Monday, June 18, 2018

Even the wind and the sea

Haiku for the storm-tossed.

When evening came
they took the boat, crossed over
to the other side.

Left the crowd behind,
looking for a brief respite.
Other boats came too.

In the stern, weary,
on a cushion, tired eyes;
Jesus falls asleep.

The wind is rising,
grows into a roaring gale;
waves are crashing in.

Fearful, they wake him.
Teacher, are you not concerned?
We could all be drowned!

Rebuking the wind
and commanding wild sea
he speaks: Peace! Be Still!

The wind dies away
and the waves cease their crashing;
Why are you afraid?

Why are you afraid​?
We’ve travelled far together;
have you still no faith?

Who, they ask, is this;
the wind is at his command,
the sea obeys him.

Words for the faithful
when all seems out of control:
Be at peace! Be still!

© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

The kingdom

Haiku of emerging abundance.

The kingdom of God!
A diff’rent reality,
strange, unexpected.

The seeds are scattered.
The sower gets on with life;
the seeds sprout and grow.

First the stalk, the head,
then the grain swells full and ripe,
and the harvest comes!

Take a mustard seed,
the tiniest of them all;
grows big for the birds.

The kingdom of God;
growing fruitful love, justice;
though we may not see.

Many parables,
riddles to confuse and hide;
his friends understand.

The kingdom of God;
when God rules in hearts and minds,
grace and love abound.


© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

He has a demon

Haiku for the family

Too busy to eat!
The crowd insist, make demands;
they press upon him.

His foes malign him.
They say he has a demon,
gone out of his mind.

His family, too,
are worried. They come to him,
try to take him home.

He gathers his friends,
laughs: a kingdom divided
surely cannot stand!

Take care what you say,
lest you blaspheme the Spirit
with your objections.

His mother arrives
with his brothers, calls him out.
He doesn’t respond.

Looking at the crowd
he asks, Who is my mother,
who are my brothers?

You are my mother
and my brothers, when you do
what God is asking!

© Ken Rookes. 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Sabbath cornfields

Haiku for lawbreakers

The Sabbath cornfields
see his disciples breaking
the Sabbath work laws.

Plucking heads of grain:
harvesting, threshing, working!
All against the law.

The Sabbath, he said,
was given for humankind
not the opposite.

Jesus sits loosely
with the letter of the law;
he is ruled by love.

In the synagogue
the man with a withered hand:
will Jesus heal him?

Shall Sabbath prevail
and circumvent the healing?
No. He will choose love.

What does the law say,
on the Sabbath, to do good,
or should we do harm?

They will not answer.
Their hearts are hard, unable
to find compassion.

The mean and heartless
do not like being exposed.
The plotting begins.

© Ken Rookes 2018

In earthen vessels


Haiku for the humble

We have this treasure,
the apostle asserted,
in earthen vessels.

These common clay pots,
plain and undecorated,
hold the light of Christ.

Humble followers,
nothing special about us;
yet he shines within.

Proclaim him as Lord,
for truly he is the one
God has sent to us.

The light that we bear
is knowledge of God’s Glory
seen in Jesus’ face.

We are afflicted,
persecuted and struck down,
but we are not crushed.

We have been perplexed
but not driven to despair,
nor are we alone.

Bearers of the death
of Jesus in our bodies,
his life is here, too.

As long as we live
his death is at work in us;
to shape and renew.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Trinity poem


“He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.”
              C.S Lewis

Entering the Kingdom

Haiku of the Spirit

Nic the Pharisee
worthy leader of the Jews,
slipped away one night.

Locating Jesus
he pressed him with his questions.
Tell me what it means.

Truly I tell you
if you would see God’s kingdom,
you must be reborn

How can these things be?
Can one return to the womb,
to be born once more?

It’s a Spirit thing.
The flesh is not important;
true life comes from God.

Unconstrained, the wind
unseen blows where it chooses;
so, too, the Spirit.

Earthly things confound!
When I speak things heavenly
how will you believe?

For the sake of love
God’s only Son lived with us
that we might know life.

He came among us
not to judge or to condemn
but to give us hope.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

An understanding beyond speech.


