The man had two sons

Haiku of grace and resentment

The man had two sons,
Loved them both. The younger one
was eager to leave.

My inheritance,
give me my share now, before
I become too old.

When your years are few,
the party goes on and on;
while the money lasts.

All good things must end.
The cash gone, the boy must work;
starves, while the pigs eat.

Heading for his home,
practising his ‘sorry’ speech:
I am unworthy!

Dad is delighted,
his son is back. Let’s party;
kill the fatted calf!

The older brother
spits the dummy. All these years,
not even a kid!

I am deserving,
my useless brother is not;
I won’t celebrate!

You know I love you,
my Son, you’re always with me;
all that’s mine is yours

Your brother was lost,
now he’s been restored to us:
we have to rejoice.

Try not to resent
the unworthy who receive
their moment of grace.

Remember, you too,
though unworthy, profited
from moments of grace.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

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We are one

We are one

Human people
children, women, men;
created, according to one ancient tradition,
from the dust of planet earth.
Creatures of flesh,
breathing air, touched by spirit;
blood filled, pulsing, warm with life.
Dust, not stone.
}Together in our humanness.

Lives intertwined, connected,
bound up with each other;
one.
Your joys are my joys,
your loss I feel as my own,
your pain and your anguish are mine.
My hope grows together with yours.

We use different names
to describe the mystery
and the source of our being,
we know that no single name
no individual understanding
can ever be complete
or exhaust that mystery.
We struggle together
striving after truth,
leaning towards love;
always reaching.

We choose hope over fear
generosity ahead of greed,
love before hatred.
Always love.
Always forgiveness,
always friendship;
always we will strive to understand
ur sisters and brothers
so that we might build
a future of compassion,
of justice and of peace.

We will not turn away
when we see people brutalised and suffering.
Whether their names are known to us
or strangers at a distance seeking our help,
we will stand with them.

We will put aside our hearts of stone,
our suspicious thoughts and our jealousies.
We will not speak words that lead to fear,
or hatred;
nor will we listen to them.
We will trust ourselves to love.
Though selfishness and fear
should surround us, they shall not prevail.
We will put aside despair,
and walk determinedly upon uncertain paths
towards a future of hope.
We shall trust ourselves to love.

We are one.
Let me serve you,
help you, encourage you,
embrace you.
We are one.
You are my sister, my brother
my child, my parent,
my neighbour, and my friend;
I find my true self in you.

Together we will dance,
we will sing, chant, and shout.
We will walk hand in hand,
discover ing wonders,
creating possibilities;
working and building,
crying and laughing.

We will pour ourselves out in an offering of love.
We will strive,
stand and struggle together,
defiantly;
knowing that none of us
will be fully alive
until we do.

We are one.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

 

This is a revision of my post. We used it as an affirmation at a combined Churches and Rural Australians for Refugees Gathering for Peace Justice and Inclusion at Bendigo on Palm Sunday.

Love your enemies

Impossible haiku

Love your enemies:
surely the most laughable
of all his commands.

Easily dismissed
when fear is cultivated
to harvest power.

The title, ‘Christian,’
becomes robbed of its meaning
by those who must hate.

Bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.
More futile commands.

Even bad people
love those who return their love;
be better than that.

Would you follow him;
this man who insists on love
ahead of all else?

Real love is one-way,
not a bargain or a deal,
expects no return.

Generous, like God,
love is extended to all;
you don’t pick and choose.

Don’t be judgmental,
don’t condemn those who fall short,
practice forgiveness.

When it comes to love,
aim high, and don’t be afraid
to fail, says Jesus.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

Some came seeking truth

Haiku for the wise

Not all of the scribes
were counted as enemies;
some came seeking truth.

One brought a question
to Jesus, not to trick him,
but to understand.

Of all God’s commands,
which is the one that comes first,
which is the greatest?

The shema, he said.
The Lord is one: Love the Lord
with heart, mind and strength.

The second is this:
You are to love your neighbour
as you love yourself.

The scribe was impressed.
These are very good answers,
there is none better.

You show great wisdom,
you are close to God’s kingdom,
responded Jesus.

Close to God’s kingdom,
nearing the destination!
Yes, I would take that!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Incognito

Haiku for staying uninvolved

Jesus headed north
to foreign parts, seeking rest.
Tell no one I’m here.

The word got around.
A woman came to see him;
her daughter was ill.

She was a Gentile
with no claim on this Hebrew,
except that of love.

Come and heal my child,
cast the demon out of her,
give her back to me.

No, it is not right.
My food is for the children,
it’s not for the dogs.

Not fair! She replied.
The dogs under the table
get the scraps that fall.

He must think again,
enlarge his understandings
and respond with love.

That’s a great answer!
Quite right, you can go home now,
your daughter is freed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

The Sabbath cornfields

Haiku for lawbreakers

The Sabbath cornfields
see his disciples breaking
the Sabbath work laws.

Plucking heads of grain:
harvesting, threshing, working!
All against the law.

The Sabbath, he said,
was given for humankind
not the opposite.

Jesus sits loosely
with the letter of the law;
he is ruled by love.

In the synagogue
the man with a withered hand:
will Jesus heal him?

Shall Sabbath prevail
and circumvent the healing?
No. He will choose love.

What does the law say,
on the Sabbath, to do good,
or should we do harm?

They will not answer.
Their hearts are hard, unable
to find compassion.

The mean and heartless
do not like being exposed.
The plotting begins.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Abide in my love

Basic commandments for disciples.

The Father loves me,
and so, my friends, I love you;
abide in my love.

Keep my commandments.
By doing so you will dwell
in my gen’rous love.

The upshot of love
is joy, wond’rous and complete.
This joy shall be yours.

As I have loved you
so you must love each other.
This I command you.

To lay down one’s life
for the sake of one’s comrades:
love at its greatest.

You are all my friends,
nothing is withheld from you;
ev’rything is yours.

I have chosen you;
go and create fruits of love,
bear the fruits that last

Love one another.
Get this commandment sorted,
the rest will follow.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018