Tuesday, March 29, 2011

colouring for Sunday


True blindness

“My darkness has been filled with the light of intelligence, and behold, the outer day-lit world was stumbling and groping in social blindness”

Helen Keller

The more excellent way, indeed

"Like the world around us, the Christian church is divided on many of the same issues. Just to name a few: abortion, euthanasia, sexual orientation, race, constitutional issues such as school prayer. I do not think there will be easy or immediate answers to these questions for the church or for society.
But I do believe that in the midst of such difficult times there is a contribution that we can make. Love, or having Godly respect for one another, does not suggest that we ignore our differences; respecting one another includes acknowledging sincerely held differences. Love means committing ourself to the messy, frustrating and exhausting work of resolution but doing so without destroying one another and community. ....
Our convictions are important, especially convictions of faith. A community which lacks convictions, even differing convictions, lacks integrity. But on the other hand, conviction without respect for community is simply blind passion and easily becomes abusive and destructive. The answers to deeply complex matters are never in political resolve but in the hard, prayerful work of consensus building among faithful people. In a community the goal is never political victory but the preservation of Christian mission and witness.
But what a crucial witness we can be to the world to testify that there is a more excellent way to deal with the issues which divide us. Yes, this work is hard and we will make some mistakes and we will have some failures in the process. But I believe that God is more pleased by the witness we make in struggling to love and respect one another than the battles we wage to gain political victories.
There is a more excellent way and Christians are called to live it. For the example of how we deal with our differences can be a vital contribution to a polarized society."

Blind Obsession

Obsession with observance is a characteristic of religion which makes it very dangerous, as many forms of fundamentalism have shown, not least the recent most violent. Such rigidity at the expense of people is not, however, limited to certain widely acknowledged types, but can flourish on both the left wing and the right, among the biblicists and among those serving other ideologies. It is also at home where people read John and the Bible as vehicles for propaganda for their Jesus and their God, to ‘win’, instead of as testimony to divine compassion which puts people first. As the blind man might have said: ‘Well I don’t understand much about all of that, but I know when I see people getting helped and I’ll run with that!’


Monday, March 28, 2011


The teacher from the north

came, according to the writer,

so that those who are blind

might be made able to see;

and so that those whose sight is normal

might be rendered blind.

What a puzzle!

Elsewhere, in a similar vein,

another writer tells us, the teacher

talks of people who cannot see

who offer themselves

as guides to others.

Our blind leaders are many;

their popularity in the present age

continues undiminished..

Some consume the captive inches

of self-righteous newspaper columns

with their superior wisdom;

whilst others utter their shrill


over compromised airwaves

for an uncritical audience

which takes smug reassurance

in the confirmation of its prejudices.

Still others rail with conceit

from the house upon democracy’s hill.

Like the failed prophets of the past,

these various blind guides

trade upon cheap outrage

and even cheaper fears.

Leading their followers in deluded triumph

on their anxious path,

they arrive at a sad place where others

will be required to pay the costs

and where they will unwittingly

participate in their own destruction.

©2011 Ken Rookes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Providence is ....

Paul Tillich says that Providence is... "When death rains down from heaven as it does now, when cruelty wealds power over the nations and individuals as it does now, when hunger and persecution drive millions from place to place as they do now, and when prisons and slums all over the world distort the humanity of the bodies and souls of people as they do now - we can boast in that time, and just in that time, that even all this cannot separate us from the love of God."

Living Water Prayer

PRAYERSister Water
O God,
You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.
Distant peoples stand in awe of your marvels; east and west you make resound with joy.
You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile.
Your stream is filled with water; with it you supply the world with grain.
Thus do you prepare the earth: you drench plowed furrows, and level their ridges.
With showers you keep the ground soft, blessing its young sprouts.
You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain.
The untilled meadows also drip; the hills are robed with joy.
(Psalm 65:8-13)
Forgive us, we pray, for the times we
have failed to recognize our relationship with Sister Water,
have not used water wisely,
have not called others to awareness,
have thoughtlessly polluted instead of protected our water sources,
have ignored the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world.

(Franciscans International, April 2005) 
Refresh us with your grace this season,
that our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving may strengthen us
to live according to your Word.
Through Christ our Lord.

