Monday, June 27, 2016

See, I am sending you.

A cluster of haiku

As lambs among wolves,
so, my friends, I send you out:
bearers of good news.

Pronounce God's shalom.
The blessing will find a home
in children of peace.

As they welcome you
those people, too, will be blessed;
God's reign coming near.

Not all will listen,
some will not see the kingdom.
Still, it has come near.



© Ken Rookes 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

‘For freedom Christ has set us free.‘

"Freedom.
A word that is often used. Probably overused.

Freedom has its power form us.
We are living in the modern society that was the result of revolutions in the late 1700 hundreds. The French revolution declared its movement with the slogan ‘liberte, fraternity, equalte’ :that is  freedom, brotherhood, equality.
 longing for freedom grows up in places where people are imprisoned: we are hearing the cry of imprisoned asylum seekers on Nauru, Manus, Christmas Island among other.
... People deprived of their freedom reach a point when they have nothing left to lose. Such is the loss of their freedom, they are willing to give up their lives.
The cruel irony is that these people now detained in camps came looking for a place to escape oppression which robbed them which robbed them of their sense of self – they lose their sense of being human.
 Freedom is offered in another way. That is, freedom is offered along with security. When there is a threat – either imagined or real – the government asks its citizens to prepare to defend our freedom. An example of how strong that is in our imagination plays out in the remembering of Gallipoli. When youngsters are asked about the meaning of ANZAC they will often reply that the ‘soldiers at Gallipoli fought for our freedom’.
 In that same spirit youngsters don uniforms and go to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. They discover what returned soldiers and their families have experienced in every war, call it shell shock or post traumatic stress disorder. They have often gone to some lengths to hide it.
 So there is a great irony: the readiness to go to battle in the name of freedom, actually imprisons the soldier in another way ....
How is that received: by the Spirit of God, Paul insists on this: the Spirit is the new and distinctive life to be lived by those who receive the benefits of Christ.
 What is the benefit? To live in the freedom of living for others.
 Notice that: mostly I have talked of freedom as if we were concerned with the freedom FROM.
But Paul points us to a life to be lived FOR others.
Paul contrasts the life of the Spirit with the life of the flesh: flesh means a life lived in our self interest, a life lived for ourselves,. No, says Paul, the life of the Spirit has an entirely different character.
Some people think that Paul is difficult.
Hard to understand.
But if we sit with the verses we have just hear, we will hear a call that is challenging. As bold and strong as we heard in the Gospel. We are called to live – not for ourselves but for Christ who calls us to be his. And with that to live for others – especially those who suffer so much that they have lost the benefits of the freedom of Christ.
 So Paul says to us:

Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
 Live in the liberty of Christ. For freedom Christ has set us free."

Rev Dr Wes Campbell (for full sermon see sermon's page)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Birds of the air have nests


Let me be a bird of the air
embracing the freedom of flight,
with a nest to come home to at night.

Let me be a fox of the fields
ranging the bush and the hills,
with a sheltering hole from night's chills.

A lizard among grass and stones,
I would rest, contemplating the sun,
and retreat to my rock when day's done.

The Son of Man, we are told,
had no place to lay his kind head;
at least not until he was dead.

I would be called a disciple;
let love guide my feet as I roam
dusty paths toward my true home.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

My name is Legion


Legion were my hauntings,
and numerous the years of their torments.
Great was my nakedness,
and multiple the chains and shackles
that lay rusting among the weeds,
failed and broken.
Vast was my hopelessness,
deep my despair,
and terrible the fear
evoked by my unholy presence.
Many were my dwellings
among the tombs outside the city.
Considering myself dead,
I was at home there;
and at the same time, lost.

Manifold were the blessings
from the hand of the Galilean;
who arrived, uninvited,
at this desolate place,
to speak his words of healing,
hope,
liberty and life.
They sent him away;
I would have gone with him.
“Return to your people,”
he told me. “Be a living declaration
of the wonders of God.”

I did as he said.
My heart,
however,
followed him to Jerusalem.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, June 6, 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