
how to deal with it?

Remember the words
that I spoke in your presence;
they make sense of it.

The law of Moses,
the words found in the prophets,
they all point to me.

It is written thus,
the Messiah must suffer,
and rise the third day.

Go, proclaim the Christ,
his life and his forgiveness.
Be my witnesses.

© Ken Rookes 2018

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An elusive figure

Haiku for us sceptics

The risen Jesus
is an elusive figure:
now you see him. . .

From behind closed doors,
according to the story,
he appeared to them.

His greeting of peace
was not quite enough, so he
showed his hands and side.

He breathed upon them.
Receive the Holy Spirit:
go out and forgive.

Thomas was absent,
didn’t believe the reports.
I must see his wounds.

What is there to see;
what evidence sufficient
to bring us to faith?

Thank you, man of doubts,
Thomas with your questioning;
you speak for me, too.

Risen Lord Jesus,
present with those who question,
be patient with me.

What more can I say?
Should ev’ry story be told
they would fill volumes.

These have been written
that you might know God, have faith,
and life in his name.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Struggling to believe

Haiku for faithful doubters

Thomas, called the Twin,
wasn’t there with the others,
struggled to believe.

The resurrection;
life constructed out of death,
the seed bursting forth.

Jesus reaches out,
speaks words of acceptance, life;
inviting us all.

Thank you, friend Thomas,
for your precious gifts to us,
your doubts and struggles.

Jesus shows us faith,
Thomas teaches honest doubt.
We need both of them.

Embrace your questions.
Faith is not opposed by doubt;
no, but by fear.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Do you love me?

The evangelist writes as if for the theatre,
scenes that have been re-enacted
by countless ecclesiastical ensembles for millennia.
In the final act of his disturbing drama
the lead character returns unexpectedly to centre stage
and is brought face to face with a once-trusted friend.
One who famously abandoned him
at a time of desperate need.

We, who also know the bitter taste of failure,
squirm awkwardly with the fisherman
as his master invites him, three times,
to reaffirm his devotion.
The brash confidence of previous boasts
has been supplanted by the shame
of his pre-dawn denials.
Self-assured words no longer come readily
to his lips.

Jesus is gracious, accepting;
he does not chastise.
There is work to be done,
there are journeys to be completed,
there are sheep to be tended;
failures, too, are needed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Feed my sheep

It’s simple,
Simon.
Yes, we all stuff up,
we all disappoint
and let each other down.
Yes, yours was a big one. Three times.
But it’s a divine principle,
you should have grasped it by now.
One of a handful
that the Master revealed in the few years
that he walked among us.
Like the cycle of death and resurrection,
the centrality of love,
the wonder of God’s presence,
living as God’s children,
and the primacy of grace.
Forgiveness, new beginnings.
The idea that losers become winners;
that, freed from the depression of failure,
and made new in God’s Spirit,
everyone can take part in the work
of the kingdom. You too.
Feed God’s sheep,
take care of the lambs,
share the love,
spread the good news. It’s simple,
Simon.

© Ken Rookes