Living water

samaritan woman icon

woman at the well

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Water of Life

water of a new life

Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

-Antonio Machado 1875-1939 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jacob's Well

At the well I found a stranger

and a polite request for water.

It was a hot day,

and the man had no bucket.

A Jew, I thought to myself;

still, at that moment

he was no different than I,

thirsty, and in need of a drink.

I gave him more than that,

flirted with him, (old habits!),

and asked how he could stand

to accept a drink from a foreign woman.

Taking the cup with a laugh, and a wink,

he made a joke

about water which refreshes

and lasts for ever.

Give me some! I said,

chuckling at the thought

of being spared my daily routine.

Imagine my surprise when he did!

I still walk to the well every day

to draw water; but now it is no chore,

now it is pilgrimage,

now it is worship.

© Ken Rookes

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The longest and hardest journey

 The longest and hardest journey is not the exterior journey without but the interior journey within. The geography of ancient Canaan pales in comparison to the complex geography of the human heart. Saint Augustine once cautioned Christians: "Whoever thinks that in this mortal life a person may so disperse the mists of bodily and carnal imaginings as to possess the unclouded light of changeless truth, and to cleave to it with the unswerving constancy of a spirit wholly estranged from the common ways of life — such a person understands neither what he seeks, nor who he is who seeks it" (The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, p. 286).
           Lent, then, is not merely about giving up chocolate, meat, or alcohol. Those are only external reminders of an internal transformation that we seek. Our ultimate journey is to move from a self-regarding heart curved in on itself to an other-regarding openness to the love of God, a love for others, and a love for all His world. That journey lasts a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jesus having a late night chat with Nick

The focus

"People like the Nicodemus stereotype remain at the level of miracles and fail to see what is really going on in Jesus and going on in believers who now live at this level of the Spirit. Being born of the Spirit is talking not about a new mystical height of experience but about a way of living out the life of God in the world. When you see like this, you see the connection between Jesus and God and you see God in Jesus not trying to compete for adoration in the market of miracle workers, but seeking to establish a relationship of love and community. The focus is life. The means is relationship. The motive is love."

from http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/MkTrinity.htm

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes I am born from above

Sometimes I am born from above;

my spirit soars and I sense

that greater Spirit touching and caressing

my soul. Perhaps it is merely

my imagination, but I feel myself

rising above my petty concerns,

my selfish fears. In these moments

my soul sings with Dame Julian,

all shall be well;

and my conviction grows deeply

that I must employ all my best efforts

to make it so.

At other times

I find myself firmly tethered

to this dust-filled earth, and those same

inward preoccupations push urgently

and insistently to the front,

and I worry, like the man in the story;

will I have enough, and have I got it right,

and will those gates be opened to me?

Sometimes I am born from above

and I feel the Spirit’s wind blowing,

blowing, and hear her singing

with words outrageous

and melody unconstrained;

thus I find myself moving awkwardly

but unembarrassed amidst rhythms

half-learned, infused with life

and never fully understood.

© 2011 Ken Rookes

Another new one. I hope you enjoy it.


Late at night we become emboldened

and allow deep-within doubts

to glimpse, as it were,

the light of day.

So the teacher of Israel comes

in darkness to talk with the man

whose words glimmer

like a lake beneath a full moon.

A staccato celebration of questions,

a shimmer of provocations,

gleaming surprises,

and glistening affirmations;

of sparkling water, rushing wind,

and life.

©Ken Rookes

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wilderness questions

Every day for forty days,

or thereabouts, the wilderness Jesus

awakens among the rocks and the dust

to face his ever-present question.

He yearns for the divine words to come,

for the answer to be chiselled among the rocks;

to either confirm his crazy notions

or to set him free.

Then he might return to his friendly

mallet, plane and carpenter’s bench.

and his dreams could embrace

the possibilities of an ordinary life,

with the more regular adventures

of home, wife and parenthood.

As the pangs of hunger grow

his senses sharpen in intensity;

and the testings build.

It is the wild thoughts,

the uninvited ones that have intruded

for some time now

(or have they always been there?)

that force their ascendancy

over the good and respectable ones.

The wilderness Jesus sighs,

not with regret,

but with an aching determination.

