Friday, August 31, 2018

What defiles a person?????

"...It was into this context (Royal commission into Child abuse) that the bishops and the senior pastors asked, “Why don’t your people live out Biblical family values?”

And he said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites. As it is written,

‘This people pays me lip-service,

but their hearts are far from me;

they worship me in vain,

for they teach human commandments as doctrine.’

You abandon the commandment of God, and wield human tradition like a sword.”

Then he said, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For as the prophets said, ‘You must care for the widow, the orphan, and the refugee: those who have no one to protect them.’” But you spout family values and say “Anyone who has sex before marriage, or a homosexual relationship, cannot be part of the kingdom of heaven.” You force people to lie about their relationships, or to suppress sexual expressions of faithful love, yet take no responsibility for the structures that enable sexual violence against women and children. Instead, you have protected religious officials, and worried about your own status.”

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile you. Nothing that anyone has done to you can defile you. No way that they have touched you can defile you. No act of sexual degradation, no act of violence, no scene of pornography that has been forced upon you, can make you unclean in my eyes. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that another person can do to you that can make you unfit for communion with me. The only thing that can get in the way of communion with me is using other people to satisfy your destructive desires, and failing to live in love. You may feel defiled by what other people have done to you, but in my eyes, you are not defiled. You are not defiled.”
Nathan Nettleton
http://www.laughingbird.net/

Monday, August 27, 2018

Keep yourself nice

Haiku for a polite and ordered world

Is righteous living
about keeping yourself nice?
Jesus says there’s more.

The holy people
observe the old tradition:
wash before you eat.

Always wash your hands
before you eat. Good practice,
enshrined in the law.

Other rules as well;
the washing of cups and pots
and kettles of bronze.

Pharisees object
to the careless disciples
and their defiled hands.

Isaiah knew it;
the faithless hypocrisy
behind your worship.

You care about rules
much more than you care about
what God is wanting.

It’s time to get real!
It’s the things you do and say
that make you defiled.

Always there is more
than the narrow, centred fears
of the self-righteous.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

Difficult words

Haiku of offence.

Eating and drinking,
taking my life deep within;
they abide in me,

They will always live,
nor will their deeds be forgot,
alive in God’s heart.

Difficult teachings,
who can accept them? Even
disciples struggle.

From the spirit comes
true life; the flesh is useless.
Believe in my words.

Many disciples
turned back. His words were too hard,
the way was too tough.

He questioned the twelve:
Do you also wish to leave,
is it all too hard?

Where else can we go?
said Peter. Your words are life;
you have come from God.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wealth is not a blessing

"Wealth is not blessing.  I feel like I need to repeat that.  Wealth is not blessing.  If it is, then Jesus (just to cite the obvious example) must be regarded as one of the most un-blessed people ever to walk the earth; he lived and died dirt poor.  But if there's one false teaching that haunts the American church most, this is it.  That money is an unambiguous sign of God's approval.  Hence, prosperity theology.  Hence, our willingness to turn a blind eye to sin in our politicians, our economic policy makers, our religious leaders, and our cultural icons when their sins come packaged in enormous wealth.  Too often, money creates a moral vaccuum.  Solomon remained wealthy while he sacrificed babies to Molech.  Wealth is not blessing."
https://www.journeywithjesus.net/essays/1880-the-beginning-of-wisdom

Sabbath quote

“Sabbath observance invites us to stop. It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help. It invites us to delight in the world’s beauty and abundance.”


― Wendell Berry

Sabbath Poem

Wendell Berry (born 1934)
Sabbath Poem VII (1982)
The clearing rests in song and shade.
It is a creature made
By old light held in soil and leaf,
By human joy and grief,
By human work,
Fidelity of sight and stroke,
By rain, by water on
The parent stone.
We join our work to Heaven's gift,
Our hope to what is left,
That field and woods at last agree
In an economy
Of widest worth.
High Heaven's Kingdom come on earth.
Imagine Paradise.
O Dust, arise!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Living bread

Haiku of eternal life

I am living bread,
Jesus says in John’s gospel.
Eat, live for ever.

The leaders dispute.
How can this man give his flesh
that people might eat?

I tell you truly,
Jesus says, Life is in me,
take me deep within.

In these words we find
eucharistic overtones:
Come to the table.

My flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink: Take,
eat, and drink of me.

Who partake of me,
live in me; and I abide
in them. We are one.

The Father sent me.
The life I have is from God;
I share it with you.

The bread from heaven
gives life that is fair dinkum.
Come to me and eat.


© Ken Rookes 2018

Monday, August 6, 2018

The bread of life

Haiku for those who need to be fed

The Johanine Christ
calls himself the bread of life;
much consternation.

Is this not Jesus,
the son of the carpenter?
Claims to come from God!

The Father sent me,
and he draws many to me;
I will raise them up.

Learn from the Father
and come to me. I’ll show you
how to truly live.

Your ancestors ate
wilderness bread from above;
death still embraced them.

I am living bread.
Eat of me, receive my life;
you need never die.

Heaven’s living bread,
bread that gives life to the world:
this bread is my flesh.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Give us this bread




Haiku for those who hunger.

The crowd found some boats
and crossed the lake to find him,
at Capernaum.

Is it for the signs
or because you ate your fill
that you’re seeking me?

Food that perishes
is worthless; the Son of Man
gives the food that lasts.

His food leads to life.
His word brings life eternal;
God’s seal rests on him.

They asked for a sign,
that they might have faith in him.
Like the desert bread.

In the wilderness
your forebears ate God’s manna;
this too, did not last.

The true bread from God
comes from heaven to the earth,
gives life to the world.

Give this bread to us,
they said, not really knowing
what it is they ask.

I am living bread.
Come, you need never hunger,
nor do you need thirst.


© Ken Rookes 2018

The crowds were coming

Haiku of anticipation The crowds were coming. They’d heard he was baptising. Come! Begin again! John was a preacher, ...