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.

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; ...