We stopped listening

Haiku for the respectable

We stopped listening
to Jesus some years ago.
His words were too hard.

We much prefer wealth
and power and influence.
We vote for Mammon.

We like the idea
of being known as Christians,
just not the method.

He said Love Neighbour
but failed to clearly define
the limits to love.

We believe in love.
We do our bit. The failure
must lie somewhere else.

We like the concept
of justice. We just don’t think
we should bear the cost.

One thing that he said:
The poor are always with you.
We agree with that.

Some people languish
behind gates and barbed wire.
Nought to do with us.

We do not much like
the idea of grace, unless
applied to ourselves.

We are deserving,
unlike the many who aren’t.
Jesus rewards us.

We are disciples,
following our Lord Jesus,
anchored to the ground.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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Mulberry tree messiness

Haiku of insecure faith

Lord, increase our faith.
Why do you make this request?
You have all you need.

A mustard seed faith
would see you directing trees
and they would obey!

What a metaphor
for faith that is sufficient;
the uprooted tree!

Hail mulberry tree!
Generous red stickiness
and messy fingers.

You have faith enough
to tread discipleship’s path;
put it to good use.

Being uprooted,
with red mulberry tree faith
and sticky fingers.

 

© 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

Proof

The previously-dead Jesus meets with Thomas
and invites his sceptical friend
to extend his hand,
to touch his master’s injured hands and side.
This, according to gospel-writer John,
is the incontrovertible proof
that his Lord lives.

We find it less convincing.
Nor do the various reported signs work for us
in quite the same way that they did for the evangelist.
two thousand years ago.
What evidence, then,
might persuade you and I that our master is alive?

The generous acts of his followers? Perhaps.
Loving deeds of disciples? Maybe.
Lives spent courageously for the sake of justice, hope,
and the gospel?
Yes,
such as these could be sufficient
to satisfy the rest of us sceptics.

 

©Ken Rookes 2016

 

 

 

Don’t tell anyone

Keep it to yourself, this encounter;
this meeting with a miracle.
He who unstopped your ears
and loosed your tongue,
now directs you to tell no one.

Right!
Hey there, friend!
How come you can now hear and speak
when you couldn’t yesterday?
What do you mean, you can’t tell me?

It was never going to happen.
You’ll just have to make the best of it, Jesus.
The excited crowds, the adulation,
expectations and demands;
they come with the job.

The job also seems to generate
a growing pack of fierce opponents,
baying from fear,
and anxious;
lest their comfortable world be inverted.

Your adversaries are right to be concerned.
Should they dare to listen, it might be
that these, too, will be required to consider
the demands of love;
and do something about them.

Don’t tell anyone.

© Ken Rookes 2015.

Rising

 

For seven weeks the season called Easter
stretches out, long after the eggs
have been divested of their foil
and the chocolate has been consumed.
It persistently recalls the mystery,
as we read, in episodes,
the story of women and men
who met unexpectedly with their risen Lord.
Luke, teller of good news,
offers us a sometimes ghostly,
sometimes fleshly, Jesus;
both of whom lead us to renewed wondering.
We hear, again,
the familiar but unlikely resurrection tales,
and are faced with the same worrisome possibilities
of all past Easters.
The narratives call loudly,
and reach deeply,
as the spirit of Jesus invites us
to take our part in the great ongoing drama.
He challenges us to take courage,
to walk his road of love and forgiveness,
and to carry in our own bodies
the defiant confrontation,
determined hope,
and costly sacrifice
that may yet redeem the world.
 

© Ken Rookes 2015