Can you imagine this … The United Nations has gathered as whole to hear about the problems of the world, war, famine, religious difference; the leaders of North and South Korea, the USA, Israel and Palestine all are in the one room, and as they gather and the interpreters begin their work of translating the vast numbers of different languages, a mist fills the building and when it lifts, it is slowly realised that all the delegates can understand each other. They have an understanding and respect that is beyond mere speech. Not only do they appear to be speaking the same tongue, but they can really understand each other’s perspectives and dreams. Into the crowded chamber comes a feeling of real wonder and awe and a profound sense of hope.
We are in the Christian season of Pentecost and in this Season, Christians are reminded that the Spirit of God seeks to draw us closer to each other and to God. At the first Pentecost, there was a strange sort of event, where people from all corners of the then known world found themselves speaking in the same language. Though they were different, they understood each other.

This is the sort of community that God wants and this is the activity of the Spirit of God; to draw us closer to each other; to make the stranger a friend and to love the neighbour, who may well be different to us. But this sort of Spirit love does not always come easy or cheap. When those around you are telling you to hate it takes a divine power to move towards love. 
The work of Pentecost is one of profound miracle and hopefulness. It is a dream of a Spirit that can draw us closer, can assist us to truly know each other’s pain and dreams, and can draw us closer to a vision of a compassionate world, and to believe this despite what we may see in the news and hear around us. Let us pray for the gift of such a Spirit and know her presence in our midst.

El Greco - Pentcost

I love this painting by el Greco. It feels unusual and enlightened with women disciples at the center and the feeling of quite, gentle wonder.

Monday, May 14, 2018

When the Advocate comes


Haiku for breaking out

The Spirit of truth
AKA the Advocate
will be coming soon.

I will send to you
one who will stand beside you,
who will take your part.

He will testify,
speak of me and what I say;
you must do so, too.

From the beginning
you, my friends, have been with me;
you know who I am.

This is the promise;
you will not be left alone,
the Spirit is yours.

On Pentecost morn
wind and fire roaring through,
blowing dust away.

Imaged by fire,
water, and by rushing wind,
the Spirit has come.

Surprise us Spirit!
Drive us deeper into love,
disturb our comfort.

Needing to be healed,
the world and all its peoples;
come, Holy Spirit!


© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Belonging, not belonging

Haiku for strangers

You gave them to me,
companions on the journey
towards the kingdom.

I made your name known.
They listened, learning from me,
and keeping your word.

They know that it all
has come from you; ev’rything
that I gave to them.

The hour comes soon
when I can’t be here for them,
to keep my friends safe.

Although I must go,
The world shall remain their home.
Father, protect them.

The world is hostile
to those who are of the truth,
those who don’t belong.

Never my true home,
now my friends are strangers too;
eyes fixed on God’s word.

Here they must remain,
it is here love’s work goes on,
my joy made complete.

They know you sent me.
As I was sent to the world
I am sending them.


© Ken Rookes 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

the religion of love

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

There Is A Candle In Your Heart

There is a candle in your heart,

      ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul,       ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you? You feel the separation       from the Beloved. Invite Him to fill you up,       embrace the fire. Remind those who tell you otherwise that       Love       comes to you of its own accord,       and the yearning for it       cannot be learned in any school.
Rumi

Monday, April 30, 2018

Abide in my love

Basic commandments for disciples.

The Father loves me,
and so, my friends, I love you;
abide in my love.

Keep my commandments.
By doing so you will dwell
in my gen’rous love.

The upshot of love
is joy, wond’rous and complete.
This joy shall be yours.

As I have loved you
so you must love each other.
This I command you.

To lay down one’s life
for the sake of one’s comrades:
love at its greatest.

You are all my friends,
nothing is withheld from you;
ev’rything is yours.

I have chosen you;
go and create fruits of love,
bear the fruits that last

Love one another.
Get this commandment sorted,
the rest will follow.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

The true vine


Haiku for bearing fruit

I am the true vine.
Rural metaphors abound,
call us to bear fruit.

God the vine-grower,
keen to get a good harvest;
pruning the branches.

Painful metaphor
this pruning stuff. Us branches
were not consulted.

You received my words,
they have made you clean, worthy
to receive my life

Jesus, the true vine;
here is life, discipleship;
the important things.

We would bear good fruit,
creating love, forgiveness;
reshaping the world.

Become one with him,
find true life joined to the vine;
accept the pruning.

