The politics of resentment

Haiku of generosity

A new parable
to illustrate the kingdom,
turning things on end.

Vineyard labourers
hired in groups through the day;
get the harvest in.

Some worked twelve hours,
some laboured for only one.
Pay them what is fair.

The last are paid first.
They get a full day’s wages.
A happy surprise!

The twelve-hour workers
rub hands in expectation;
but get basic wage.

The grumble is great.
Quit whingeing says the vintner;
it’s what we agreed.

If I deal freely
with my money, that’s my choice;
why should you complain?

Others might get more
than they deserve, that’s all right.
Be happy for them.

This story disturbs,
offends our sense of justice.
Best to ignore it.

(We all take offence
when those who don’t deserve it
receive more than us.)

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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Seventy-seven times

Haiku for forgetting to keep score.

Peter came and asked:
How often must I forgive
my comrades in faith?

Would seven times do?
Not really, Jesus answered;
add seventy more.

Another story.
A king forgives a huge debt.
Well done, your highness!

The king shows pity,
his debtor is much relieved.
High fives all around!

Relieved and grateful,
the man will show like pity
to others, won’t he?

Quickly forgetting
the forgiveness he received,
he demands payment.

When you have known grace
how can you not live by grace?
Unbelievable!

We forgiven ones
are expected to forgive.
End of the story.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Be in agreement

Haiku of the disappointing

Sinners in the church!
How could it be otherwise?
Flawed humanity.

Work through your issues;
quietly if possible.
Maintain fellowship.

Try to practise grace,
forgiving one another.
Sort things out with love.

Rules are enacted
to limit bad behaviour;
love doesn’t need rules.

Accept correction
from your sisters and brothers
as a caring gift.

Agree together
on your Father’s purposes;
advance God’s kingdom.

Where two, three gather
in my name, to seek my will,
I am with them there.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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

But who do you say that I am?

Haiku for answering.

What do people say,
Jesus asked his followers;
Who’s the Son of Man?

Some say John the B,
Elijah, Jeremiah,
or other prophet.

Fair enough, he said.
But you mob, what do you say?
Tell me, who am I?

Simon Peter said,
You are the Christ, Messiah;
the living God’s Son.

Good answer, Peter!
This insight is not your own,
it’s from God above.

My good man, Rocky,
I’ll build my church upon you;
you’ll hold heaven’s keys.

What you bind on earth
will be so bound in heaven.
What you loose, as well.

And, by the way, guys,
that thing about Messiah;
keep it to yourselves.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Even the dogs

Weary from the crowds,
he slipped across the border for a break.
A holiday with a few close friends,
up north among the foreigners.
Different people, culture, food.
Best of all, no one knows him here.

The woman’s love
has grown achingly to despair;
such is her daughter’s illness.
Her dormant hopes quicken
when she learns the identity
of the stranger from the south.

Disregarding his request for privacy,
she intrudes, insisting that he intervene
to heal her child.
His response disappoints.
Wrong race, wrong religion.

The man offers a domestic metaphor to justify
his lack of compassion.
Sorry, I can’t help;
the food is for the children, not the dogs.

It takes our breath away.
Suddenly we hear the shrill, cheering voices
of the xenophobes, islamophobes, flag wearers,
shock jocks and opportunistic politicians.

But the story continues;
this foreign woman does not know her place.
She accepts the racial calumny,
but, with impertinence,
throws the image back at the teacher:
Yes, but even the dogs . . .

Even the dogs.
The woman, he concedes, is correct.
There are no boundaries to love
except the ones we fashion from our fears.
The man accepts his lesson with grace,
and setting aside his weariness,
offers her the crumb.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017