Monday, July 31, 2017

And all ate

Haiku for the hungry

Seeking to withdraw,
to find peace, he went by boat
to a lonely place.

They came from the towns
trekking around the shoreline
until they found him.

He saw the great crowd,
and their needs. He went ashore
to bless and to heal.

Evening’s shadows
signal that the day has passed.
The people remain.

Hungers are many.
Send the crowds away, they said,
That they may buy food.

They’ve come to be fed;
we’ll supply for their stomachs
as well as their hearts.

Five loaves and two fish
won’t go far among this crowd!
He blessed, broke the bread.

They passed it around.
Somehow it went the distance.
Nobody complained.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jesus the Guerrilla Gardener

Guerrilla Gardening started in the seventies, it’s an attempt by activists to counter the ever-present industrialization of our cities. These people live their days with seed in their pockets. They drop the seeds in crevasses between pavements, or plant it in garbage filled ground in the inner-city. Every seed is meant to be a project of hope, a story of potential redemption. Anna Hunter describes the effort,
"In the barren urban landscape of slate-grey concrete, a single blade of grass poking up through the pavement is a symbol of hope that demonstrates the power of nature to overcome all attempts to suffocate her. This restorative ability is inspiring activists to take back space from concrete and cars, to re-establish green surroundings and reconnect to our source of life, the land" 

We are called to be Guerrilla Gardeners, seed sowers in the kingdom of God. A prayer, a smile, a plea for forgiveness, an act of kindness, a generous heart, a sharing of resources, an act of subversion, an email of encouragement, the relieving of debt, sharing a meal – these are all seed in the kingdom gardeners’ arsenal. Seed on!
I think Jesus was a guerrilla gardener planting seed in hopeless places believing in the power
of God to bring beauty and life into dark places.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What is the kingdom like?

Haiku of discovery

Like a mustard seed,

small, seeming of no account;
yet it surprises.

Like yeast mixed for bread,
lost in the flour’s abundance;
transforming presence.

Like treasure hidden
in a field and forgotten;
a most welcome find.

Like a collector
who searches for a lifetime,
chancing on the prize.

When you find your pearl
nothing else really matters;
you must possess it.

So with the kingdom,
this way of being, of life
abundant and true.

When we were children
they told us of these things; now
they have become real.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017


Haiku for a dilemma

Weeds among the wheat,
useless seeds grow with the grain;

Good seed was planted;
where, then, do the weeds come from?
Have to blame someone.

Better pull the weeds
lest their seeds blend with the good;
be responsible.

The master says, No.
You might damage the good plants.
We shall be patient.

Wait for the harvest,
then we’ll properly discern;
sort the good from bad.

The end of the age,
(whatever that means), is time
enough for judgement.

The righteous shall grow,
shine bright, and produce much fruit
in love’s fair kingdom.

Don’t be dissuaded.
Grow strong in the grace of God.
Bear the fruits of love.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Planting in the soul

“Every moment and every event of every person’s life on earth plants something in her or his soul.  For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men and women.  Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love.”
Thomas Merton

The sower

The modern Christian?

Monday, July 10, 2017

A sower went out.

Haiku for gardeners

He goes to the lake,
finds a boat beached on the shore.
The crowd waits, eager.

What word will they hear;
what deep message awaits them?
He tells them stories.

Calls them parables;
he wants to get them thinking,
pondering kingdom.

A sower went out
to plant; eager and with hope.
He cast seed widely.

What might it produce?
That, friends, is the mystery;
depends where it lands.

The path and its birds,
shallow soil on rocky ground,
or the thorns that choke.

There is good soil, too.
The disciples are puzzled;
What does it all mean?

The seed is good news,
the gospel of the kingdom.
Not all receive it.

Some seed finds good soil;
hearts that are open to love.
These will bear much fruit.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

a prayer of rest

Tonight I will sleep beneath your feet, O Lord of the mountains and valleys, ruler
of the trees and vines.  I will rest in your love, with you protecting me as a father protects his children, with you watching over me as a mother watches over her children.  Then tomorrow the sun will rise and I will not know where I am; but I know that you will guide my footsteps.

A Sioux prayer.

All that Matters

All that matters is to be at one with the living God
to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.

Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,
At home, at home in the house of the living
sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.

Sleeping on the hearth of the living world
yawning at home before the fire of life
feeling the presence of the living God
like a great reassurance
a deep calm in the heart
a presence
as of the master sitting at the board
in his own and greater being,
in the house of life.

D H Lawrence.

A lesson from Lewis

Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she could not go faster, thought she had not breath left to say so.

The most curious part was: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. Just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.  The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You may rest a little now.'  Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'

`Of course it is,' said the Queen, `what would you have it?' 

`Well, in our country,' said Alice, still panting a little, `you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.' 

`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'

Louis Carroll Through the Looking Glass Chapter II 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Come to me

Haiku of homecoming

This generation.
Never seen the like before.
Never will again.

They call each other,
the children, young but knowing;
When will you respond?

You can dance with me
or weep mournfully with John;
listen, hear and act.

Come, join in the dance,
accept the invitation,
dine upon God’s word.

The wise will not see.
Love’s mysteries are too hard;
need to be a child.

By the Father’s grace
he grasps heavenly precepts,
shares them with his friends.

You who are anxious,
who struggle with life’s burdens;
come, journey with me.

My yoke is easy.
Gentle, I am, and humble;
I will give you rest.

© 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; ...