Playing safe

Haiku for faithful stewards

Talents were immense
lumps of money, like a big
CEO payout.

The so-called experts
don’t agree, but a million
will get somewhere near.

Another story.
This time three slaves are summoned,
trusted with big bucks.

Their freehanded boss
is going on a journey.
Take care of my things.

You know how it goes:
Five talent man makes five more;
two talent man, too.

When the boss returns
he commends them. You’ve done well,
I’ll trust you with more.

The one talent man
got cold feet; panicked, anxious,
hid it in the ground.

Here we are! he said
when he came before the boss:
All safe and secure!

He is not impressed.
Security is worthless;
learn to take some risks!

Get out of my sight!
You cannot serve God’s kingdom
if you play it safe!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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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

Salt and light

A haiku sequence

You are salt and light.
Salt to enhance life’s flavours.
Light to dispel fear.

Be salt to your friends
and salt to those who struggle.
Affirm their living.

Darkness encroaches,
threatens what is good and true.
Rage against the night.

Shine incandescent:
glowing is your heritage.
You are light, shine on.

Shine on with your love,
bring hope to the ones who weep,
illuminate them.

Go out of your way
to bring light to dark places.
They’re waiting for you.

Be salt and be light.
This is your divine calling
as children of God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Will he find faith on earth?

The Almighty,
according to this parable,
interpreted by one, Jesus,
who is also called God’s son,
grants justice to those who seek it.
Whatever that means.
We could do with a bit more justice.
For refugees and asylum seekers,
women who are beaten,
children who are abused;
innocent victims
of air attacks,
lax gun laws,
racial bigotry, misogeny, and religious fear;
not to mention capitalism’s excesses,
corrupt politicians
and dishonest jurists.
Like the judge in the parable.

We who seek justice, this story declares,
are encouraged to cry out day and night
to the aforesaid Almighty.
I might quietly suggest
that such crying out,
railing against such a raft of injustices,
loudly, persistently and annoyingly,
might in fact be the inconvenient duty
of all who follow Jesus.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

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

It is hard to remain alert

Our houses are reliquaries.
The objects they hold have many shapes, colours and sizes;
some are valuable, and promise much.
We festoon our dwellings with chains and bolts fashioned from fear,
and security cameras, should the locks fail.
We will not be taken advantage of;
we will guard what we have.
Yes, we know these things are all just stuff;
precious, perhaps,
but stuff, nonetheless.
In time it will all be reduced to dust.
Still we take much comfort from our locks.

The disciple is to be prepared, alert;
so the ancient scripture enjoins.
This instructive text was written in those excited early years
when the imminent return of the master
was eagerly anticipated.
Jesus is coming; look busy!
After two millenia the sense of expectancy
has largely evaporated, at least for some of us.
For twenty-first century disciples
the urgent metaphors for faithful living –
being dressed for action and keeping our oil lamps burning –
must have some other purpose.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016