Monday, May 29, 2017

Water that lives

Haiku of the Spirit

Those who are thirsty
who seek the living water,
let them come to me.

The promised Spirit
shall flow from their hearts in streams
of living water.

© Ken Rookes 2017

He breathed on them

Haiku for agents of peace.

Peace was his greeting
that night, meeting with his friends,
the day he was raised.

The doors had been locked,
but somehow he was present,
standing among them.

They gasped, rejoicing.
Beyond all expectations
their master lived!

There's much to be done.
Just as the Father sent me,
so I'm sending you.

He breathed upon them.
Receive the Holy Spirit,
God with you, always.

Mercy is the key;
show them. You are to forgive;
you must set them free.

This is why I came,
to bring freedom, grace and hope.
My peace be with you.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

The hour has come

Haiku to unite a people.

The hour has come;
things move inexorably
to their conclusion.

Jesus' work is done.
Just one last task before him;
shouldn't be too hard.

We struggle to grasp:
the Son will be glorified
as he meets his death.

Receiving God's word,
he opened it to his friends,
sharing the wonder.

Touched by divine grace
he speaks of life eternal:
communion with God.

He prays for his friends,
knowing he must soon depart,
leaves them in God's care.

Father, keep them safe
beyond this hour. Unite them;
ground them in your love.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Christians in the marketplace

  At our worst, we Christians have isolated and insulated ourselves from our culture's mainstreams. We can be inward-looking, self-absorbed, self-important, and cloistered, instead of engaging people at our modern day Mars Hills. I remember a pastor friend who had a parishioner whose child had gone to Christian schools for so long that he was barely functional in the world at large. Another pastor confided to me several summers ago that at his annual denominational meeting delegates were, in all honesty, merely "talking to themselves." And I still remember exactly where I was twenty-five years ago when one of my seminary professors remarked to me that he had never entered a movie theater.
           But at our best, Christians like Neil have always been just as comfortable living, learning and sharing the Gospel in the marketplace of ideas as in the ministry of the church, in bars and board rooms as well as in basilicas, in university lecture halls as easily as in church fellowship halls. In an outward, centrifugal movement modeled after Paul at the Areopagus, believers have welcomed the opportunity to meet real people where they really live, work, and think, in order to gain a hearing for their "strange ideas" about repentance, rebirth, and the resurrection.

whatever way love's camel takes

My heart has become capable of every form:
It is a pasture for gazelles
And a monastery for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols,
And the pilgrim's Ka'ba,
And the tablets of the Torah,
And the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love:
Whatever way love's camel takes,
that is my religion, my faith.
-Ibn Arabi 1165-1240

Monday, May 15, 2017

This is the Spirit of Truth

Haiku of promise

Spirit, advocate,
mystery God at our side;
within and without.

Spirit of truth who
abides in each open heart;
gift from the Father.

Spirit of Jesus;
among us, unseen presence,
sharing risen life.

Divine indwelling;
the Son in the Father,
the Spirit in us.

It's all about love;
thus the Spirit recalls us
to Jesus' commands.

You who follow me
will prove it, Jesus told them.
Love will be the sign.

I will be with you,
I will show myself to you;
we will dwell in love.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Saint Stephen - the martyr

Stephen shows that the "impossible ethic" of enemy love is indeed possible, though costly One need not be divine to do what Jesus did. Jesus tells us: "The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father."...Image result for saint stephen martyrdom

T S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral dramatizes the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. The story builds to the final moments when Becket is pulled inside the cathedral by three priests trying to save him from the king’s forces. They bar the door for safety, but Thomas, with a boldness befitting Stephen himself demands:
Unbar the doors! throw open the doors!
I will not have the house of prayer, the church of Christ,
The sanctuary, turned into a fortress..
The church shall be open, even to our enemies.
We are not here to triumph by fighting, by stratagem, or by resistance,
Not to fight with beasts as men. We have fought the beast
And have conquered. We have only to conquer
Now, by suffering. This is the easier victory.
Now is the triumph of the Cross, now
Open the door! I command it. OPEN THE DOOR!

