Thursday, July 28, 2016

choosing l to live in faith not fear.

As I read the gospel for this Sunday and reflected on our world, it would have been tempting just to preach about consumerism and greed, but as I looked closer I realised that this reading is about happiness. It is about what truly makes us truly, deeply and lastingly happy and what does not. Jesus is telling us that no matter how financially secure we are, no matter how many barns we have built, no matter how good our life insurance, our superannuation package, our house or car, they will not make us happy. And if we put our store in them, if we count on these things to satisfy us then we are fools!
I think there is also an underlying message here as well. It is about fear. We live in a world riddled with fear at the moment. Fear of Isis, fear of violence and terror, and more subtly; fear of not having enough, of having our wealth somehow taken away from us. Our fear of terrorism is fed by the media every day and no amount of military might or border security or walls, will take away that fear. It is a spiritual disease. This is just like the rich fool. How often is our own greed based in our anxiety that next year we may not have enough? We have extra this year so we build bigger barns so that we can fight off our insecurity and somehow be secure into next year or beyond. We forget Jesus words; “do not be anxious about tomorrow,… consider the lilies of the field.”
Rather than live out of fear and anxiety, Jesus invites us in this parable to trust in God and to live a life where God and love are our foundations. We are invited not to base our trust in earthly things but ion the divine. In and through such love we are “rich toward God” (Lk. 12:21). When we do this we are promised true meaning and true happiness.

This message is extremely counter-cultural. All of our culture invites us to have confidence in ‘things’. Get more and shinier things and you will be happy. It is a market for false happiness. The Happiness Market it turns out, sells no such thing. But the texts this week, in proclaiming “virulent opposition to our world”–its vanity, its greed–point to where ultimate happiness is found.
Rev Gordon Bannon

Monday, July 25, 2016

The land of a rich man

Some haiku

Here is foolishness;
gathering goods into barns
constructed from fear.

Have you not enough
to live with grace, dignity
gratitude and love?

The foolish rich man;
these things will be swept away.
All is vanity.

We separate them,
these two words, foolish and rich;
should be joined as one.

The poor, he once said,
will be with you forever.
The rich too, I fear.

Yes, it's a cliché:
you cannot take it with you.
Still, it is the truth.

Storing up treasures
is futile, gains you nothing;
be rich towards God.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

There is a place

They say there is a place, a state;
a sacred somewhere.
Distant; but not always.
A mystery glimpsed, at times,
on other occasions, cloud-shrouded
with shimmering smoke, obscured
such that only the persistent
will gaze long and hard enough
to be certain it is there.
A place that is there to be found by those who search;
a few stumble upon it.
Their surprise and delight is great.
There, meaning is written sharply,
truths are incandescent
and painted on walls.
There, light shines with the clear brightness
of autumn late afternoons,
the loving is fierce,
and justice compels.
This elusive place appears
as a flash glimpsed
for a moment among the shadows;
where mystery's flickering panorama excites
and calls to the depths
to awaken aches and earnings.

Seek, the man once instructed his friends.
You will find; and watch
as the divinely dusted universe
opens to disclose its possibilities.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alternative Lord's prayer

The Lord's Prayer
(from the New Zealand Prayer Book
Rev ed.: He Karakia Mihinare O Aotearoa)

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen

Monday, July 11, 2016

Martha and Mary

Four Haiku

Martha and Mary
once had Jesus to dinner.
They made him welcome.

In the kitchen's heat
Martha worked hard, worrying;
all must be perfect.

Mary, listening,
sits at Jesus' feet, eager,
dining on his words.

Jesus loves them both;
but, called upon, says Mary
made the better choice.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Good Samaritan cartoon

strangers in a strange land

"The real exile of Christians in the First World is that we have learned to endure it. We do not consider our living in the affluent societies as being in captivity. We rather have adjusted ourselves so much to Egypt that we feel at home. We have adjusted ourselves the Egyptian lifestyle. We have adopted the basic beliefs of the Egyptians. We see individualism as the measure of human development, and we share assumptions of history's caprice - sometimes this group on top, sometimes another group. We have learned to endure the exile so well that we no longer see ourselves as exiled people - as strangers in a strange land ... To learn to endure the exile is to suppress even our thirst for justice."
Dorothy Soelle. 'Thou shalt have no other Jeans before me' 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.

In reflection upon the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the time is upon us to more faithfully critique the policies and procedures that impact our neighbors, and in doing so, cooperate with advocacy organizations that assist in the countless efforts directed at structural change. Instead of allowing the robbers and innkeepers of our world to profit from modern day “good Samaritans” who focus solely on responding to the latest crisis, we recognize that the entire road to Jericho must be transformed so that no one is beaten and robbed. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” And so, while charity must continue because of the injustices of our present day and age, our ultimate goal is to reach a point of community companionship in which such acts are no longer required. In the mean time, may we be tormented by the ideal of a common good, and by God’s grace, may we trust that justice will indeed prevail. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

The unexpected generosity of ratbags

A haiku sequence.

Thanks for the stories,
Jesus. This one is cunning;
sneaking up on us.

The Samaritan,
like Muslims in our own age;
fear and suspicion.

From Samaria,
an unexpected hero
when others had failed.

This tale confronts me:
am I the Samaritan?
Or am I the priest?

At the heart of this story,
and of the gospel.

“Hey there!” says Jesus,
“You who hear this tale of love:
go and do the same!”

© Ken Rookes 2016

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; ...