Thursday, March 29, 2012
I write this on a day given to remembering the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. This year the day seems empty and abstract. The events of the week are too overpowering. The knowledge that Christ's entry led directly to his Crucifixion looms too [grimly] ahead. This seems the strangest holiday of the year, a celebration of misunderstanding. In this world, the [dominion] has not yet come, though our hearts long for it and our lives incline toward it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Jesus didn’t procrastinate.
“May as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb,”
he murmured quietly to his friends
as he made his arrangements to take the city.
“We’ll use a colt, though;
don’t want them to get the wrong idea.”
Which wrong idea, Jesus?
There seems to be a rich array to choose from.
Which idea did the crowd get
as they stripped the trees of their lower branches
and cast their robes into the dust?
“I was there when he rode into town!”
they would later say to their friends,
forgetting to mention
that they were part of another crowd
later in the week.
What did they hope for;
were they expecting more miracles
from the radical rabbi?
And what did they get
for their glimpse at celebrity?
A man like themselves,
but one determined to follow
his divine parent’s strange path
of courageous defiance, reckless generosity,
and foolish love.
© Ken Rookes
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.
'East Coker' (last lines)
Monday, March 19, 2012
Love is a seed,
its deep-hidden dna
a blueprint carrying the hope for a harvest
of compassion and truth,
comradeship and care,
along with glorious defiant acts
of justice and grace.
in common with those who wrote before him,
calls his readers to emulate his hero
by joining his company of disciples.
A metaphor enthusiast of the highest order,
he writes of Jesus as a vine
into which the follower has been grafted.
The disciple is expected to be fruitful,
he assures us,
and identifies the pruning shears
as an essential means
by which that fruit is produced.
In another part of his story
Jesus appears as a lonely grain of wheat;
a seed that, to be made fruitful,
must be transformed so completely
and painfully, that its planting / burial
is described as death.
Returning to the subject of discipleship,
he insists that this loss of life
characterizes the process by which
his followers are to bear their own fruit.
These are, of course, mere metaphors.
and modern-day disciples have no need
to take them literally.
They are, however,
expected to take them seriously
and produce the multi-coloured fruits of love.
© Ken Rookes 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
The medium we call light
has many shapes.
From the muted glowing lamps
and flaming torches
that illuminated the dark hours
of centuries long past
to the LCD screens that occupy
our walls and desks
and inhabit our pockets in the present age.
Light, so long cosseted and valued
as the first defence against fear and evil,
has become the plaything
of the distracted and the self-obsessed.
Dancing with inconsequentiality,
light’s frivolous tweetings
declare the hollowness of contemporary culture
and the victory of fashion.
The medium is the message*.
We do well to recall
the pre-technological power of light,
the dim flickering flame
shining alone to defy the encroaching dark
and to define the limits
of greed and cruelty.
We remember, too, one who stepped boldly
into the midst of darkness to be light;
whose speakings and touchings,
and groanings and dyings,
enfleshed a word of grace,
such that those who looked upon him,
and the ones who heard his stories,
would see that light,
comprehend its message,
and be captured by it.
* Marshall McLuhan
© Ken Rookes 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
Jesus Cleansing the Temple, Jeffrey Weston
The bad religion dealers
are gathering their stock,
investing in security
and trusting key and lock.
The bad religion traders
conspire in desperation
they’re making plans to overcome,
correct the situation.
They know the Teacher’s coming
they’ve felt the voice and whip.
Their pleasant life is overturned;
he’s shooting from the hip.
The scattered coins lie gleaming
strewn rudely on the floor;
while safe assumption’s ripped away,
sweet comfort’s out the door.
Table legs point to the sky
the sheep, they are departing;
ignoring indignation’s cries,
the Teacher is just starting.
The bad religion brokers
are exiting the temple;
they’ve seen the walls, the fractured stones,
they disregard the people.
The Teacher sees the kingdom,
there’s love behind his rage;
he shouts life’s possibilities;
the dove has left its cage.
The bad religion vendors
dealing life diminished,
sad and anxious, cheerless, mean; their
fearful trade is finished
The walnut, it is cracked now,
the old religion’s broken;
barriers are thrown aside, the
roads to life are open.
© Ken Rookes 2012
"For most of my life, God’s response to Job in this book has frustrated me, even angered me. It all seemed so insufficient a response. ...