Choose to live in me,
he said, together we will ,
bear love’s precious fruit.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Responsive Prayer on Psalm 23



The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
We believe in the goodness of God.
We believe God hears and responds to our needs.
We believe God responds to all people everywhere.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.
We are grateful that we’ve been blessed with enough water.
But we know that many do not have enough.
Not enough water, not enough food, not enough peace.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Too many people do not see God’s righteousness.
Too many children watch violence, taste hunger, feel fear.
Too many children cry from the unspeakable horror of war.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
To become involved is risky. Pain is often contagious.
Our hearts may be broken and our lives may be threatened.
Yet we hear God calling and we can no longer hide.
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies;
thou annointest me head with oil, my cup overflows.
Our steps may be small and timid.
We may read a book, write a letter, or make a gift.
But each tiny step is blessed by God and multiplies.
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God is more relentless than war.
God is more pervasive than hatred.
God is more insistent than despair.
Amen. Amen.
Based on Psalm 23. Written for the Union Church UCC of Tekonsha, 1994.
Katherine Hawker

The good shepherd

This is probably more the good shepherd image that Jesus had in mind rather than our romanticised version.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Good shepherd Jesus

haiku for sheep

Good shepherd Jesus
looks with love upon his sheep,
gives himself for them.

No paid employee;
his commitment to his flock
is deep and caring.

He won’t run away
when things get tough and scary,
like when the wolves come.

A fine metaphor,
this shepherd-sheep partnership.
Jesus and his friends.

I know my own well,
and they know me; listening
to the things I say.

Lots of diff’rent sheep
in lots of diff’rent places:
all belong to me.

There will be one flock,
there will be one shepherd, too.
God’s love will shape us.

I lay down my life
for my sheep, then take it up,
to share risen life.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

They thought him a fool


"Did you notice Easter Day this year was April Fools Day’. Apart from a few jokes I almost missed it. But it was rich for imagining. Traditionally on April Fools day in medieval life the King took off his crown and stepped down from his throne. And the Fool, a wise but questioning figure, put the crown on and sat on the throne for a day. I wonder what decisions such a wise fool might have come up with.

Today we might see Jesus as a ‘fool figure’, who goes onto his throne - on the cross. And, with that, tips everything upside down.

Isn’t Mary Magdalene , with Peter , calling us to join this crowd of fools who see the world upset?

So that’s the way it is. We are called to take the risk of being members of the foolish community willing to act in foolish ways, in the name of our crucified Lord, who wants our allegiance, - ready to resist the powers that want us for heartless, uncaring, unjust, brutal ways. He comes to us in the crowd of strangers, war victims, refugees, abused and starving children, sufferers of mental illness and homeless.

He wants us to recognise him there as he fosters gentle life- giving lives and hearts.

As children of God, we are called to give up securities and fixed orders and doing things as we have ‘always done them’ – into an experiment of hope that looks, waits and acts for the radically renewing life of our risen Lord."

Rev Dr Wes Campbell
For full sermon see sermons 2 page

Monday, April 9, 2018

They thought him a ghost

Haiku of wonder

They thought him a ghost
when the risen Jesus came
and stood among them.

They were terrified,
did not know how to react:
hardly surprising.

He reassured them
with his words of peace, as if
all was quite normal.

Showing them his hands
and his feet; he ate some fish.
See, I’m just like you.

He died, we saw him
buried, along with our hopes;
and yet now he lives!

Joy and disbelief,
a clumsy combination;
how to deal with it?

Remember the words
that I spoke in your presence;
they make sense of it.

The law of Moses,
the words found in the prophets,
they all point to me.

It is written thus,
the Messiah must suffer,
and rise the third day.

Go, proclaim the Christ,
his life and his forgiveness.
Be my witnesses.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

An elusive figure

Haiku for us sceptics

The risen Jesus
is an elusive figure:
now you see him. . .

From behind closed doors,
according to the story,
he appeared to them.

His greeting of peace
was not quite enough, so he
showed his hands and side.

He breathed upon them.
Receive the Holy Spirit:
go out and forgive.

Thomas was absent,
didn’t believe the reports.
I must see his wounds.

What is there to see;
what evidence sufficient
to bring us to faith?

Thank you, man of doubts,
Thomas with your questioning;
you speak for me, too.

Risen Lord Jesus,
present with those who question,
be patient with me.

