O Jerusalem!

Haiku for those who will not.

O, Jerusalem,
greatest city of them all;
most to be pitied.

The Pharisees warn,
Get away from here, Jesus;
Herod wants your life.

O, Jerusalem;
entitlement and power,
keenly defended.

The perfect venue
for the killing of prophets,
O, Jerusalem!

Jesus will return
to the great city one day,
to meet destiny.

Jesus is weeping
for Jerusalem’s children,
who turn from God’s love.

As a hen enfolds
her brood with protective wings,
so I would love you.

Yet you would not come.
You made your choice, live with it;
I have done my best.

One day you’ll see me
and shout: Blessed, he who comes
in the name of God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

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Won’t be who you want

Haiku for causing offence.

They spoke well of him.
impressed by the things he said,
gracious, filled with hope.

Local boy makes good!
We remember Joseph’s son;
yes, he’s one of us!

He can’t let it rest.
I’m not who you think I am,
won’t be who you want.

There are no home town
prophets. Their honour is found
in other places.

Elijah went not
to help Israel’s widows,
but one in Sidon.

Prophet Elisha
cleansed the Syrian leper;
none from Israel.

I’m no longer yours.
Other folk will find more faith,
receive the blessings.

In the synagogue
the people rise up with rage
at the things he said.

They would have killed him,
thrown him down from the cliff top,
but they changed their minds.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

The crowds were coming

Haiku of anticipation

The crowds were coming.
They’d heard he was baptising.
Come! Begin again!

John was a preacher,
among other things. Repent!
Produce righteous fruits!

You brood of vipers!
he cried to the hypocrites
who came, pretending.

Your historical
entitlement is ending;
bear the fruits of love.

What then should we do?
they asked him. Learn how to share;
spread the love around.

Tax collectors came.
Don’t collect more than you should.
Treat people fairly.

Soldiers came, seeking.
Don’t exploit your position;
wages are enough.

People were asking:
Could he be the promised one
that God is sending?

That one is coming.
I have baptised with water;
he brings the Spirit.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

His name was John

Haiku of promise.

His name was John
He pointed to light; shining,
challenging the dark.

Down beside the creek
he spoke of revolution.
People sought him out.

A man sent from God.
The leaders came to see him:
Who the heck are you?

If you’re not the Christ
are you Elijah; are you
some other prophet?

I am a loud voice,
lonely, crying in the dark:
Make straight the Lord’s path.

Why do you baptise;
you are not the Messiah?
No, but he is here.

I’m using water,
he who comes will do much more;
wait, watch and see!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

Prepare the way

Haiku of expectation

The brutal powers
wink smugly, worship Mammon,
plan their victory.

John the baptiser
stands tall and immovable,
prophet for us all.

Hear the earth weeping,
as she waits for her offspring
to remember love.

Something might happen
if we want it hard enough.
Make yourself ready.

The messenger comes
sent to speak God’s awkward truth,
to prepare the way.

One is soon to come.
He brings a word of hope, life,
not to mention love.

Far greater than I;
in him the heavens draw near
with the Spirit’s kiss.

We need more prophets;
women unafraid of truth,
men who make a stand.

They won’t be silenced.
Like the master they follow
they’re driven by love.

Make the pathways straight
for the one who brings true life,
who makes all things new.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

The people were filled with expectation

Our expectations are not high.
Should a prophet like John appear in our midst
to tell us how we should modify our lifestyles
so that the whole planet and all its people might benefit;
we would not listen.
We would dismiss him,
deny any truth in her message
and surround ourselves with clever people
to comfort and reassure us.
We would prefer, rather, that some Father Christmas fix-it-God
should descend from the heavens
with his big red bag of gifts for humankind
and sort everything out,
(world peace, climate change, terrorism, the poor,
domestic violence and such);
but most of us don’t really expect that to happen.
In the end we find ourselves reluctantly admitting
that the prophet might have been right,
and that change
and fruitfulness
and real hope
might have something to do with the serious work
of repentance.
But, then again . .

.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Among you stands one

When your eyes are opened,
you will see him,
no longer hidden,
but unveiled, revealed
as the one sent from above.
You may remember this day
and my words.            No,
I am not he.

Who is he, what does he look like?
I cannot answer;
I simply know that he is coming,
perhaps even come,
among us; here, today.
What will he say to us,
what will he ask of us?
More questions.

Ready yourselves to make him welcome;
nothing will remain the same.
Do not fear his changes,
embrace them with courage;
the magnificent journey awaits us all.
It will be no easy passage.
Accept the risk, start now,
and join me in the water.

 

© Ken Rookes 2014