Like Stephen and like Jesus, Thomas went to his death opposing the forces of evil not with power but with faithfulness. Though we are tempted to hide behind barricades, guns and bombs, the stories of the martyrs remind us of the one who overcame evil not by defeating the enemy but by loving the enemy and thus defeating death itself.

News from Synod

News from Synod

Uniting Church 40th anniversary - 40 days of prayer

On Thursday 22 June the Uniting Church in Australia will be turning 40. In the lead-up to this date Church leaders and members will take part in 40 days of prayer. This national event begins in Melbourne on Sunday.
During this time, the whole Church is invited to pray together for renewal for ourselves, our communities, our world and our Church.
The UCA president and president-elect, the synod moderators as well as assembly and synod general secretaries plus representatives from the National Uniting and Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress are gathering in Melbourne for 40 continuous hours of prayer from 14 to 16 May.
The prayer focus is the continuing life and renewal of the Uniting Church. The 40 hours of prayer will commence at Wesley Church, Lonsdale Street, at 3pm on Sunday. Prayer will continue at 130 Little Collins Street from Monday morning to Tuesday morning.
Find out more here and here. Devotional resources are available here and here.
The '40 Days of Prayer’ emails, prepared by SA Moderator Rev Sue Ellis, will be sent daily from Sunday 14 May to Thursday 22 June. If you would like to receive the emails, please add your name and email address to the subscription list. For a downloadable version of the reflections please click here.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Show us the Father

Haiku for the family

Jesus is the way,
the gospel promises us,
to abundant life.

An image of home;
this house with its many rooms.
There we are welcomed.

He spoke. Be at peace;
don't let your hearts be troubled.
Your place is with me.

Live with faith, he said.
Trust in my words; they are true.
Find yourself in God.

Show us the Father,
then we will be satisfied.
Look at me, he said.

There's work to be done,
God's work, mine; they are the same.
You will do it too.

This, then, is glory:
together doing the work
God gives to us all.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The good shepherd cartoon

Shepherd of the sheep

not by their muscles but by their scars

Barbara Brown Taylor’s "Blessed Brokenness" in her book "Gospel Medicine"  writes: "the Christ is not the one who wins the power struggle; he is the one who loses it. The Christ is not the undefeated champion; he is the suffering servant, the broken one, who comes into his glory with his wounds still visible. Those hurt places are the proof that he is who he says he is, because the way you recognize the Christ - and his followers - is not by their muscles but by their scars." "The blindness of the two disciples does not keep their Christ from coming to them. He does not limit his post-resurrection appearances to those with full confidence in him. He comes to the disappointed, the doubtful, the disconsolate. He come to those who do not know their Bibles, who do not recognize him even when they are walking right beside him. He comes to those who have given up and are headed back home, which makes this whole story a story about the blessedness of brokenness." "Jesus seems to prefer working with broken people, with broken dreams in a broken world. If someone hands him a whole loaf, he will take it, bless it, break it, and give it, and he will do the same thing with his own flesh and blood, because that is the way of life God has shown him to show the rest of us: to take what we have been given, whether we like it or not, and to bless it - to say thank you for it - whether it is the sweet, satisfying bread of success or the tear-soaked bread of sorrow. To say thank you and to break it because that is the only way it can be shared, and to hand it around, not to eat it all by ourselves but to find someone to eat it with, so that the broken loaf may bring all of us broken ones together into one body, where we may recognize the risen Lord in our midst."

Monday, May 1, 2017

He comes through the gate

Haiku of selfless leadership

He comes through the gate,
the shepherd; so we trust him
to protect the sheep.

Up front, transparent,
one who goes ahead of us;
we will follow him.

Some leaders pretend:
Follow me, I'll care for you!
In it for themselves.

Thieves, crooks and bandits,
these come to steal and destroy.
Jesus is no thief.

The good shepherd comes
to give his all for the flock.
The sheep know his voice

Jesus is the gate.
Through this man we enter life,
abundant and true.

© Ken Rookes 2017

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; ...