Let them follow me.

Haiku for disciples

The ominous road
calls him to Jerusalem,
paved with suffering.

The elders and scribes,
along with the Pharisees;
they will have their day.

And he will be killed.
Don’t say such things, said Peter.
This must not happen!

Move away, Peter.
Your concerns are human things;
they don’t come from God.

Jesus called his friends;
Be one of my followers,
carrying your cross.

In saving your life
you’ll lose it. Lose it for me;
and you will find it.

This is paradox.
Embrace its absurdity
and find your true life.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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Taking it up

Haiku to make one hesitate

You who would follow,
look to Jesus, your teacher.
Try to be like him.

You might not win friends.
Jesus made enemies, too;
you won’t be alone.

There are no secrets.
Stand boldly, proclaim God’s truth;
do not be afraid.

Hold firm, speak my name,
be known as my disciples;
I will keep you safe.

It won’t be easy;
don’t expect a life of peace.
Jesus brought a sword.

Son against father,
daughter against her mother;
families divide.

This cross is painful.
No bright trinket on a chain;
wear it if you dare.

Worthy followers
understand the challenges,
know the costs of love.

My friends, be prepared;
if you want to find your life
you must let it go.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Haiku of the end.

Should we pity him,
Judas, called Iscariot?
He made his choices.

Eat my body-bread
and drink of my red wine-blood;
remember my life.

Even you, Peter,
you will also run away;
three times denying.

In garden prayers
he asks to be delivered.
His companions sleep.

They come with clubs, swords
and a resolve to end it.
He is arrested.

Tried by Caiaphas,
convicted of blasphemy.
Never any doubt.

Taken to Pilate
to receive his death sentence;
this King of the Jews.

Silence, his answer,
he calmly accepts his fate;
trusts himself to God.

The crowd finds its voice.
Convicted and condemned,
he is led away.

The cross is shouldered,
and taken beyond the gates,
to the killing place.

There is no mercy.
The man is fixed to his cross
and lifted up high.

The skies are darkened.
A cry of dereliction
signifies the end.

They mounted a guard
at the entrance to the tomb:
what did they expect?

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Costing Discipleship

Haiku for intending acolytes.

Large crowds of people
travelled with the carpenter;
learning to follow.

Some went with Jesus
for curiosity’s sake,
were yet to commit.

Jesus showed the way,
putting his life on the line
for love and justice.

Carrying the cross.
Try to guess what that might mean.
Will I qualify?

It’s a costly thing,
the discipleship journey;
look where you’re going.

Building a tower
or going into battle:
know what you’re up for.

What will be the cost,
will you have enough to win?
Finish what you start.

Jesus calls us all.
Love’s costly work is waiting;
Come with me, he says.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Lifted

He was elevated.
It was not for the purposes of admiration or acclaim;
a strange glorification.

The crudely fashioned wooden platform
is no pedestal.
What, then, shall we call it,

this instrument of shame and death;
conveniently named for its shape
rather than its purpose? No matter,

the two have been conflated
over the millennia.
There is, however, no convenience in death.

No, that is not true.
It is all a matter
of where you are standing.

Lifted from the earth,
three metres, four at the most,
anchored to earth’s rocks and dust

not by nails driven cruelly into timber,
but by cords;
willing ribbons of love.

© Ken Rookes 2015.

He saved others

He saved others;
touched them, blessed them,
warned them, loved them,
heard them, healed them.
He reached out to embrace them,
waited for them,
gave them permission,
wept with them.
He told them stories that lead to life,
laughed at their foibles,
forgave them,
offered them freedom.
He placed among them, children;
invited them to learn,
asked them to listen,
sat with them in silence.
He came into their houses,
entered their lives,
ate bread with them,
shared their wine.
He argued the point with them,
got angry, taught defiance,
played, prayed,
and walked with them
on the road to the kingdom.
He whispered where God might be found;
pointed towards hope,
made peace,
established love,
and showed them the way.
He saved others;
and felt no need to save himself.
 
© Ken Rookes 2013

Another poem for the Reign of Christ year C can be found here

In Paradise

I could never get much excited by the notion
of Paradise / heaven / the hereafter.
It sometimes seems to be a construct of the church,
attached to the teachings of Jesus
and distracting us from his command
to get on with the work of love.
At best, it is a bit-player, thrust
on to the centre-stage, to claim the spotlight.
There it assumes the role
of an all-controlling Master of Ceremonies
through whom ecclesiastical authorities,
popes, priests and everybody in-between,
direct the thinking and the behaviour
of the masses. If you want to get there,
as opposed to the other place,
remember; we hold the keys!
It suited, too, the civil authorities
with its message of divinely ordered patience.
No need for revolution, in Paradise
you will receive your reward / recompense
for all the indignities, pains and brutalities
suffered during your earthly sojourn!
In Luke’s story of the passion
the word is placed upon the lips
of the cross-suspended Jesus,
as he responds to the justice and compassion
of a fellow criminal. Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.
To die with Jesus; perhaps this
is the proper meaning of Paradise.
 
© Ken Rookes.

Another poem for The Reign of Christ Year C can be found here