Monday, August 8, 2022

Unproductive vines

 Haiku of failed privilege

A model vineyard.

Fertile, cleared of stones, wine-vat;

all ready to go.

Planted with choice vines,

the vintage is guaranteed!

But the grapes are wild.

What more, questions God,

could I have done for my vineyard?

I shall destroy it!

It shall be devoured,

broken down, trampled; given

over to the thorns.

An allegory!

The vineyard is Israel

and Judah’s people.

God looked for justice,

from his privileged people;

saw only bloodshed

Seeking righteousness,

God heard only anguished cries

from those cast aside.

We, who are priv'leged,

do we build justice, truth, hope;

are we serving love?

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, August 1, 2022

God's disappointment

Haiku of dodgy religion

Isaiah’s vision

reveals God’s disappointment,

his people’s failure.

Rams, lambs goats and bulls,

sacrificed to appease God,

won't save your bacon.

With hands dripping blood

you come to God, expecting

that God will hear you?

Your good religion

means nothing while injustice

and evil abound.

I take no pleasure
in offerings, festivals;
bring me a clean heart.

Cease your wicked ways,

cleanse yourselves of all evil,

do good, seek justice.

Its never too late,

the invitation is there;

come to me, says God.

Your sins are scarlet,

they shall be like snow; crimson,

they'll become like wool..

I would not judge you;

be willing, obedient,

and all will be well.

© Ken Rookes 2022 

Monday, July 25, 2022


Haiku of failure

Unrequited love;

God’s for Israel. Little

wonder that God weeps.

Prophet Hosea

brings the word of God’s anguish

along with judgement.

They went their own way,

ignoring the call of God

for justice and truth.

Profound love imaged

in the tender embracing

of parent with child.

This is a strange God,

feeling rejection; needy

and so capricious!

The anger; is it

because of faithlessness, or

the failure to love?

God’s recoiling heart,

refusing harsh punishment;

the power of love.

Judgement is forestalled!

The God of second-chances,

the God we worship.

Return, O people!

God who balances justice

with mercy awaits.

© Ken Rookes 2022 

Monday, July 18, 2022

All in the family


All in the family

Haiku of embarrassing nomenclature

Instructed by God,

prophet Hosea marries

prostitute Gomer.

It happens. A man

becomes smitten. Takes a chance;

It might just work out.

Marriage and message

jumbled in the prophet’s life.

Call that commitment!

Filled with sin, the land

has played whore with other gods.

A faithless marriage.

Prophet and harlot

have a child. Name him “Jezreel,”

place of death and blood.

A daughter this time.

Call her “Not Pitied.” Israel

is not forgiven.

A third child, a son.

Make his name “Not my people.”

I am not your God.

Yet, in the end, grace;

hope. They will be called “Children

of the living God.”

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022

Fruits of iniquity

Haiku of shame

Amos; more judgement.

The fruits of iniquity

reveal rottenness.


The rich trample the needy,

the poor are ruined.


who say they love the scriptures

ignore these verses.

Wait ‘til Sunday’s past

to get back to the business

of cheating the poor.

Buying the needy

for the price of sandals, and

the poor for silver.

Justify your greed;

decry the poor as lazy,

unblessed, unworthy.

Convince the needy

that you know what’s best for them;

they might vote for you!

The sky will be dark;

your songs will become laments

of bitter sorrow

A famine descends,

not of bread or of water,

but of hearing God.

It is upon us,

this famine of God’s good word.

Just a few will hear.

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, July 4, 2022

Plumb lines

Haiku for measuring up.

Plumb lines, measuring

that which is true, right and straight.

Ancient, effective.

The wall is built true.

The Lord holds a plumb line. What

do you see, Amos?

Is Israel true,

how does the land measure up

to its high calling?

They are found wanting,

Israel, chosen of God.

Judgement is severe.

Those who have received,

much is expected of them.

They, too, will be judged.

The question disturbs.

