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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Painting 1977

The man in the Peter Booth landscape
stares out with red eyes
while the city burns behind him.
Fearful and anxious blacks and greys
give birth bloodily to the distress and pain
of orange flame and scarlet moon.
(Or is it the sun?)
The standing white dog observes without judgement;
nothing that these mortals do can surprise him.
Booth’s apocalyptic vision
could have been referencing this Lucan passage,
speaking as it does, of celestial signs
in the firmament above,
and distress upon earth.
The literalists get excited,
talk fervently of the day that is coming,
of end-times, judgement
and of the hope of heaven’s compensation
for earthly hardship and indignity.
Vindication for the righteous.
They look to the skies, eager to be the first
to see their Master surfing the clouds,
hoping for a mid-flight rendezvous.
Look, Jesus, here we are;
we’ve kept ourselves nice!
It is not in the skies
that the work of faith is to be done,
but here, among earth’s dust,
where the faithful wait
with yearning and with tears,
and with defiant love; costly, unresting.
They press on, determinedly declaring
in the midst of indifference, uncertainty and distress:
The kingdom of God has come near!

© Ken Rookes 2012

Link to Peter Booth’s Painting 1977