Give us this bread

Haiku for those who hunger.

The crowd found some boats
and crossed the lake to find him,
at Capernaum.

Is it for the signs
or because you ate your fill
that you’re seeking me?

Food that perishes
is worthless; the Son of Man
gives the food that lasts.

His food leads to life.
His word brings life eternal;
God’s seal rests on him

They asked for a sign,
that they might have faith in him.
Like the desert bread.

In the wilderness
your forebears ate God’s manna;
this too, did not last.

The true bread from God
comes from heaven to the earth,
gives life to the world.

Give this bread to us,
they said, not really knowing
what it is they ask.

I am living bread.
Come, you need never hunger,
nor do you need thirst.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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The crowd, hungry for his word.

Haiku of unexpected abundance

The crowd came to him;
saw the signs he was doing,
the sick getting healed.

Up on the mountain
the crowd, hungry for his word;
Jesus will feed them.

Where will we buy bread?
Six month’s wages, said Phillip,
Wouldn’t buy enough.

Five loaves and two fish
that was all they could muster:
a boy and his lunch.

They sat on the grass.
He took the loaves and thanked God,
passed the bread around.

As the story goes
they all had enough to eat,
gathered up the scraps.

Understandably
the people got excited:
He is the prophet!

He made himself scarce,
went further up the mountain
to be by himself.

When evening came
his disciples took the boat,
went out on the lake.

The lake became rough
and the wind blew against them;
they were terrified.

And then Jesus came
with words of reassurance,
Do not be afraid.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Promise and hope

Haiku for the shepherdless

They came back to him,
eager, full of their stories,
telling what they did.

We all need a break,
let’s find a deserted place,
away from the crowds.

They went in a boat,
trying to get clean away;
didn’t really work.

They watched them leaving
made haste on foot, got there first
to welcome the boat.

They were a great mob,
like sheep without a shepherd.
His heart ached for them.

And so he taught them
many things. Then he fed them;
meeting their hunger.

And then they sailed on,
landed at Gennesaret;
still more people came.

Wherever he went,
from across the whole region,
they came to be healed.

He came among them
with the prospect of freedom,
a promise of hope.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

And all ate

Haiku for the hungry

Seeking to withdraw,
to find peace, he went by boat
to a lonely place.

They came from the towns
trekking around the shoreline
until they found him.

He saw the great crowd,
and their needs. He went ashore
to bless and to heal.

Evening’s shadows
signal that the day has passed.
The people remain.

Hungers are many.
Send the crowds away, they said,
That they may buy food.

They’ve come to be fed;
we’ll supply for their stomachs
as well as their hearts.

Five loaves and two fish
won’t go far among this crowd!
He blessed, broke the bread.

They passed it around.
Somehow it went the distance.
Nobody complained.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Entitlement

Arriving in his home town
Jesus entered the coming-together place
and addressed his people.
A wave of amazement washed over them,
and then receded almost as quickly.

No special favours, he told them.
Like it was with Elijah and Elisha,
it won’t be the local people who receive the words,
or the blessings.
It’ll be the outsiders, the strangers,
the foreigners and other no-hopers.

Hardly surprising, then,
that a new wave was generated;
one of anger and outrage.
This one took its time passing,
as the throng rode it malevolently
to the cliff at edge of the town;
sweeping the offender before them.

There, to their credit,
they had second thoughts,
and let him walk away.
Which proved to be a good thing
for us outsiders, strangers,
foreigners and other no-hopers.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Hungers

 

To get away from the multitudes
and their expectations
the man called Bread
withdraws to the hills.

Having eaten their fill,
the crowd still wants more.
They intend to make him king,
to claim him as their hero-leader,
that he might feed them when they are hungry,
heal them when they are sick,
and deliver them victory over their enemies.

Instead he gives them a handful of words:
crumbs of bread to fill them with hope,
and morsels of love to overcome their fears.
Then he offers them platters
laden with small parcels of his own strange life;
topped with generously with sacrifice.

None of these  dishes will prove sufficient
to satisfy the imagined hungers of the crowd.
© Ken Rookes 2015

Another poem on this theme can be found here. This poem is called Hunger (singular!)

Hunger

There’s no escaping a hungry crowd.
Even in deserted places there will be no hiding;
they find him.
To be fair, in our story, it was the disciples
who articulated the need for food.
Maybe the crowd has already
had its metaphorical hunger
satisfied.

Jesus fed me once.
I was hungry; for something
I couldn’t even name.
A spiritual something, an answer,
perhaps, to my bewilderment,
my anger,
my uncertainty.
At least, I think it was Jesus.

Dining on his story
I caught glimpses of hope,
along with tracings of grace.
These intimations
proved food enough to satisfy,
and in time, to value
both the uncertainty
and the anger.

© Ken Rookes 2014.