Healing and hope

Haiku for desperate people

On the other side
of the lake, a crowd gathered;,
eager for his word.

A desperate dad,
synagogue leader Jairus,
fell at Jesus’ feet.

Begs for his daughter,
She’s dying, come and touch her
with your healing hands.

A woman is there,
bleeding, unclean for twelve years;
doctors have not helped.

She comes quietly,
feeling shame at her illness;
touches his clothing.

Immediately
her flow of blood ends. What joy!
she knows she is healed.

He somehow feels it,
asks who it was who touched him
as the crowd presses.

In fear and trembling
she falls before him. Daughter,
be healed, go in peace.

He has been delayed;
reports are brought of the girl.
No point in coming.

She’s not dead, he says,
just sleeping. They scoff and laugh.
He goes to the house.

He takes the girls hand,
(She was all of twelve years old),
Little girl, get up!

What wonder is this?
He speaks and his words bring life;
this is the gospel!

© Ken Rookes 2018

 

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At Jacob’s Well

Haiku for an opening dialogue

Did Jesus say Please,
w
hen he asked her for a drink?
Let’s assume he did.

Having slaked his thirst,
he smiled, offered the woman
water that’s lasting.

She could play his game,
this Samaritan woman:
You need a bucket!

Not for this water;
You will never thirst again!
Yes, that would be cool.

Go get your husband.
Haven’t got one, she replied.
Mostly true, he said.

They talk religion,
where best to worship God.
Your church, or mine?

He’s coming, she said,
the Messiah, called the Christ.
You’re talking to him.

Epilogue.

Much excitement!
A prophet, perhaps the Christ;
come see for yourselves!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

On the sabbath

Haiku for the religiously observant.

On the sabbath day
the afflicted woman came.
She asked no favours.

Eighteen years of pain,
with body bent and twisted;
Jesus called to her.

Freed by Jesus’ words,
standing upright, rejoicing;
giving praise to God.

Religious leaders
speak to defend the sabbath
from such outrages.

Six days for working!
The seventh’s not for healing;
come another day!

Get real, says Jesus.
Common sense and compassion
must rule ev’ry day.

Living is empty
if love no longer shapes us;
Embrace its freedom.

The crowd rejoices;
opponents are put to shame.
Don’t mess with Jesus.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

An alabaster jar

As is their wont, the Pharisees grumble
at the wastefulness of a woman;
who, in this story of beauty and grace,
spills her precious ointment upon Jesus’ feet.

They also grumble
at the wastefulness of the anointed one,
who, in his larger story of grace and beauty
pours love upon the undeserving.

Forgiveness and love, spilled with abandon;
this is the message of his living.
Consider this;
you who are wont to grumble.

© Ken Rookes 2016

A woman and a girl

For the woman,
twelve years of suffering,
the physical distress of her bleeding
matched only by its consequent social exclusion.
(She is ritually unclean, and will remain so
while ever her haemorrhage goes unchecked).
For the girl, according to the fears of her father,
twelve years of living are about to be concluded,
just when her life should be beginning.

Except that the girl doesn’t die;
the woman, too, is healed by the teacher.
Connected only by a narrative
and the same span of years,
each is restored, in her own way,
to life, family and community.
This, according to gospel writer, Mark,
is what Jesus, the one sent from above,
does.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Another  poem on this story can be found here. And also here.

Prejudice

The Bible,
that most ancient collection of writings,
esteemed by some and held sacred by others,
includes traces of racism and religious prejudice.
More than a few fragments,
if we’re able to admit it.
Its stories include a powerful foundational myth
asserting a nation’s superiority
as God’s chosen people;
making the avoidance of such prejudiced conclusions
somewhat problematic.
Occasionally a reckless prophet- type person
came along to question that myth;
they were generally pointed
in the direction of the door.
It is still so.
Even Jesus, the travelling teacher from the north,
seems to have been comfortable enough
with established opinion on this matter.
It took some time,
together with the insistent and intrusive pleadings
of a desperate foreign woman;
but at last, we are pleased to say,
his metaphorical copper coin loosened,
and finally dropped.

© Ken Rookes 2014

At Sychar

At Sychar the ancient well,
said to have been dug by Jacob himself,
continues its unfailing work;
storing the generosity
of the even older spring
in its cool, dark pool.
Deep below the sun-bleached rocks,
it holds enough water
to deliver its aqueous life
to inhabitants of the Samaritan village,
and to all who come looking;
provided they have a bucket
and sufficient length of rope.
Lacking such basics,
the travelling man from the north,
thirsty from his journey,
makes his famous request
of a woman who came to fill her empty jar.
A spirited conversation bubbles up.
From earnest banter it spills out
into life’s exponential invitation;
to fashion a bucket,
to twist a rope, and
to delve deeply within.

© Ken Rookes 2014