Home town boy

Haiku for breaking out

Home town Nazareth,
the place where he went to school,
where they watched him grow.

Being the Sabbath
he entered the synagogue
and began to teach.

They were astounded.
Where did this man get all this;
where’s this wisdom from?

He’s the carpenter,
we know his mum and siblings!
And they took offence.

Prophets find honour
everywhere but at home.
He left with sadness.

So he departed,
on to other villages,
teaching God’s good news.

He sends out the twelve,
gives them his authority
for the task at hand.

You won’t need money,
just take a staff, no extras;
sandals are okay.

Enter their houses,
accept hospitality.
Don’t look for better.

So they went on out
called the people to repent;
doing Jesus’ work.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

 

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The Sabbath cornfields

Haiku for lawbreakers

The Sabbath cornfields
see his disciples breaking
the Sabbath work laws.

Plucking heads of grain:
harvesting, threshing, working!
All against the law.

The Sabbath, he said,
was given for humankind
not the opposite.

Jesus sits loosely
with the letter of the law;
he is ruled by love.

In the synagogue
the man with a withered hand:
will Jesus heal him?

Shall Sabbath prevail
and circumvent the healing?
No. He will choose love.

What does the law say,
on the Sabbath, to do good,
or should we do harm?

They will not answer.
Their hearts are hard, unable
to find compassion.

The mean and heartless
do not like being exposed.
The plotting begins.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Entitlement

Arriving in his home town
Jesus entered the coming-together place
and addressed his people.
A wave of amazement washed over them,
and then receded almost as quickly.

No special favours, he told them.
Like it was with Elijah and Elisha,
it won’t be the local people who receive the words,
or the blessings.
It’ll be the outsiders, the strangers,
the foreigners and other no-hopers.

Hardly surprising, then,
that a new wave was generated;
one of anger and outrage.
This one took its time passing,
as the throng rode it malevolently
to the cliff at edge of the town;
sweeping the offender before them.

There, to their credit,
they had second thoughts,
and let him walk away.
Which proved to be a good thing
for us outsiders, strangers,
foreigners and other no-hopers.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Haiku sequence: He stood up to read.

In Nazareth town
an ancient text is opened,
intriguing words read.

Isaiah’s promise
of good news, hope and freedom,
is spoken once more.

The parchment is rolled,
returned to the attendant;
the man sits back down.

Eyes are fixed on him.
They watch his moves, and listen;
what will he do next?

Touched by the Spirit ,
the carpenter-man proclaims:
the day has arrived.

The synagogue gasps
at his bold declaration
and foundations shake.

Jesus, local boy,
who do you think that you are
to make such a claim?

© Ken Rookes 2016

No-one special

The family lived at Nazareth,

his mother, sisters and brothers;

plus all the in-laws, nieces and nephews.

It was where he had been raised,

where he had been taught the law

with his schoolmates

at the feet of the local Rabbi.

They recalled how he had learned his trade

at his father’s workshop;

and everyone agreed he had done all right

with the mallet and saw.

Most people had liked him well enough;

his life had been quiet, uneventful.

He should have taken a wife, by now;

and more than one of the village girls

had eyed him off. And then,

without any apparent reason,

he had simply left town

to set up home in Capernaum.

What was he running from?

No-one had any answers,

and no sign of scandal had ever turned up.

Until now.

The reports from surrounding towns

of a miracle-working teacher

had not struck anyone as that unusual.

They were intrigued, and a little curious,

but there must have been thousands of men

by the same name, and it took a while

for them to realise that he was theirs.

He’d arrived back home affecting the teacher,

pretending to knowledge and understanding

way beyond his village-school education.

He had the gall to turn up at the synagogue

to regale his captive audience

with his feigned wisdom and insight.

They had to concede that he had spoken quite well,

but that was beside the point.

He might convince the uninformed

in any of a hundred other towns across Galilee,

but he wasn’t going to fool them.

They knew he was nobody special,

just like themselves, so they told him to go.

 

© Ken Rookes 2012