Heirarchies of honour

Haiku for the humble

We all observe them,
the heirarchies of honour
that show our status.

Do not be troubled
by lists of significance
and where you fit in.

Simply be yourself,
unconcerned about status.
Honour comes and goes.

Be humble, accept
whatever God allots you,
God will exalt you.

Don’t invite your friends,
your brethren or rich neighbours:
they will pay you back.

Learn to be gen’rous.
Give to those who can’t pay back,
and make them welcome.

Share with the cripple,
the poor, the blind and the lame;
they can’t repay you.

Generosity
is its own blessing: be blest
as you share your love.

© Ken Rookes 2019

Not on the Sabbath

Haiku of freedom

Jesus was teaching
in one of the synagogues,
it was the Sabbath.

She came to see him,
the woman; she hadn’t stood
straight for eighteen years.

As we might expect
Jesus spoke words of freedom;
touched and made her whole.

Standing straight, praising,
and giving glory to God,
the woman rejoiced.

The law is broken!
They protest: Six days for work,
don’t use the Sabbath!

You are hypocrites!
he answers. On the Sabbath
we do what we must.

It’s not the Sabbath
that stops you rejoicing, but
your hatred for me.

Get hung up on law,
ignore what God is doing;
how sad you all are!

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

Love your enemies

Impossible haiku

Love your enemies:
surely the most laughable
of all his commands.

Easily dismissed
when fear is cultivated
to harvest power.

The title, ‘Christian,’
becomes robbed of its meaning
by those who must hate.

Bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.
More futile commands.

Even bad people
love those who return their love;
be better than that.

Would you follow him;
this man who insists on love
ahead of all else?

Real love is one-way,
not a bargain or a deal,
expects no return.

Generous, like God,
love is extended to all;
you don’t pick and choose.

Don’t be judgmental,
don’t condemn those who fall short,
practice forgiveness.

When it comes to love,
aim high, and don’t be afraid
to fail, says Jesus.

 

© Ken Rookes 2019

They brought their children

Haiku of blessing

They came to test him,
the Pharisees, loving law;
What about divorce?

For your heart’s hardness,
Moses permitted divorce.
Human brokenness.

Two becoming one:
a generous unity
and image of love

They brought their children
to be embraced by Jesus,
seeking his blessing.

The twelve gatekeepers,
also known as disciples,
spoke sternly to them.

Let them come to me,
said Jesus indignantly,
and do not stop them.

To children like these
the kingdom of God belongs;
enter like a child.

He took the children
into his arms, blessing them,
declaring God’s love.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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

 

Scribes and Pharisees

Haiku for servants

Scribes and Pharisees:
religious establishment,
power and bluster.

Religious heavies
still imagine that they rule,
brandishing their keys.

Creating burdens
is the thing they excel at;
they will weigh you down.

Telling the people
that they are not good enough
to make it with God.

Look how good we are!
Try your best to be like us;
we’re exemplary.

Measure our fringes,
see our wide phylacteries;
don’t we look the part!

Do not play their game.
Be humble, self-effacing,
a servant of all.

You are my students.
Don’t call yourself a teacher;
you have one teacher.

They still know better
than the rest of us; they still
tell us how to live.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Be in agreement

Haiku of the disappointing

Sinners in the church!
How could it be otherwise?
Flawed humanity.

Work through your issues;
quietly if possible.
Maintain fellowship.

Try to practise grace,
forgiving one another.
Sort things out with love.

Rules are enacted
to limit bad behaviour;
love doesn’t need rules.

Accept correction
from your sisters and brothers
as a caring gift.

Agree together
on your Father’s purposes;
advance God’s kingdom.

Where two, three gather
in my name, to seek my will,
I am with them there.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017