What more can I say?
Should ev’ry story be told
they would fill volumes.

These have been written
that you might know God, have faith,
and life in his name.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Emmaus

Haiku of recognition

A couple of hours
to Emmaus; much talking
trying to make sense.

Two friends, followers;
their hopes had been swept away
when their master died.

The stranger caught up.
What are you talking about
as you walk the road?

How come you don’t know;
where have you been these days past?
The fear and turmoil.

We had been hoping
that he might be God’s promised;
and then he was killed.

Three days have now passed.
Some women went to the tomb;
his body was gone.

It’s got us flummoxed;
we don’t know what to believe;
not sure what to think.

It isn’t so hard.
What do the prophets tell us?
The Christ must suffer.

Starting with Moses,
and picking up the prophets,
he explained it all.

When they reached their house
it was getting dark. Stay here;
spend the night with us.

At table that night
he blessed the bread and broke it.
They recognised him.

Then he disappeared.
They were amazed, rejoicing.
Did not our hearts burn?

© Ken Rookes 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus

On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus
by Denise Levertov
It is for all
'literalists of the imagination,'
poets or not,
that miracle
is possible and essential.
Are some intricate minds
nourished on concept,
as epiphytes flourish
high in the canopy?
Can they
subsist on the light,
on the half
of metaphor that's not
grounded in dust, grit,
heavy
carnal clay?
Do signs contain and utter,
for them
all the reality
that they need? Resurrection, for them,
an internal power, but not
a matter of flesh?
For the others,
of whom I am one,
miracles (ultimate need, bread
of life,) are miracles just because
people so tuned
to the humdrum laws:
gravity, mortality-
can't open
to symbol's power
unless convinced of its ground,
its roots
in bone and blood.
We must feel
the pulse in the wound
to believe
that 'with God
all things
are possible,'
taste
bread at Emmaus
that warm hands
broke and blessed.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Sabbath had passed

Haiku of hope and celebration.

The sabbath had passed,
here they come with tearful eyes
to tend his body.

Three of the women,
bring their spices to the tomb
along with their love.

The sun had risen,
the darkness was at its end:
lots of metaphors.

Of the entrance stone
they questioned each other: Who
will roll it away?

The tomb was open,
the stone already rolled back!
Nothing to stop them!

Entering the tomb
there is nothing to be seen;
at least no body.

A man, dressed in white
with his most puzzling words;
Do not be alarmed!

Jesus? He’s not here.
There is the place they laid him;
he’s been raised to life.

Go inform his friends!
The women flee in terror
and keep their mouths shut.

© Ken Rookes

Friday, March 23, 2018

The things that make for peace

""He shall judge between the nations and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." That is our Palm Sunday hope, and it is our only hope. That is what the palms and the shouting are all about. That is what all our singing and worshiping and preaching and praying are all about if they are about anything that matters. The hope that finally by the grace of God the impossible will happen. The hope that Pilate will take him by one hand and Caiaphas by the other, and the Roman soldiers will throw down their spears and the Sanhedrin will bow their heads. The hope that by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the love of Christ, who is Lord of the impossible, the leaders of the enemy nations will draw back, while there is still time for drawing back, from a vision too terrible to name. The hope that you and I also, each in our own puny but crucial way, will work and witness and pray for the things that make for peace, true peace, both in our own lives and in the life of this land."
excerpt from a sermon by Frederick Buechner, 'The things that make for peace'.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The greatest irony ....

"Hailing Jesus as Messiah was dangerous and open to misunderstanding. The passion is about one who was executed as ‘king of the Jews’, made to wear a crown of thorns, mocked as a king, set between other revolutionaries and made subject of barter with Barabbas. Irony is at work. John is fond of having people state the truth without knowing it. Here they hail Jesus as Messiah, probably for all the wrong reasons, just as the crowds did whom Jesus fed in the desert in 6:14-15. The ears of faith know however that in a different sense what they say is true.

It is all part of the greatest irony of all: the true king, the true Messiah, the great human being and Son of God, is a collapsed figure on a cross. Compassion and lowliness confront human images of power and success. The ‘failure’ of Jesus is his success. His truth is faithfulness to love and compassion without bowing to compromise which would betray himself and others. Even though asses were not necessarily bottom of the range in public transport, the image of Jesus on the foal of an ass does depict lowliness."
William Loader
http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The last day

Haiku of the passion

Lord, we are your friends;
You’re everything to us:
we’d never betray.

