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