Monday, December 5, 2016

Magnificat: a haiku sequence.

Haiku for a revolution

A young teenager,
so the ancient story says,
offered up a song.

The girl is with child;
this is a thing of wonder,
of hope and of joy.

Nobody special,
she is God's lowly servant;
humble, accepting.

Magnifying God,
she sang with praise, rejoicing
at God's strange favour.

Mercy unconfined,
across the generations,
for those who trust God.

God's strength surprises
to scatter the great and proud
in their vanity.

From their noble thrones
the powerful are brought down.
Let the day come close.

The poor, down-trodden;
these will be elevated
to God's chosen place.

The hungry will eat,
they will dine upon good food;
the rich will miss out.

From this young girl's lips
came words of revolution.
Most disconcerting.

© Ken Rookes 2016

When John heard in prison

Haiku of enquiry
We missed you, Baptist;
your amusing desert rants
made us think again.

The authorities
were less amused; took offense,
waited for their chance.

If you'd stopped and thought
you might have backed off, instead
you're locked in prison.

So you sent your mates
to find out what's happening.
They seek out Jesus.

They ask: are you he,
the one we are expecting,
or do we still wait?

Open up your eyes,
what do you see, and hear,
as you look about?

The blind see again,
lepers are being made clean,
the lame are walking.

And as for the poor,
they're hearing the good news
with joy and with hope.

Go, tell the prophet
that God's kingdom has come near.
Tell him: be at peace.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

John the Baptist song

I have found this Song by Peter Kearney to be very insightful about John the Baptist.
JOHN AND JESUS         Peter Kearney
Of John and Jesus, the rise and the fall -
John was the prophet, the greatest of all
And Jesus the saviour whom God did send
They had the same message and came to the same sudden end.

 John kept to basics in food and in dress
He made his home out in the wilderness
The down and the out were his neighbours there
He showed us a way when we didn't know where to begin.

He said: Come on everyone to the river to drown
To be tumbled and tossed, turned upside down
Change your heart, come clear your mind
And find your feet on new ground.

One day the Pharisees came from the town –
Smooth talkin' men in their fancy gowns
And John he said - "you're a brood of snakes
You know every law but not what it takes to be good!"

He spoke without fear and news of him spread
The poor, like children, came to hear what he said
He wasn't giving them stones, he gave them bread
They fed on the truth - every word that he said said it all.

John gave a warning- "destruction is due!"
The people asked him - "just what should we do?"
"If you've got two coats then one is to share
If you have power, be sure you are fair to the poor."

You know that Jesus, when he came along
He went straight to the river to be baptised by John
He took his place where John took his stand
Brought news of a Kingdom where the poor of the land could belong.
Herod the King liked to hear John speak
What he said made him nervous but he sure was unique
Then John criticised his plans to rewed
So they put him in prison - before very long John was dead.

And how many people since Jesus and John
Spoke out the truth and soon were gone
After naming the names of the snakes in the pile
They're gone - but just for a while.
"What did you go to the desert to see?
Was it a reed shaking in the breeze?" "
Oh no it was a wiry tree

Growing up strong in a place where a tree shouldn't be!"
Song also available on Itunes to download.

John the Wild Man

Wild Man John exhorts people to fight within their times against their temptation to believe that they can have the riches of Caesar’s kingdoms and the endless pleasures of the empire and still be God’s people.
John inveighs, calling them a brood of vipers who choose to flee from the real work of preparing the world for God. Repent! he exhorts them, urging them to follow a different drummer – him, and the One who is to come.
... God’s earth has always belonged to all people  – people who have moved across  continents and seas, moved bodies and souls, languages and religions with them. Somehow the church has allowed privatization to encroach upon our minds and our land. And somehow the church has allowed  hospitality for the stranger, the persistent biblical theme, to fall into dishonor among the people of God.
Our flight has been into fantasies that are ungodly at best, demonic at worst. The fight Wild Man John urges is for us to separate ourselves from all of this, in a warfare of repentance, of turning away.
This infested darkness, this bog of angers that has hold of our souls, is the place where the Presence will come. Born into no palace but in an animal’s stall, laid in an animals’ trough, then fleeing from war, the Child and his immigrant family have no papers as they arrive in Egypt, where they live as refugees outside the system, the father working any job he can find, the mother, too.
John’s repentance begins with an acknowledgement that God does not need us. We need God, who insists on joining us together as brothers and sisters, us and all the despised people in the world, this motley crew of religions and pieties.
Just getting to that relationship requires a terrific fight.
Everything else follows on from there."

John and Jesus

"John dreamed of the peaceable realm and so do we. He never lived to see its full embodiment, but he planted seeds that enabled Jesus to move forward as its messenger and embodiment. John is Advent personified: he embodies the fierce urgency of the now, but not yet. He is impatient with our foolishness and sin, and wants us to be better. As Advent messenger, he knows that salvation occurs through the transformation of one person at a time. This very moment is the right time for us to let go of the past, turn away from our half-heartedness and complicity with injustice, and find a new pathway to God’s peaceable kingdom, one step and one breath at a time.
The uniqueness of John’s message is a good theme for this Sunday’s sermon. His radical vision, preparing the way for Jesus, challenges us to prepare the way for Jesus’ mission in our time. Our preparation is a matter of deeds as well as words. Walking in the way of Jesus involves a commitment to constant transformation and renewal, to changing our ways in response to God’s wondrous gifts of grace. Like John, we are challenged to announce the coming of a world not yet born, critique our own and our community’s hypocrisy, and recognize that Christ’s presence demands a radical reorientation of values so that we might recognize the realm of God already emerging in our midst."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Prepare a path

Haiku of readiness

The Baptiser came;
a voice, calling, defiant.
Preparing a path.

In the wilderness;
broken stones and tangled weeds
of human despair.

Through the wilderness
one is coming to bring hope;
a way must be found.

It is drawing near,
this strange kingdom of light, life
and revolution.

Make yourselves ready,
bring forth the repentance fruits;
grace and compassion.

Through the scrub he comes
with his words of love and life;
most unexpected.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

The day is not known

Haiku for watching and waiting
The day is not known,
nor can the hour be guessed at;
the accounting time.

The days of Noah;
doing our everyday things,
expecting the same.

Eating and drinking,
marrying – things to be done
as our lives proceed.

The mythical flood
comes to change everything,
surprising us all.

Fearful images;
one is taken, one is left.
The day is not known.

Keep awake, therefore.
You don't know when the thief comes.
You must be prepared.

The Son of Man comes
when we are not expecting;
the accounting time.

© Ken Rookes 2016