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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The last day

Haiku of the passion

Lord, we are your friends;
You’re everything to us:
we’d never betray.

You’ll all desert me,
but don’t dwell on these failures.
There is always hope.

Even you, Peter,
so stop your protestations;
you will deny me.

Take my body-bread,
this wine, red like my bleeding;
my life, shared for you.

Facing his fears
while his weary friends sleep on;
praying all alone.

Jesus is betrayed,
arrested and put on trial.
There is one outcome.

Who are you, Jesus?
Are you the king that some claim,
the promised from God?

It has been settled.
He walks to the killing place
where his cross awaits.

They laugh and they mock,
they taunt him as he hangs there,
silent, accepting.

His work is complete.
He takes his final breath, sighs,
and lets it all go.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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

As the story goes

Haiku of unexpected life

As the story goes
Lazarus from Bethany
had been dead four days.

When Jesus arrived,
sister Martha did complain:
What kept you so long?

If you had been here!
I am the resurrection
and the life,
he said.

Yes, Lord, I believe
that you are the Messiah;
God’s Son, in the world.

Mary fell weeping
at Jesus’ feet. Lord, she said,
If you had been here!

Had you come sooner
my brother would not have died.
Take me to his tomb.

Jesus also wept.
They removed the entrance stone
to see life triumph.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Another resurrection story

Do not seek death, death will find you.
But seek the road that makes death a fulfilment.
Dag Hammarskj
öld

Another resurrection story. In the township of Nain
an only son joins Lazarus, and in time, Jesus himself.
(Let’s be generous, and add the daughter of Jairus;
that makes four members of the resurrection guild.)

Perhaps the widow’s son will outlive her, this time;
(this is the way things should be).
Then she will be spared the bitterness
of rekindled grief.

Another resurrection story,
but they are all really part of the one.
Death’s ultimate conqueror
having come among us.

The ones who followed after him
eventually understood that bodily resurrections
have little use
beyond the postponement of grief.

Death however,
should be received as a divine gift.
Death’s purpose is not found in its reversal
through resurrection,

but in the fulfilment of living.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Silenced

In the fears and uncertainties of first century Jewish politics
an insecure monarch lusts after the niece
who also doubles as his step-daughter.
At a birthday banquet,
the girl entices the gathered dignitaries
with a dance.
Arousing, provocative,
teasing and taunting;
she knows how to shake it.

In the old man’s fantasy foolishness
half a kingdom is offered
as the prize for his pleasant titillation.
A prophet’s head,
severed from its outspoken owner’’s body
and proffered upon a platter,
is the price prescribed
by the girl’s vengeful mother.

A king’s self-importance is never a small thing.
His ego expands even further
in the presence of multiple weighty witnesses;
the offending voice will be silenced.
For good.

It’s been all about power, lust, politics, pride, and retribution.
Between them, over the next two millennia and beyond,
these evils will account for the larger part
of the world’s pain and sorrow.

During that time other offensive voices will be raised
and many will be silenced.
But an outrageous few will recklessly persist
so that the kingdom,
the kingdom grounded in love and truth and sacrifice
will come;
one day,
as promised.

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

It is finished

A stone to seal an entrance,
asserting the boundary between the living
and the dead.
Linen cloths to bind a corpse,
cold lips hidden within coarse fabric;
no longer can they speak their words of love.
A hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes
to weigh a body down,
to keep it from floating off
into mythical certitude;
or uncertainty, if you prefer.
On Friday, with the setting of the sun,
light is overcome by the darkness
as a man is laid in his tomb.
Death’s accoutrements
determinedly underline the tears,
the despair,
and the apparent finality:
it is finished.

© Ken Rookes. 2015