Monday, March 30, 2020


Haiku for washing one’s hands

He gave no answer
when the governor asked him
about the charges.

They called for his death;
Pilate knew his innocence.
Let’s not make trouble.

The sorrow, the pain,
the cruelty; sacrificed
for expedience.

We still silence them;
prophets with their awkward words.
They keep coming back.

Who do we call for;
taking man or giving man?
Choose between the two.

Are you still there God?
Why have you abandoned me?
Nothing but silence.

Will Elijah come?
Will anyone rescue him?
But nobody comes.

His voice cries again.
Anguished and forsaken
the king breathes his last.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

But what of the Poor?

Haiku of poured-out love

Ah, Lord Jesus,
how to show my love for you,
what to make it real?

The very costly
ointment of nard spills over
his face and his hair

Splashed with abandon
in a profound act of love.
A perfumed present.

Loving is costly.
Effort, commitment, struggle;
also many tears.

But what of the poor?
Yes, of course, we all must spend
love upon them, too.

This woman has done
something beautiful for me;
for my burial.

Will I love this way,
with my naked heart exposed,
accepting the pain?

© Ken Rookes 2020

Posting for Palm Sunday, Narrative Lectionary;  Mark's version of the Anointing at Bethany

Monday, March 23, 2020

We are born, we die.

Haiku of joy and sorrow

Near Jerusalem,
Bethany, place of welcome;
Martha and Mary.

Brother Lazarus
is ill. They send for Jesus.
He doesn’t hurry.

Twelve hours of daylight,
nobody needs to stumble
if they see the light.

Lazarus is dead.
Much grieving with many tears;
Jesus weeps with them.

Your brother will rise.
I am the resurrection.
Trust in me, and live

Yes, Lord, I believe
that you are the Messiah,
the Son sent from God.

Mary comes and kneels.
If only you were here, Lord,
he would not have died.

We are born, we die.
Cycles of joy and sorrow;
we all must face death.

It’s overrated,
bodily resurrection;
there’s a time to die.

Jesus prefigures
his own dying and rising,
raises Lazarus.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Portents in the skies

Haiku for the watchful

Let the walls crumble!
The temple no longer serves;
welcome the new thing!

Portents in the skies.
How we love to speculate,
what does it all mean?

Don’t be led astray.
Test their claims; do they measure
up to love’s standard?

Coming in the clouds!
Expectations have worn thin
in two millennia.

Is it really near?
Is the Son of Man coming
to end history?

These understandings
from two thousand years ago;
are we bound by them?

Everything passes.
His words remain to give life,
calling us to love.

Be watchful with love.
Be eager in your serving.
This is faithfulness.

Midnight or cockcrow
or at dawn, it matters not
if love is your guide.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Some haiku for teh Narrative lectionary, Lent 5

Monday, March 16, 2020

Surely we're not blind

Haiku for those who can see.

Who was the person
whose sin caused this man’s blindness?
Doesn’t work like that.

A miracle tale
as Jesus heals a blind man.
Much consternation!

The authorities
refuse to see the new thing
that God is doing.

Oppressive doctrine
is the cause of much blindness;
now, as it was then.

Blind authorities
still betray; they are captive
to lust and power.

Blindness all around.
We quite like this blissful state;
pretend innocence.

No, it wasn’t me;
I’ve not seen their suffering,
do not know their pain.

Surely we’re not blind!
If you were, you’d have no sin;
but your sin remains.

He comes seeking us;
the one who opens closed eyes.
Let us see, Jesus.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Do you really need to ask?

Haiku of essentials.

They were arguing
as do the theologians
of all descriptions.

The greatest command;
do you really need to ask?
You know what it is.

It is always love.
The only thing that matters.
All else is detail.

When they practise love,
the ones who pretend wisdom;
then all is made new.

So many liars,
claiming to be the greatest,
but lacking in love.

The PM, scoffing
at ‘unfunded empathy.’
Does love need funding?

The modern-day scribes
still crave places of honour;
and forget to love.

Generous loving;
never in fashion. Today
it’s all about me.

Even the widows
are more generous with love
than those who are rich.

© Ken Rookes 2020

From the Narrative Lectionary for the fourth Sunday in Lent

Monday, March 9, 2020

When you are thirsty

Haiku for parched souls

When you are thirsty
and someone gives you water,
you take it gladly.

A surprise meeting;
the Samaritan woman
and the Jewish man.

The well: this image
of life splashed with hope, purpose,
and filled with spirit.

Life, not limited
by all the negative stuff;
full and unconstrained.

Drink this life, woman,
man, child; all of you who yearn
for truth and fullness.

The hour is coming
for all the true worshippers
to reveal themselves.

What will be the sign,
how will we recognise them?
One thing; by their love.

I know that he comes,
the Messiah sent from God.
He is with you now.

Go, tell the city,
don’t keep this news to yourself;
others also thirst.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Paying the rent

Haiku for paying one’s dues

It was occupied
by disrespectful tenants;
the famous vineyard.

Watchtower, wine press
and fenced on every side,
what more could you want?

Think of all the grapes!
The profits must be immense;
go and get the rent!

The wicked tenants
refuse to pay, beating up
those sent to collect.

The story is told
against the privileged ones
who will not bear fruit.

Hand over the rent,
bring forth the righteous bunches
of justice and love.

The angry owner
comes as judge to sort things out,
showing no mercy.

Those on the outside,
sinners and tax collectors,
will be given their place.

The rejected block
has been made the cornerstone.
That is what God does.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Some haiku for the Narrative Lectionary, 2nd Sunday in Lent.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Late in the ev'ning

Haiku of enquiry.

Late in the ev’ning,
when polite folk are sleeping,
Nicodemus comes.

Why is he hiding,
what secret does he conceal
in the dark of night?

What doubts are harboured,
to be kept from his colleagues,
lest they heap their scorn?

Value your doubting,
Nicodemus: your questions
are embraced by God.

Clasp the mystery,
fear not the uncertainty.
Doubt boldly, with faith!

Birthed in the waters
and through the Spirit as well;
enter God’s kingdom!

Through love you are born,
in love the Son comes to you.
It’s all about love!

Eternal the life
that is shaped by the Spirit;
this is salvation!

© Ken Rookes 2020

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Setting the pace

Haiku for getting serious

They were on the road.
Their destination; trouble.
Big Jerusalem

He was leading them,
setting the pace; they held back,
anxious and afraid.

It will get ugly,
he told his friends. Always does
When you challenge them.

They fear my message,
hate me for daring to speak.
They will have their way.

Don’t ask for honour,
honour comes with pain and death.
There are no short-cuts.

The cup is suff’ring,
the baptism, it is death.
Will you still follow?

Will you follow me?
Will you be a slave to all?
Will you give your life?

© Ken Rookes 2020

Some haiku for the Narrative Lectionary, Second Sunday in Lent.

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; ...