You’ll all desert me,
but don’t dwell on these failures.
There is always hope.

Even you, Peter,
so stop your protestations;
you will deny me.

Take my body-bread,
this wine, red like my bleeding;
my life, shared for you.

Facing his fears
while his weary friends sleep on;
praying all alone.

Jesus is betrayed,
arrested and put on trial.
There is one outcome.

Who are you, Jesus?
Are you the king that some claim,
the promised from God?

It has been settled.
He walks to the killing place
where his cross awaits.

They laugh and they mock,
they taunt him as he hangs there,
silent, accepting.

His work is complete.
He takes his final breath, sighs,
and lets it all go.


© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

The entrance

Haiku for an arrival

Near Jerusalem
he sent the two disciples
to fetch the donkey.

An unridden colt
was his chosen conveyance;
perfect for a king.

They shout in welcome
and wave their leafy branches;
Jesus, we want you!

They shout, Hosanna!
Hosanna, Son of David!
How political!

He rode into town,
took a look at the temple.
It was getting late.

Back to Bethany
he retreated with the twelve
and the moment passed.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

On remembering and Forgetting

Please visit the Sermons 2 page to see Rev Dr Wes Campbell's latest sermon "On remembering and forgetting."
"....THE CHALLENGE OF DEMENTIA - PASTORAL IMPLICATIONS FOR LOSS OF MEMORY
 With this talk of remembering we are brought into the experience of forgetting, forgetfulness, dementia. The recalling of the texts as we have heard today will be less possible for those who are now forgetting. Some will continue to connect with hymns and other music or reading favourit stories. action.
Notice that there are two experiences here:
one for the person whose memory is being lost and lose a sense of self.,
the other for those who live with and see the effect of forgetfulness in their partner or other loved one.
Thinking about this from the side of Jesus there are two experiences here too.

First, Jesus went into the darkness alone . He died. He  did not ‘experience his own death. The dead Son was in the darkness with others threatened by death.The Son  died.

Second,  His Father experienced his death. And the Spirit carried the death of the Son to the Father, who grieves his Son.
Does that speak to the forgetting of dementia? Will it give resources for us to live through this experience? Will we together share memories as we remind each other.?

Those whose memories are now fragile or lost may nevertheless take confidence that they are known and remembered by the Spirit of life, and their loved ones..
When memories disappear for the carer, let the community of Christ gather, surround all those affected by love, and embrace them with care that springs from the eternal life of God. Let the reading aloud of Scripture draw us into the Story of God’s care for us.
We will be able to share life with others, in spite of dementia.
When the confusion has passed for the forgetter, there is still the confusion and questioning in the one who remembers. Those who are partners and carers will not forget; they will experience the distance that grows between them and their partner.
.May they (may you) likewise receive the consolation and comfort of the community of Christ and his meal.
The word of comfort here is offered in the figure of Jesus, our brother, who went into the darkness of being removed from us, into darkness and death, and is with us in the darkness. There his promise of eternal life offers his deep and unending care for all, won for us in cross and resurrection.  
Simply put, in all this, we are in the company of him who came, not to condemn but to give his life for the world. 

May we remember his gift of life to us, so that we may find in him that which generates new life here and now, and entrust ourselves to him who is both beginning and end for the world."
Rev Dr Wes Campbell

Monday, March 12, 2018

For this reason

Haiku for those who seek

Some Greeks found Philip,
knew he was a follower,
asked to see Jesus.

Jesus met with them,
laid it out straight and simple;
The seed has to die.

To be made fruitful
the grain of wheat is buried
and dies to itself.

The same for us all;
if you want to save your life,
you must give it up.

Become my servant.
You must follow after me
to the hard places

My soul is troubled,
not looking forward to it:
the coming hour.

Should I entreat God
to spare the pain and dying?
No, it’s why I came.

The voice from heaven:
God’s name has been glorified
and will be again.

