The big question

Haiku for disciples

It’s the big question:
Who do people say I am?
Have to think on that.

A prophet, for sure;
just like John the Baptiser,
even Elijah!

But what about you,
you who journey beside me
you who know me well?

Breaking the silence
Peter, fisherman, spoke up:
You must be the Christ!

Perhaps I am he,
but do not speak of these things;
they won’t understand.

He began to teach:
The Son of Man will suffer
and he will be killed.

Once more to Peter:
Please don’t talk like that, he said;
This cannot be true.

It is true for me,
and it will be true for you,
if you follow me.

To gain the whole world
is not the same as true life;
to gain, you must lose.

Be my followers.
Take up your cross, just like me,
and take on the world!


© Ken Rookes 2018



The great Apostle
wasn’t much good at spin,
nor would he ever have been elected
to the position
had apostleship been subject to
democratic processes.
“Join me in suffering
for the gospel,” he writes
in a policy speech to his young acolyte;
seemingly oblivious to the oxymoron
that many good people see in that
brief invitation.
Yes, folks; that’s what discipleship
can do for you, too!
Out the window with that ‘prosperity’ stuff;
if you want a world of justice,
truth and love,
it looks like we’re in for the hard slog.
Not quite the good news we were expecting;
might as well vote for higher taxes,
while we’re at it.

© Ken Rookes 2013
More poems for next Sunday can be found here and here.

Seats of glory

You know I love you both like brothers,
but I’m embarrassed,
and you should be too.
You don’t get it; you haven’t been listening.
If it was up to me you could have them,
but it’s not that simple
and the others might object.
The seat on my left and the one on my right,
they’re not mine to grant,
because they belong to everybody
and no-one.
There will be no worldly kingdom,
because it doesn’t work like that;
and there will be no heavenly kingdom, either,
because a paradise among the clouds
is just as irrelevant, and disquieting,
as one amid earth’s dust.
There will be no seats of glory;
not for me, not for anyone.
There are no seats, only places,
and they have little to do with glory
and much more to do with serving
and giving and suffering
and living and dying and making peace.
Places for standing and moving,
not seats for sitting and presiding;
places for gathering and for sharing together.
Places for being a servant,
not reserved for the best, or the greatest.
Places for everyone
who is willing to drink the cup
and to immerse themselves
in prickly water-spirit baptised life.
Places for disciples; followers
who allow themselves to be raised
above all the fears and the worries.
Places of connection, with the Spirit,
building justice, love and grace,
into kingdom and community.

© Ken Rookes 2012



Six and a half decades ago
a cloud hung horrible
before finally distributing Hiroshima’s toxic dust,
Nagasaki’s too, between the four winds
who dutifully dispersed it
among the planet’s oceans,
forests and deserts and cities.
Violence is not so easily eliminated,
its half-life is long;
the ghost-cloud of cruelty lingers
and extends with each season
of corruption and war.

The ghost-cloud continues its cold journey
drawing earth’s violent excesses
and storing them in cavernous shelves:
the smoke from death ovens,
the cries of the tortured,
the wails of women brutalised,
of children abused,
the scandal of holy wars and crusades.
The ghost-cloud feeds upon misery.
Gloating, it mocks good people,
and gives succour to the powers of darkness.

Only defiant prayings,
Yearnings, weepings and seekings
seem to diminish the cloud’s shadow.
These, along with occasional acts
of kindness, grace and peace, ascend
to erode the cloud at its edges,
and to bring hope.

Ken Rookes.
Looking to Hiroshima Day on Monday.