Show us the Father

Haiku for the family

Jesus is the way,
the gospel promises us,
to abundant life.

An image of home;
his house with its many rooms.
There we are welcomed.

He spoke. Be at peace;
don’t let your hearts be troubled.
Your place is with me.

Live with faith, he said.
rust in my words; they are true.
Find yourself in God.

Show us the Father,
then we will be satisfied.
Look at me, he said.

There’s work to be done,
God’s work, mine; they are the same.
You will do it too.

This, then, is glory:
together doing the work
God gives to us all.


© Ken Rookes 2017


Birds of the air have nests

Let me be a bird of the air
embracing the freedom of flight,
with a nest to come home to at night.

Let me be a fox of the fields
ranging the bush and the hills,
with a sheltering hole from night’s chills.

A lizard among grass and stones,
I would rest, contemplating the sun,
and retreat to my rock when day’s done.

The Son of Man, we are told,
had no place to lay his kind head;
at least not until he was dead.

I would be called a disciple;
let love guide my feet as I roam
dusty paths toward my true home.

© Ken Rookes 2016


(Matthew 4:12-13)

Jesus made his home in Capernaum.
His mother stayed in Nazareth,
along with his sisters and brothers.
They talked in low murmurs
about their eccentric older brother;
the girls were married,
most of the boys too,
with children of their own.
Family gatherings had been good
times of fun and celebration;
with Jesus, everybody’s favourite uncle.
At thirty he should have taken a wife;
should be thinking about his own children.
Perhaps that was his intention,
but why Capernaum, and not Nazareth?
Surprised, bewildered,
and somewhat hurt by his departure,
the family held a crisis meeting
and agreed that a delegation
should go to the seaside town
to persuade him to return home.

“It’s good to see you,”
he whispered as he embraced each one.
“Yes, I will be staying.
Of course I miss you,
but no, I’m not lonely,” he said,
as he introduced his new friends.
They wept, spoke of his mother’s tears,
and pressed him for further explanation.
“The time had come,”
was all he offered.

© Ken Rookes



And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 


According to the gospels of Matthew and Mark,

Jesus did have a home, in Capernaum.

I wonder who looked after it while he walked

his itinerant road for those three years;

did he put it on the market

or was he only renting? Perhaps,

for a time, the Son of Man did have a place

to lay his head.

Most nights I am at home

and I lay mine upon my familiar pillow

with gratitude. The eleventh residence

since we began our married life

is also our own. My itinerancy

requires a large removalist’s truck,

being no match for that of my Lord;

and my discipleship seems to be bordered

by my need for modest comfort

and a future with at least a degree of certainty.

In the face of all this, I stubbornly assert

my claim to be a disciple,

a sometime servant of truth,

a stumbling sharer of gospel hope,

a learner striving towards the Kingdom;

following one who had no place to lay his head,

and hoping to prove fruitful.


© Ken Rookes

Jesus dares to redefine the concept of family


Mark, in the pages of whose gospel

we find ourselves, makes no mention

at all of Jesus’ father.

Perhaps Joseph understood his son

better than the rest,

or else the tradition is correct,

and he had died before Jesus began his work.

Whichever is the case,

Joseph was not leading the family group

when they came to restrain Jesus

and take him home,

before he could do any real harm

or get into any serious trouble.

The reports had alarmed them;

he had always been different,

but they loved him,

and forgave him his eccentricities.

Now he has gone public,

and it is being said, rather too gleefully

it seems to his mother and his brothers,

that he is no longer in his right mind.

Best they bring him home.

Returned to his carpenter’s bench,

they will keep him busy

and watch over of him.

In time he will sort out his thinking

and people will begin to forget.

The family waits outside; expecting, no doubt,

that their errant brother and son

will submit to their collective wisdom,

recognise their love, and come quietly.

Ah, but he has a new family, now!



© Ken Rookes 2012