Of all his stories

Haiku for a servant people

is engaged less by constructs
than by parables.

He told his stories;
cunning, sneaking up on us,
causing us to think.

Many parables
cause us to squirm. Banish them;
choose other verses.

His stories trouble.
This one disturbs more than most;
gives no place to hide.

The king, (Jesus), expects us
to care for others!

Naked, in prison,
hungry, homeless or stranger;
we must show them love.

The neighbour in need
is an opportunity
to love your master.

Make no excuses.
We will be judged by our deeds;
by how we have loved.


© Ken Rookes 2017


He comes through the gate

Haiku of selfless leadership

He comes through the gate,
the shepherd; so we trust him
to protect the sheep.

Up front, transparent,
one who goes ahead of us;
we will follow him.

Some leaders pretend:
Follow me, I’ll care for you!
In it for themselves.

Thieves, crooks and bandits,
these come to steal and destroy.
Jesus is no thief.

The good shepherd comes
to give his all for his flock.
The sheep know his voice

Jesus is the gate.
Through this man we enter life
abundant and true.


© Ken Rookes 2017

When the lost are found

Haiku of welcome and celebration

He welcomes sinners,
this fellow, and eats with them.
He must be a fraud.

As was Jesus’ wont,
he told them all a story;
driving home his point.

Of his hundred sheep
the shepherd finds one missing,
goes to search for it.

A second story:
a woman loses a coin,
searches high and low.

When the lost are found
there is a great rejoicing;
also in heaven.

The small and the lost,
these, too, are valued by God;
and much loved also.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Tell us plainly (no more riddles)

So, is he the Messiah;
and what does it mean
if he is?
That eternal-life thing;
is it about heaven and the afterlife,
or is it something more significant?
The sheep that hear his voice,
the ones that follow him,
we’re talking discipleship now,
costly and committed,
aren’t we?
It’s not just some pretty, clichéd,
Sunday-school image:
an assiduous shepherd,
with beard and long flowing hair,
carrying a cute but errant lamb
upon his noble shoulders;
is it?

Yeah, I thought so.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Other sheep

Taking heed of Jesus’ teaching,
listening for his voice;
looking out for others,
unafraid to make love’s choice.

The shepherd calls them by their name;
he’ll keep them safe from threat.
Come join him in the fold and know
his work’s not finished yet.

Some sheep have different colouring,
might feed on different grass;
they trust in hope and justice,
never fear what comes to pass.

Some speak with foreign accents,
step out in robes or veils,
make peace their golden standard
and weep when loving fails.

They may not pray like we do,
or sing our sacred songs;
but the flock, it comes together
when it stands against the wrongs.

Their doctrines might not be the same,
but one thing they agree:
love is the thing that matters,
forgiveness is the key.

Joined in freedom’s family-flock,
because that’s where they belong:
their differences won’t stop them
as they sing the shepherd’s song.

© Ken Rookes 2015

The righteous

consists not so much
in keeping oneself free from
all manner of sin and impurity,
(although this could be a consequence for some),
but in living in ways that are governed
by divine principles
of generosity and love.

The sort of foolish care
that treats prisoners with dignity,
recognises strangers as fellow pilgrims,
and offers food, clothing and water
to the least among the forgotten.

The kind of reckless defiance
that befriends the embarrassing,
confronts institutional cruelty and fear,
and supports the claims
of the homeless and the refugee.

The improbable commitment to one’s neighbour
that builds community, creates hope
and strives towards justice.

These, the parable tells us,
are the things that determine
who is truly righteous.

© Ken Rookes 2014

Once, while wandering

Once, when wandering
uncertain and without a destination,
an unexpected wind-spirit thing
claimed my attention
with a whisper; a voice
that spoke of the fulfilment of divine love
but mostly spoke of home.
I followed; listening,
and immersing myself
in the stories of one who found himself
truly mortal;
a fellow traveller and child of dust,
like the rest of us.
My journey began anew,
with more meanderings,
an enduring share in uncertainty,
and a goal that continues to shine;
distant but defiant.
In my sometimes hesitant following
I have learned to be at peace
with my need for grace.
There are stories,
more murmurings from the travelling man,
that speak of searching and of being found;
and of the surprising wind-spirit thing.
The stories give me courage
to wander, to explore and to be free;
trusting that even when I feel myself lost,
I will be found.
© Ken Rookes 2013