Monday, October 26, 2020

Would that we had the courage


A flashing, fleeting, sometimes disturbing

insight into mystery;

leaned towards, grasped after,

shared, delighted in

and meditated upon.

It becomes a source of joy and hope and healing;

yes, and then it is argued and debated,

memorised, written, codified, engraved,

painted, and sculpted in stone.


Thus religions begin,

take shape,

and transmute into sacred edifices.

In the normal course,

through the operation of time,

they are made tame, domesticated, polite.

Gaining respectability, they proceed

to participate in the intricate processes

of politics and power.

Thus the Teacher confronts

and warns against the Scribes

and the Pharisees who justify and defend

the religion of their day.

His own humble insights

will follow the same tragic trajectory

through two millennia,

to be perverted by power

and sad politics.

Would that we had the courage

and the determination to free them;

to paint coarsely, across pretending walls

of bluestone, brick, and glass,

his ancient but not quite forgotten message.

A word sprayed defiantly

for neighbour and for enemy,

or scrawled urgently in humble chalk;

four letters.

© Ken Rookes 2020


Monday, October 19, 2020


Haiku of entrapment

Questions to test him.

Two to cause him to stumble,

one that shuts them up.

Sadducees bowl up

marriage and resurrection.

He hits them for six!

He quotes the scriptures,

affirming resurrection:

God rules the living!

A lawyer enquires:

Which commandment is greatest?

The answer is Love.

For God and neighbour,

love is the first requirement.

All else is detail.

Asks his own question:

How is David’s son the Christ?

They have no answer.

Questions that challenge,

call, confuse and confound. We

ask, and we answer.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Soft and cloying


2000 years


into a religion of comfortable raised hands

and reassurance that I,

out of all humanity,

(you too, of course);

have a reserved place

in some imagined paradise.

Soft and cloying.

He spoke of sacrifice and love.

Painful, bleeding;



giving stuff away.

Of taking the rejection

and persecution.

And of dying.

Love for neighbour,

enemies, too.

With a ratbag foreigner

made the hero

of a story about love.

Baptism into death,

and the cup of suffering.

Families divided.

Not much that can be recognised

in this baptised into prosperity

fearful of strangers

it’s all about me

Sunday religion of happiness and satisfaction;

while the planet grows hotter,

the innocent are brutalised,

and the wealthy grow even fatter

and more obscene.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

Shall we pay taxes ...?

Haiku of entrapment

He is disturbing,

this teacher come from up north.

They try to trap him.

They flatter Jesus.

We know that you teach God’s way,

tell us what you think.

Should we pay taxes

to the emperor; is God

well served if we do?

Jesus shakes his head,

calls them hypocrites. Show me

the coin for the tax.

Whose head do you see

on the coin? he questioned them.

Why, the emperor’s!

Then give to Caesar

what belongs to him; and give

to God what is God’s.

Good answer, Jesus;

confounding your critics and

asserting God’s claims.

© Ken Rookes 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

Royal Wedding


Haiku of failed RSVPs

Stories that provoke

and challenge entitlement,

making leaders squirm

A wedding banquet.

The invitations are sent.

No one wants to come.

Look, a second chance!

The servants go out again

to call in the guests.

It all turns ugly

with disturbing violence;


The king is enraged,

understandably. Sends troops

to exact justice.

Here’s the new order:

all sorts of common people

called to the banquet.

The good and the bad;

all are called, all invited

to this wedding feast.


A strange conclusion

to a strange story: make sure

you’re properly dressed.

© Ken Rookes 2020

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; ...