As he is lifted
Jesus changes ev’rything,
restores creation.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

some pastoral implications of the feeding of the crowds

(SEE COMPLETE SERMON ON SERMONS2 PAGE)

"Bread is given by Jesus to bind his followers together. The great irony is that bread of certain sorts can produce pain and inflammation. It has led to a practice in the Lord’s Supper of offering two or more sorts of bread, gluten free, for example.  That might be seen as an accommodation of the sufferer of gluten. But the symbol of unity is lost. Far better is that we acknowledge the sick among us (as Jesus did) and find bread that can be shared by all in the congregation and, preferably, a bread that is wholesome, tasty and (like the Orthodox Christians) made with yeast so the dough rises.

A second pastoral implication of the feeding of 5000 and 4000 suggests itself: Jesus feeds the entire crowd, women and children, with the numbered men. The feedings are a sign of unity. So, we of the Uniting Church in Australia would do well to revisit our worship practice when it comes to bread: generous, and a frequent ‘breaking of the bread’ (as in the Acts of the Apostles), and so become a sign to our divided humanity of a meal of peace. If peacemakers are blessed, so Jesus’ companions are also to bear the unity he offers. Think globally, and as we act locally we are Christ’s witnesses. Something similar may be said about the sharing of the cup. It is time for us to share one common cup from which all at the meal drink from the same cup. The Lord Jesus who offers his cup, asks us to take the risk of eating and drinking together, even those called enemy.

A third implication is this: Jesus who feeds the crowds is one who feeds all humanity, and does this by beginning with the desolate poor. As Jesus’ followers, we are also called to stand with the poor, to be in solidarity with those whose humanity is smashed, as in warfare (in Syria, for example, and Afghanistan), and who are torn from their homes seeking asylum in other lands, like Australia. Support of refugees is not just a political issue; it is the claim Jesus puts on us in our sisters and brothers who seek our welcome, a readiness to share our bread (food and money), just as Jesus calls us to eat at his table.
So as we commit to preparing for Easter in some form of Lenten discipline, remember that Jesus asks us to receive the free gift of bread, and with it free grace; with that he calls us to long for justice, and so to live for the new world God is making."
Rev Dr Wes Campbell

Monday, March 5, 2018

Elevated

Haiku for those who grope in darkness

In the wilderness
Moses lifted the bronze snake.
The people were healed.

So, too, will Jesus,
the Son of Man sent from God
be elevated.

Of the Father’s love
Jesus is sent, precious gift
bringing us true life.

He came, grace-laden,
embodying forgiveness.
No one is condemned.

There are those who hide,
preferring darkness to light;
judgement awaits them.

Blankets of darkness
drape heavy to hide evil.
Light is cast aside.

It’s all about light,
truth, hope, love; made incarnate.
Light shines, defiant.

Their deeds are in God,
those who seek to serve the truth.
Come, embrace the Light.


© Ken Rookes 2018.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

religious and spiritual

"Jesus’ cleansing of the temple – we might call it “occupying the temple” – is spiritual theatre.  In turning over the tables, Jesus is calling his religious tradition to be both “religious and spiritual,” that is, to become liberated from consumerism, power, polarization, and class to embrace the spiritual needs of an oppressed and hopeless people.  While God loves humus, the floors of the temple are not intended to be dung-covered.  Sheep and goats are part of God’s glorious handiwork, but their place is in verdant pastures, not temple floors.  We need to look at our faith and practice and discern those places where we have co-opted by consumerism, self-indulgence, materialism, and power plays.  The beauty of the universe and the wonder of our bodies call us to amazement and gratitude, but also to confession and repentance.
Today’s scriptures invite us to integrate a sense of beauty and emotions of gratitude with personal, congregational, and social self examination.  Do our practices reflect and contribute positively to the beauty of the universe and the ability of small children to join innocence with maturity in growing to be persons of appreciation,faithfulness, integrity, and beauty?  Ifnot, we need to embrace the wonder of Psalm 19 and soak our hearts and minds in the presence of a beautiful God."
Bruce Epperly

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/2012/02/the-adventurous-lectionary-lent-3/#8hKOlPZbQftlL7xb.99

cleansing of the temple

I read the cleansing of the temple as a stark warning against any and every false sense of security. Misplaced allegiances, religious presumption, pathetic excuses, smug self-satisfaction, spiritual complacency, nationalist zeal, political idolatry, and economic greed in the name of God are only some of the tables that Jesus would overturn in his own day and in ours. 
-Dan Clendenin
Subtle as a Sledge Hammer: Jesus “Cleanses” the Temple
March 19, 2006
http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/20060313JJ.shtml