It will be difficult;

it might even be lonely.

© Ken Rookes 2011

and a new one!

But I can be tempted

In checkout-counter lives

thin red light beams

scan codes of curious lines

and compute the total

from the self-serving selection

in my full trolley basket,

(never quite under my control);

and the swiping eftpos plastic card

makes the painless payment

for the saturated-time pleasures,

high-comfort indulgences,

and gratifications

that will not be kept waiting.

At thirty-day intervals, approximately,

the statement from my soul shows

that I have little in reserve,

neither cash nor kind,

to feed the hungry or help the poor,

or to stand up for what is just;

and the words long ago spoken

by another who was tempted

return to remind me

that there are other ways to be.

Ah, but I can be tempted.

© Ken Rookes

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Lenten Prayer

¨ Blessing and dismissal
Follow the cross towards Easter Day.
It is a path towards life.
May the hand of God be stretched out to meet you,
The courage of Christ carry you beyond the known way,
And the Spirit gather you up in the solidarity of love.

scene from 'last temptation of Christ


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

living by vision

“Transfiguration is living by vision: standing foursquare in the midst of a broken, tortured, oppressed, starving, dehumanizing reality, yet seeing the invisible, calling to it to come, behaving as if it is on the way, sustained by elements of it that have come already, within and among us. In those moments when people are healed, transformed, freed from addictions, obsessions, destructiveness, self worship or when groups or communities or even, rarely, whole nations glimpse the light of transcendent in their midst, then the New Creation has come upon us. The world for one brief moment is transfigured. The beyond shines in our midst -- on the way to the cross." 

~ Walter Wink

Church of the Transfiguration

I've been to this church in Israel and it is beautiful

take two tablets ....


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Moses rises early

combs his beard; long, white,

and shining with heaven's light

– a permanent state now,

not the slowly fading glow

of the mountain encounters of his prime.

Wheeling down celestial corridors,

he interrupts Elijah

in the closing stages of his preparations;

and wonders if the fiery chariot,

of which his companion was wont to boast,

will be assigned to them.

They have been summonsed

to appear once more

on a mountain. Not Sinai,

where he once met with Yahweh

and was given Yahweh's laws;

and where, centuries later,

his frightened companion also

met his Lord, and was recalled

to his prophetic duties.

No, not Sinai,

(or Horeb as Elijah insisted),

but a more modest peak.

Their assignment, however,

is no less lofty. There they will glow bright

together with God's beloved,

and join to confirm

his engagement with destiny.

© Ken Rookes


The neon-light Jesus

glows large

on the top of the hill

with his co-luminaries,

mystifying a select audience.

Not for general exhibition.

Just a flash

before the cloud is lowered

and the divine voice-over.

Later, on another hill,

the curtain is lifted for ever

on a black silhouette;

arms outstretched

against a darkened sky.


© Ken Rookes

Jim Janknegt, wonderful image


Transfiguration coloring

Prayers for Transfiguration Sunday

Call to Prayer
Let’s go up the mountain.
Let’s go up to the place where the land meets the sky
where the earth touches the heavens,
to the place of meeting,
to the place of mists,
to the place of voices and conversations,
to the place of listening.
O God,
We open our eyes and we see Jesus,
the months of ministry transfigured to a beam of light,
the light of the world,
your light.
May your light shine upon us.
We open our eyes and we see Moses and Elijah,
your word restoring us, showing us the way,
telling a story,
your story, his story, our story.
May your word speak to us.
We open our eyes and we see mist,
the cloud of your presence
which assures us of all we do not know
and that we do not need to fear that.
Teach us to trust.
We open our eyes and we see Peter’s constructions,
his best plans, our best plans,
our missing the point,
our missing the way.
Forgive our foolishness and sin
We open our eyes and we see Jesus,
not casting us off,
but leading us down, leading us out -
to ministry, to people.
Your love endures forever.
We open our ears and we hear your voice,
‘This is my beloved Son, listen to him!’
And we give you thanks.
prepared by William Loader 2/2001

Mt Nabor

The storm

Haiku of stillness After a long day telling stories, parables, Jesus needs a break. Suggests a boat trip. Let us cross the lake; ...