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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The harvest is great

He travelled about,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming good news.

Jesus wept for them:
like sheep without a shepherd,
helpless and harrassed.

Call out to the Lord,
more labourers are needed;
the harvest awaits.

So much to be done
to bring peace, healing, wholeness,
forgiveness and hope.

The time had arrived.
He called the twelve together,
gave them the challenge.

Heal, bring life and love,
show them the kingdom is near.
Teach them about God.

Do it in my name.
Show God’s generosity,
don’t expect payment,

Bring in the harvest;
gather the people who love
into the kingdom.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Queue jumpers

Jesus, spinner of many improbable
and awkward yarns,
once told a story about vineyard workers.
The workforce grew steadily
as more pickers were recruited
at various points throughout the day.
In the end, the undeserving latecomers
are treated with generosity,
while the twelve-hour labourers
merely get what is fair.

The indignation engendered
by the travelling teacher man
sees his polite audience shaking their heads
in disbelief.
And with the way he put his tale together,
the heat-of-the-day workers,
can’t even complain that the lucky ones
are queue-jumpers.
We, who are theologically informed,
understand that this story is all about divine grace,
improbable and outrageous.

Two millennia on
such generosity still offends.
Unless, of course, it is extended to ourselves.
We, as everyone can see,
are deserving.

© Ken Rookes 2014