The boy Jesus

He was twelve years old
when he went with his fam’ly
to Jerusalem.

Nobody missed him
amidst all the confusion
of the festival.

The fam’ly heads home.
A day into the journey
they note his absence.

At last they find him
sitting among the teachers
in the great temple.

The twelve year old boy
holds his own with his questions
and his perception.

They were astonished,
his parents. They chastised him,
Why have you done this?

Why did you seek me?
You should have known where to look;
in my Father’s house.

In twenty years’ time.
He will return for the feast
and the conclusion.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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Birth Pangs

Haiku for a new order

Leaving the temple
the disciples were impressed;
like country cousins.

How big the stones are,
and look at the large buildings!
Nothing like back home!

Don’t be overawed!
These buildings, too are passing;
all will be thrown down.

The old religion
has failed. It will pass away.
Just like the temple.

When will these things be,
what will be the sign? they asked
when they were alone.

Don’t be led astray.
Mind my words, don’t trust any
who say, “I am he!”

You will hear of wars,
and strife among the nations;
do not be alarmed.

There will be famines
and natural disasters;
keep trusting in me.

These are the birth pangs
of God’s kingdom ruled by love;
it will surely come.

Old religion still
holds so many in its sway.
Let’s open our eyes!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Behaving recklessly

Haiku for the angry

In Jerusalem
people gather for the feast;
things are heating up.

The Passover nears
time to remember; recall
God’s saving actions.

As is his practice,
Jesus behaves recklessly,
upsets good order.

Goes to the temple,
where he observes the commerce
and money changing.

The man gets angry,
makes a whip from cords of rope,
drives the traders out.

Escaping doves soar,
as tables are overturned.
Coins spill to the floor.

Take them out of here;
these instruments of Mammon
do not lead to life.

Temple is a place
for drawing near, listening,
and worshipping God.

They ask him, What right
do you have to come in here
and to do these things?

Destroy this temple
and I’ll raise it in three days.
Another riddle.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018.

The old people sing

Haiku of fulfillment

Old people hang out
in churches and in temples;
watching and waiting.

Something might happen.
You never know, it might be
the day God appears.

Righteous and devout,
old Simeon was patient;
he would see the Christ.

His words erupted!
This child, he would be the one;
light and salvation!

The old man blessed them.
It is enough, I’ve seen him
Let me go now, God.

He spoke to Mary.
There will arise much turmoil
on the road to peace.

Anna, the prophet,
saw the child, raised her old voice,
and joined in the song.

Wisdom and insight
come not just with the years,
but with openness.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

It was on the Sabbath Day

Haiku for those who would see.

Jesus was working;
it was on the Sabbath Day
that he healed the man.

The Pharisees freaked,
the thing was most improper;
called an inquiry.

What have you to say?
He can’t heal and break the law;
must be a sinner.

A sinner, you say?
He opened my eyes. I choose
to call him Prophet.

Yes, this is our son.
Yes, he was born without sight,
and yes, now he sees.

How did it happen?
Why are you questioning us?
Ask him, he will know!

They inquire once more:
His power must be from God,
says the seeing man.

The crowd was aroused,
the leaders were embarrassed.
So they threw him out.

Jesus found the man.
Now that you can see, he says,
keep your eyes open.

Some with eyes to see
choose the darkness over light;
they make themselves blind.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

End time warnings

End-time warnings are stock-in-trade for the literalists
who delight in making pronouncements on behalf of the almighty.
These words tell of the fragility of human existence,
of the imperative to mend our ways,
and of the need to be ready.

Accusations, betrayal, hatred, death!
(Rest assured, not a hair of your head will perish!
Work that one out.)
Wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues
and other portents!

I was never much interested in eschatological speculations.
And yet with the planet soon to bake in an atmospheric oven,
and life as we know it most likely changing for ever,
Darwin may yet prevail. If not over the Almighty,
then at least over the self-declared faithful.

All those biblical warnings about end-times
are conveniently ignored by those who doubt the science
and who also refuse to pay the cost.
It seems that the temple and the planet might both be cast down,
neither of which would appear to have much hope of restoration.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Not like other people

Attending the temple,
two men, one upright and proud,
one without merit.

The Pharisee stands,
eyes raised, confident and proud,
boasting before God.

I’m such a good man,
honest, diligent, faithful,
I fast and I tithe.

Go right ahead, God,
pour out your many blessings;
I am deserving.

The tax collector
stands apart from prying eyes;
head bowed to the ground.

Lowers his sad eyes,
aware of his need for grace;
God, be merciful.

They each return home.
The first untouched. The second
justified by God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016