Where is your sting?

Haiku of hope

Paul, persecutor
of the church, born out of time,
met the risen Christ.

I proclaimed to you
the good news about Jesus
and you received it.

I passed on to you
what I received; that Christ died,
was buried, and rose.

Christ appeared to them;
Peter, the twelve and many.
Finally to me.

He lives, don’t doubt it
and we all shall live, sharing
resurrection life.

Death, where is your sting?
Jesus looked you in the eye:
you’ve been defeated!


© Ken Rookes 2020

Posted in response to the Narrative Lectionary, 7th Sunday in Easter

The purpose

Haiku of peace

John does it better!
His Jesus comes through locked doors.
Well, why shouldn’t he?

Imparting Spirit,
Jesus ensures the mission
goes on without him.

Make forgiveness real,
so that all folk are made free,
capable of love.

No room for doubting!
Even Thomas is sorted,
leaving me alone.

Doubt is not opposed
to Faith; that’s the role of Fear.
Doubt and Faith are friends.

My Lord and my God!
Hey, followers of Jesus,
get on with the task!

The book is written,
John asserts, to convince us;
so that we might live.

© Ken Rookes 2020

The tomb’s emptiness

Haiku without limits

The tomb’s emptiness,
underlined by an earthquake.
Still confounding us.

Two faithful women,
don’t need spices as a prop,
visiting the tomb.

Its all a bit much!
An angel is sent to clear
away confusion.

The stone has been rolled
and the guards have all fainted.
Do not be afraid!

Instructions follow.
Come and see, then go and tell:
Your Lord has been raised!

Fear mixes with joy,
strangeness and uncertainty.
What are we to think?

Suddenly he’s here.
Do not fear! Go, tell my friends
We will meet again.


© Ken Rookes 2020

Love’s duty

Haiku of the dawn

The Sabbath had passed.
They came to tend to his corpse,
to confront their pain.

The three: Salome,
the Marys, women of faith,
doing love’s duty.

As the sun rises
they bring their aching sorrow,
their baskets of spice.

Who will roll the stone?
One more barrier to face
and to overcome.

Look! The stone is gone!
Come inside the dark unknown,
discover the truth.

A youth dressed in white
greets them, Do not be alarmed!
Not much chance of that!

The tomb is empty.
What are we to make of this?
Does he really live?

Mark leaves us with doubt,
bewilderment and terror
as they flee in fear.

Posted for the Narrative Lectionary in response to Mark’s story of the empty tomb

© Ken Rookes 2020

Going fishing

Piscatorial Haiku

Seven disciples
decided to go fishing:
found themselves a boat.

They went out at night
hoiping that the fish would come
but they caught nothing.

Standing on the shore
the stranger shouted advice:
Try the other side!

The nets are breaking;
It must be the Lord! they shout.
Peter heads ashore.

A lakeside fire,
a breakfast of bread and fish
with their risen Lord.

Jesus asks Peter:
Simon, do you love me more?
Lord, you know I do.

Simon, feed my lambs.
Twice more Jesus questions him:
How do you love me?

even Simon must get it;
love made real by deeds.

He said, Feed my sheep,
take care of my little lambs.
It’s all about love.


© Ken Rookes 201

Not unless I see.

Haiku of growing hope.

Sunday evening.
The disciples locked the doors,
fearing they were next.

The women’s stories,
which might have brought them some hope,
went disregarded.

Jesus came and stood
before them: Peace be with you!
His friends were perplexed.

He shows them his hands
to help put their minds at ease.
Yeah, right; that’ll work!

There is rejoicing,
along with bewilderment.
The stories were true‽

He sends his friends out,
breathing his Spirit, charging
them to forgive sin.

The absent Thomas,
could not believe their reports.
Not unless I see!

Seven days later,
so John tells us, Jesus came,
to meet them once more.

Here I am, Thomas!
See the nail-marks in my hands,
touch my wounded side.

Falling to his knees
Thomas cries: My Lord, my God!
Finally convinced.

You see and believe?
Blessed are those who believe
who don’t get to see!

Jesus did much more.
Were the stories written down
they would fill volumes.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Sunday. The first day.

Haiku for upending

Sunday. The first day.
The sun returns from beyond;
light chases darkness.

They come to the tomb,
the women, aching, faithful,
to honour their friend.

Bringing their spices
they come to prepare his corpse;
their duty of love.

The stone had been moved.
The open entrance calls them;
Come, see my surprise!

The tomb is empty,
His broken body is gone,
spirited away.

Two men, shining bright
in robes that dazzle the eyes,
come and address them.

Why look in a tomb?
The one you seek is alive!
Remember his words.

The women returned,
(there were at least five of them),
but they weren’t believed.

Peter, however,
wanted to see for himself,
and ran to the tomb.

Only the grave-clothes
were there to be seen. Peter
returned home, amazed.

A tomb that’s empty,
a man no longer present:
should we doubt or hope?

How shall we respond
to this story of wonder,
and to he who lives?


© Ken Rookes 2019

An elusive figure

Haiku for us sceptics

The risen Jesus
is an elusive figure:
now you see him. . .

From behind closed doors,
according to the story,
he appeared to them.

His greeting of peace
was not quite enough, so he
showed his hands and side.

He breathed upon them.
Receive the Holy Spirit:
go out and forgive.

Thomas was absent,
didn’t believe the reports.
I must see his wounds.

What is there to see;
what evidence sufficient
to bring us to faith?

Thank you, man of doubts,
Thomas with your questioning;
you speak for me, too.

Risen Lord Jesus,
present with those who question,
be patient with me.

What more can I say?
Should ev’ry story be told
they would fill volumes.

These have been written
that you might know God, have faith,
and life in his name.


© Ken Rookes 2018

The Sabbath had passed

Haiku of hope and celebration.

The sabbath had passed,
here they come with tearful eyes
to tend his body.

Three of the women,
bring their spices to the tomb
along with their love.

The sun had risen,
the darkness was at its end:
lots of metaphors.

Of the entrance stone
they questioned each other: Who
will roll it away?

The tomb was open,
the stone already rolled back!
Nothing to stop them!

Entering the tomb
there is nothing to be seen;
at least no body.

A man, dressed in white
with his most puzzling words;
Do not be alarmed!

Jesus? He’s not here.
There is the place they laid him;
he’s been raised to life.

Go inform his friends!
The women flee in terror
and keep their mouths shut.


© Ken Rookes


Haiku for an uncertain journey

For a few hours
Emmaus was the centre
of the universe.

Might as well go home,
the two said to eachother.
They had no idea.

An empty journey
devoid of joy, without hope.
Unanswered questions.

Friday’s agonies,
Saturday’s devastations;
now Sunday’s stories.

How shall we believe,
what is left for us to hope,
when will we be healed?

The stranger asks them,
What are you talking about;
what troubles your hearts?

He speaks patiently,
arranging jig-saw pieces
to make the picture.

The falling darkness
leads to an invitation;
he is urged to stay.

The stranger takes bread,
breaks, and passes it around.
Their eyes are opened.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Another poem for this Sunday can be found here and here.