How well do I measure up,

how faithful am I?

The response:

Go away, Amos!

Your words are not welcome here.

Prophesy elsewhere!

Amos answers:

I am no prophet,

never asked for the job. God

has done this to me!

You say: Go away!

But yours are not words from God,

and you stand condemned.

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, June 27, 2022

An unnamed slave girl

Haiku of restoration

An unnamed slave girl

speaks a word of healing hope

in a foreign land.

In Samaria,

a prophet dwells. He could cure

the master’s disease.

General Naaman

gathers his entourage, heads

south, to Israel.

With his king’s letter

he fronts Israel’s monarch,

who totally freaks.

Am I God, he asks,

to cure leprosy? Worried

he’s in for a fight.

Elisha’s informed;

sends word to the king. No probs;

send him here to me.

This man from afar

will learn that there’s a prophet

here in Israel.

Sends a message. Wash

in the Jordan, seven times;

you will be made clean.

He didn’t even

come out to see me! Naaman

is somewhat angry.

We’ve got good rivers

back at home! Take it easy,

his servants respond.

It’s a simple thing.

He told you: Wash, and be clean.

Why not have a go?

He is persuaded.

Seven times in the Jordan,

his flesh is restored.

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, June 20, 2022

Handing over


Haiku of succession

Succession planning

is a challenge. Elijah

somehow managed it.

I will not leave you

Elisha declared, when his

master’s time drew near.

Gilgal to Bethel,

then to the Jordan they went,


What would you have me

do for you? A double share

of your spirit, please.

As they walked and talked

a chariot descended,

fiery, between them.

Elijah ascends

in the whirlwind, Elisha

calls out: My Father!

Elisha takes up

the fallen mantle, also

the prophet’s worries.

© Ken Rookes 2002

I'm focusing on the Old Testament for a while. For a gospel response, check the archives for a similar time in 2013, 2016 or 2019

Monday, June 13, 2022

Sheer silence

 Haiku for the fearful

Fearful Elijah

receiving Jezebel’s threat,

decides to clear out.

Hiding in a cave

on the holy Mount Horeb

he hears God’s question.

I have done your will,

Lord, and my life is at risk,

so I ran away.

Stand on the mountain,

wait and watch, because the Lord

is about to pass.

In turn, a great wind,

an earthquake and fire surround;

God is not in them.

A sound of silence,

sheer and still, tells Elijah

that the Lord is here.

In silence, stillness,

mystery; God’s voice. Questions;

perhaps some answers.

The question is asked,

and answered. Return, Prophet,

and get on with it.

© Ken Rookes 2022

Monday, June 6, 2022


Haiku of faith

Justified by faith!

The Reformation catch-cry.

Thank-you M. Luther!

Works won’t get you there.

But works of love must follow

the great work of grace.

We enter the realm

of grace through Jesus the Christ,

finding peace with God.

Discipleship brings

suffering. We endure it;

we grow and we hope.

Not wealth or blessings,

but sufferings. Boast in these;

they show you’re from God.

Endurance and hope

stem from love, poured into hearts

by the Holy Ghost.

© Ken Rookes 2022

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Promise (Holy Spirit)

Haiku for Pentecost

The works that I do,

John’s Jesus assures us, should

be enough for faith.

The works that he does

show his close relationship

with God, his Father.

The works that he does

will also be done, John says,

by those who believe.

Ask me anything,

Jesus says, I will do it.

All to God’s glory!

Show that you love me.

by keeping my commandments.

I’ll send my Spirit.

The Spirit of truth

is sent to stand beside you,

recalling my words..

John’s Jesus is sure,

full of authority, joined

and equal with God.

Peace: his parting gift

to his friends. Don’t be troubled,

do not be afraid.

© Ken Rookes 2022


Unproductive vines

  Haiku of failed privilege A model vineyard. Fertile, cleared of stones, wine-vat; all ready to go. Planted with choice vines, the...