The big question

Haiku for disciples

It’s the big question:
Who do people say I am?
Have to think on that.

A prophet, for sure;
just like John the Baptiser,
even Elijah!

But what about you,
you who journey beside me
you who know me well?

Breaking the silence
Peter, fisherman, spoke up:
You must be the Christ!

Perhaps I am he,
but do not speak of these things;
they won’t understand.

He began to teach:
The Son of Man will suffer
and he will be killed.

Once more to Peter:
Please don’t talk like that, he said;
This cannot be true.

It is true for me,
and it will be true for you,
if you follow me.

To gain the whole world
is not the same as true life;
to gain, you must lose.

Be my followers.
Take up your cross, just like me,
and take on the world!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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But who do you say that I am?

Haiku for answering.

What do people say,
Jesus asked his followers;
Who’s the Son of Man?

Some say John the B,
Elijah, Jeremiah,
or other prophet.

Fair enough, he said.
But you mob, what do you say?
Tell me, who am I?

Simon Peter said,
You are the Christ, Messiah;
the living God’s Son.

Good answer, Peter!
This insight is not your own,
it’s from God above.

My good man, Rocky,
I’ll build my church upon you;
you’ll hold heaven’s keys.

What you bind on earth
will be so bound in heaven.
What you loose, as well.

And, by the way, guys,
that thing about Messiah;
keep it to yourselves.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

That they may all be one

Both Mark and Luke give us the story
of the disciples’ indignation
when they encounter the exorcist
who was not from their group,
but who cast out demons in Jesus’ name.
“No worries,” says Jesus.
“If they are not against us they must be for us.”
Something here for the sticklers,
the supra-orthodox and the creedal gatekeepers.
who insist that unity means thinking
and believing the same.
God, Jesus tells us, has no such concerns.
Heretics are welcome in God’s strange kingdom:
they are not to be shunned by the fearful,
whose preoccupation is to play it safe,
and thus, by their orthodoxy,
manage to guarantee themselves a place
in paradise. Whatever that means.
One thing,
and one thing only matters.
One thing that determines
whether we belong to Jesus’ group,
one thing that declares our unity
with all the rest of the heretics
who seek to be numbered among Jesus’ disciples;
simply that we love.
Recklessly indiscriminately,
and with generosity beyond imagining;
that we love.

© Ken Rookes

Christ in the Wilderness: The hen

Stanley Spencer paints like a grounded angel;
his Jesus sprawls upon the earth
as one who is at home in the wilderness and humble.
His sad face broods distractedly
over the red hen gathering her precious chicks.
His thoughts will not be contained
within the picture’s frame.
At one with creation,
and aware of the complex threads
of interdependence between its creatures,
bird and insect, fox and fowl;
he understands darkly the pain and the dying
that are life’s unavoidable consequences.
When he departs, the hen will be on her own
and her brood vulnerable once more.
Ah, Jesus, you cannot be everywhere;
you will have to allow ‘nature, red in tooth and claw’*
to find her own balance;
and you will have to trust
that those whom you have called
will continue to weepingly reach with love
to Jerusalem’s waiting children, and all the others.

* In Memoriam A.H.H., a poem by Alfred. Lord Tennyson

© Ken Rookes