Which is number one?

Which is number one?
Haiku of the essential

Some Pharisees came
to ask another question;
to test and trick him.

Which is the greatest?
Of all of God’s commandments
which is number one?

No hesitation.
Love the Lord with all your heart,
and your mind and soul.

But wait now, there’s more:
You have to love your neighbour
like you love yourself.

Forget all the rest,
live according to love’s rule!
Nothing else matters

Good answer, Jesus.
With love, grace and forgiveness
the world is transformed.


© Ken Rookes 2017


The unexpected generosity of ratbags

A haiku sequence.

Thanks for the stories,
Jesus. This one is cunning;
sneaking up on us.

The Samaritan,
like Muslims in our own age;
fear and suspicion.

From Samaria,
an unexpected hero
when others had failed.

This tale confronts me:
am I the Samaritan?
Or am I the priest?

At the heart of this story,
and of the gospel.

“Hey there!” says Jesus,
“You who hear this tale of love:
go and do the same!”


© Ken Rookes 2016


The Good Samaritan Rap can be found here.

The greatest commandment

Any religion;
whichever myths have inspired it,
no matter how it connects its members
with divine spirit,
whatever its claims,
however it patterns its ritual
or intones its worship;
is an empty shell
if it fails to draw from its adherents
lives of creative generosity.

In the writings of a breakaway group
named for its reluctant founder;
the plethora of commandments
in the Hebrew scriptures
surrender their ground
to a pair.

The carpenter from Nazareth
spoke often of divine agape,
the source of all that is good and true.
His listeners were invited
to make their own fruitful responses,
to share the love.
He calls this costly agape stuff
the greatest of fruits,
and enacts it at every opportunity.
Love, along with her precious siblings;
generosity, forgiveness, peace, tears and hope,
provide the means, he assures us,
by which the planet
along with its diverse and wonderful creatures,
will find life.

© Ken Rookes 201

It would have to be a Muslim.

It would have to be a Muslim.
The one who nobody in the audience liked,
or had any time for.
The one we are suspicious of,
uncertain of how she/he might fit in.
Dressed strangely,
living according to another set of rules;
whose motivations we question.

Praying in different ways,
refusing to eat our foods;
a sometimes guest
who ignores the polite conventions
we have so carefully constructed
over these past centuries.

It would have to be a Muslim,
who, when Jesus tells his story today,
about the one who took a chance
and stopped to help the wounded man,
is made into the neighbour-hero.
The Good Muslim,
who causes us all to gasp,
as she/he is offered
as love’s shining exemplar.

© Ken Rookes 2013