They thought him a ghost

Haiku of wonder

They thought him a ghost
when the risen Jesus came
and stood among them.

They were terrified,
did not know how to react:
hardly surprising.

He reassured them
with his words of peace, as if
all was quite normal.

Showing them his hands
and his feet; he ate some fish.
See, I’m just like you.

He died, we saw him
buried, along with our hopes;
and yet now he lives!

Joy and disbelief,
a clumsy combination;
how to deal with it?

Remember the words
that I spoke in your presence;
they make sense of it.

The law of Moses,
the words found in the prophets,
they all point to me.

It is written thus,
the Messiah must suffer,
and rise the third day.

Go, proclaim the Christ,
his life and his forgiveness.
Be my witnesses.

© Ken Rookes 2018

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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

He came, touched by God.

Haiku for those who dare to hope

He came, touched by God,
sharing human pain and death;
brushing us with love.

The aching sadness.
He’s gone, along with our hopes.
Can life endure death?

The promise of life,
our hearts strong with excitement,
crashing to the earth.

We weep for ourselves
as we shed our tears for him;
lifeless in the tomb.

Is anything left
from the storehouse of his life?
Was it for nothing?

A few words remain
from his wisdom and stories;
let us remember.

Surely not the end!
Darkness, hatred and fear
must never prevail.

Dawn’s radiant light
confronts insistent darkness;
will it overcome?

We have heard rumours,
we want to believe they’re true,
that somehow he lives.

Go on, look within
for the resurrection glow;
incandescent love.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Proof

The previously-dead Jesus meets with Thomas
and invites his sceptical friend
to extend his hand,
to touch his master’s injured hands and side.
This, according to gospel-writer John,
is the incontrovertible proof
that his Lord lives.

We find it less convincing.
Nor do the various reported signs work for us
in quite the same way that they did for the evangelist.
two thousand years ago.
What evidence, then,
might persuade you and I that our master is alive?

The generous acts of his followers? Perhaps.
Loving deeds of disciples? Maybe.
Lives spent courageously for the sake of justice, hope,
and the gospel?
Yes,
such as these could be sufficient
to satisfy the rest of us sceptics.

 

©Ken Rookes 2016

 

 

 

All they could do

All they could do,
the gospel writers, and those
who crafted the stories before them
was to grope in wonder after some words.
Words to convey even a shining edge
of the full mystery. So they wrote of angels
shimmering with white, and an earthquake
that shook the very foundations of both earth
and heaven; and of the surprise
of a disappearing man who could not be grasped
but who was strangely with them still.
Of the impossibly empty space that death
had once occupied. They told of a stone,
the removal of which would have required a forklift,
that had apparently been flicked away
by a divine finger. They wrote of unsurpassed joy
and of hope that had been conjured ex nihilo.
They told of embracings, of illuminating journeys
and intimate dinings, of unexpected recognitions
and equally bewildering disappearances.
Their stories included the elements of honest fear,
uncertainty, and disbelief;
as if to underline the wonder.
One who they had loved,
in whom the Divine One appeared to dwell,
and who, they all attested, had been killed;
was somehow present. Living. Decades on.
All they could do was grope
in the diminished darkness, and hope
to find some words.

© Ken Rookes

In the breaking of bread

In the breaking of bread
the Lord is known.
The human-shaped God
takes the hospitality of heaven in his hands
and distributes it to his friends.
“This is for you,” he says
looking into the eyes of the hungry.
“This food is me. Take me deep inside
your eyes, your head, your heart and your belly.
Take me into your dreams and your struggles,
your fears and your waking thoughts.
Take me deep into your cryings
and your rejoicings. Take me as you journey
towards the wonder of love
and the mystery of grace.
Find me deep within your sharings,
your yearnings, your laughings,
and the fullness of your life together.
See me with you in the loneliness of dark night
and when you close your eyes
against the blinding light.
See me; even when I disappear.
This is for you,”
he says.
 
© Ken Rookes

Emmaus journeying

We often walked, Cleopas and I
to Jerusalem,
and back home again.
We knew the road well,
the hills, the dusty gravel,
and the places where,
on a hot afternoon,
we would take our shaded rest.
Our conversation helped to shrink
the couple of hours, briskly walked.
On that afternoon we stumbled
through the seas of silence
to awkward islands of
repeated, unanswered questions;
our bewilderment taking shape
in clumsy words.
 
It could be busy enough,
that humble track,
so we were hardly surprised
when the stranger caught us up.
He gathered our questions
with each stride,
reshaping them unexpectedly
and tossing them before us
until the road ahead,
and the one upon which we had journeyed
these recent years
became clear, confident
and joyous.
 
The stranger is gone now,
yet his words remain.
The landscape upon which we journey
may be strange and unfamiliar,
but now we know where we are going. 

© Ken Rookes