land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

my cave

I have slid to deeply into my cave

To hear anything of the wind or feel

Anything of the storm outside.

The thunders and rumbles of the earth

Have become like the ticking of a clock.,

And the ringing in my ears has kept me

From hearing any soft sounds or voices.

I have been imaging the world outside

And now believe what I am thinking true.

Come back Jesus and show me how to be

Mortal again and find my way home.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Prayer Takes Time

It takes about twenty seconds to say the Lord’s Prayer.  In many places it is expected that a Sunday service be approximately one hour, weddings no more the 45 minutes. There is always a time element to saying one’s prayers. Whether it be the few minutes before one goes to sleep, or the sporadic petitions we make throughout the day, or the extended prayers one holds onto in the waiting room outside a surgical unit. Generally, though, we think of praying as a set and often short piece of time; a grace before a meal, a prayer before one leaves a friend in a hospital, a blessing or a thought offered to God in response to a need or longing. 

But to wade deeper into the realm of prayer, one needs to take time.  Prayer takes time. To move beyond the platitude of a politician offering “thoughts and prayers”; to engage in a relationship with God that is not simply asking for God to keep us safe, healthy and of sound finances in our current habits; to commit oneself to the deeper benefits of prayer, one needs to take time. Like sleep, it is one thing to fall asleep, but the extended time of sleep is what rejuvenates our body.  

It takes time in prayer to move beyond our hardships, handicaps and problems and to see them as the source of our strength.  It takes time in prayer to move us from our wounds, hurts and humiliations and to see those experiences as the seed for healing, strength and wholeness.  It takes time in prayer to let go of our worry and anxiety and to enter into a land of trust and confidence in the grace of God’s timing.  It takes time in prayer to let go, and then to let go again, and after we take back what we let go of, to let it go again, trusting God with what we cannot manage anymore. 

It takes time and innumerable repetitions to not only know the words to our prayers, but to have our lives become a part of the prayers and the prayers to become a part of our lives.  A mother will spend hours of time watching her child, noticing the changes in a child’s life, and in doing so becomes the familiar and foundation for the child, and the child woven into the fabric of the mother.  

We often will take more time watching or reading the news than taking time to delve into the vast ocean of prayer.  And, yet, the turmoil of our culture and news are often like a riptide carrying us away in emotional distress.  The strength and effort of prayer is to not fight the riptide, but swim across it, focusing on the actions of the holy and not the flashy secular headline. Taking time in prayer is a slow process that trains us and eventually changes us.  Like the desire to lose weight, a quick diet might lose some pounds quickly, but a change in diet and lifestyle will take time. 

To take the time to pray is to establish a bond, a sense of home and a belonging to who we are and from where we come. The continued familiarity of the words, breath, and spiritual awareness creates a familiar experience with the world in a new way.   And in this new familiarity we slowly find changes occurring without our immediate awareness of them. Extended time in prayer moves us beyond lists of petition toward deep thanksgiving; above the wonder of thanksgiving to the awe of worship; and through the majesty of worship to a unity of purpose of which the very power of life and light is ignited. Prayer takes time, from the simple twenty seconds of a single prayer to the extended and cumulative breathing in and out of life every day.  To become conscious of our time in prayer, of our journey and stories that have emerged through prayer, and of the effects of prayer on us is to become conscious of the subtle movements of life.

As I age, it is evident that time is accelerating at a more rapid rate. Yet, as I age in prayer, I find that time slows and I become more connected to the past, present and future. It is in the time of prayer that I slowly move to the place where there is no more time at all, the point where all time is captured, just as the living, the dead, and those yet to be born are all found together. Space and the ocean depths are seen as the final frontiers of exploration. I would propose that to explore any frontier left unspoiled we need to travel to and through it in prayer to discover the true treasures hidden therein.  And at that place we Amen.
can utter our eternal,

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What we worship

We are in the midst of a major religious transformation.

The demise of traditional religions, their work to be renewed, and the rise of false idols and religions has been phenomenal.  The worship of weapons, guns and power are evident in the NRA.  It is a belief system that cannot be questioned.  And the traditional religious people who have surrendered their cross for the gun is tragic.  They will not say it, but one cannot serve two masters and the NRA demands full attention. The worship of art is another great heresy of the wealthy.  In times past, they would build the cathedrals, now they buy a momentary fad that they cannot hang on a wall and will be forgotten in a generation. Salvation and forgiveness has been substituted by the grossness in meaning and celebrity status of the safe investment.

Donald Trump was our president before he was our president. We idolize wealth, audacity, and being manipulated. We long to belong, and the reaction of racism was inevitable in the journey to face it, or to avoid facing ourselves by blaming and shaming others first with our faults. His inevitable fall will be the fall of us all, the fall of American exceptionalism, American superiority, and white, male privilege.

Everyday, there remains an ordinary status that makes coffee, unlocks doors, greets people, and goes about facing the details of the common day. Yet, somewhere in the minutes of the hour, we wait for the fall, the discovery, the birth, the death, that will change everything. There is no turning back from where we are today, only the avoidance and the unraveling of the present experience will give us a gasp of delay.

We are in the midst of a divine moment. The miracles, the eureka of aha, the way it will be is meeting us, are we gracious enough and courageous enough to accept and embrace it?  Or is our well being, our identity, our security too well indentured to the way we have been.

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