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.

This is also the site where I will be updating and listing the schedule for my radio show, Words of the Morning, which can be heard on WRFR.org on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 am until 8 am.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

dec 31 2011


Coming to the end of a year reminds me of all the collected memories or events of the last year. I so often look for the great insight, or event, or turning point in things; yet it is in the accumulated journey of events that any of the larger understandings and truths emerge. Waiting is not being still, it is observing and reflecting as we continue on in the ordinariness of our day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"If" by Rudyard Kipling born Dec. 30, 1865

Happy Birthday Rudyard, this Friday. I will be reading from his work this Thursday, Dec. 29th on Wrfr at 7 a.m.


If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And which is more; you'll be a Man, my son!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Coming of Christmas Quiet

The fanfare of services, expectations, shopping, family, friends etc. of Advent is the perfect preparation for Christmas; the incarnation of God in our lives. Because I have found that I see and hear God most clearly when alone and quiet. Sometimes the huge noise of culture creates a vacuum which is the silence that emerges the day after Christmas. Now the season of being with ourselves and God can begin. A time to reflect and be still and know, to stop long enough to change directions without skidding off the road. Christmas is a season that begins on the day when culture, tradition, expectation and family all crash. The silence which follows is the time for the Mary within ourselves to begin pondering all these things that are happening around us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

more pics




The time's they are a changing


There are some holidays when we have family together, when that happens it is crazy, and sometimes stressful - but it is the times when our memories are deeply fertilized with fresh and very nutrient rich events. This year I got to witness the boys here all wearing bow ties, something I never imagined. And many times of sibling bantering.

a good piece

This is from Maureen Dowd's Christmas editorial in the New York Times this year, about Charles Dickens.

In his 1851 short story “What Christmas Is As We Grow Older,” Dickens makes the case that the holiday is the time to “bear witness” to our parallel lives, our “old aspirations,” “old projects” and “old loves.”

“Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly,” he wrote.

Maybe, he suggests, you end up better off without that “priceless pearl” who does not return your love. Maybe you don’t have to suppress the memory of deceased loved ones.

“Lost friend, lost child, lost parent, sister, brother, husband, wife, we will not so discard you!” he wrote. “You shall hold your cherished places in our Christmas hearts, and by our Christmas fires; and in the season of immortal hope, and on the birthday of immortal mercy, we will shut out Nothing!”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

incarnation


The coming of God into the world as a human being, to experience life as we do and to make the same journey as we towards death, is a great challenge to us to be conscious of our bodies. Christianity has not always seen the body as good and often as a negative force with its desires. Other religions have dietary understanding, physical regimens for meditation or defense. Christianity has coffee hours and perhaps the aerobics of standing, kneeling and sitting for those of the Episcopal tradition. How we move and breath and have our being in our bodies is crucial to our faith. It is not simply about denial or controlling unwanted desires; but about how we stretch, eat, move and relate with each other. It is in our body that we experience the joy of the Lord, not just as an intellectual thought. So often we mistake right thinking with right living. Change in how we understand our bodies is not just discovered by rigid discipline but also by loving acceptance and experience of more wonderous ways than the self destructive paths of our addictive habits and avoidances of discomfort or pain.
The season of the incarnation or Christmas is a wonderful time to reconnect ourselves with our body. It is in this journey, our mortal path, that we are able to come to know and experience the love and restorative forgiveness of God in Jesus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Light


Everything we see is simply reflected light, and all matter we touch is matter formed from the stars. Somehow there is a power which fills all this with life, we struggle for language to describe the mystery. The experience of love and life is larger than our words and stories. Our religions are ways in which we collectively have been able to convey the deep truths in the best way we can find. It is always changing and adapting as our language and experience change. There will never be a final statement of faith or love, as the statement is only a reflection of what we experience. And as long as we keep experiencing love and life the efforts to express them will continue. This does not belittle the Church or Scripture, as Scripture is always being retranslated in ways that we can better hear and understand. It does not diminish that which has been experienced, because what we continue to experience is only a continuation and a further manifestation of that which was and is and will be.

Friday, December 16, 2011

some early morning thoughts

There seems to be a war on religion in our country, but it is being waged by my dear fellow Christians who seem to find this a motivating force. It is thought that if someone is seen as attacking us then we have something to fight, and having a cause and fight will unite us. The experience of our Lord Jesus is what unites us, though. The activity of government is to have people find ways to work together and achieve the common good, the purpose of business is to make money and to provide a good product to serve their clientele. The idea that these groups are waging an attack on religion is not on either of their agendas as I would see it. Perhaps there is a spiritual power, such as satan, which is using government or business to fight Christianity. If it is seen as the liberals or the democrats as waging this war, then it is simply a war that is being used by the other political party to get votes, using faithful people for political gain. People using religion for political gain is very dangerous, once we set our eyes on earthly power it is hard to keep it fixed on Jesus. But if it is a spiritual war of satan then the best way to fight it is with a heart totally set on Jesus, praising God, and allowing the power of Jesus to win the war he has already won and not getting in the way. But to use this as a way to promote a faith and get others to believe I feel is misguided. I have yet to meet someone who has come to a deep relationship with Jesus because a store had a Christmas tree or holiday tree. In fact people who see religion only at this time of year oftentimes only understand it in a very superficial way. If one’s faith is known only at a major holiday such as Christmas, then it would be like only visiting someone once a year with millions of others. Visiting the White House on a tour does not make one a close friend with the president. What touches my heart and is what inspires me is when we are not fighting culture wars and having religious views thrown around by politicians, but when this energy is in fact spent by someone facing the experience of a life engaged and serving Jesus. Power and transformation takes place when I am not fighting or making society different, but rather allowing Jesus to change me and have my life transformed from this world to the actual reality of his grace. I suppose the point that I am trying to make is that when I share my experience and witness to what has happened to me it is more powerful and life changing than when I am avoiding experiencing change myself by trying to change the larger world around me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A blessing for you and those whom you love

May technology not distract you or those you love
from the actual love in your lives.

May your health and the health of those you love
know the healing light of God’s love
and be sustained by the companionship of Jesus’ touch.

May the political whirlwind of an election year
not sidetrack you from what is truly important in your world.

May the wisdom of the Holy Spirit
remind you of the things you might find yourself forgetting;
and renew the manners of those with whom you share this planet.

May the comforts and blessings of our wonderful land
not become curses that blind us to the God
who is the source of all blessings.

May the challenges of a changing world inspire you
to an openness that will renew love, restore peace,
and excite the passion to love within your soul.

And may deep joy emerge from any sorrow,
lasting peace from any anxiety, strong hope from confusion,
and the fullness of love from any despair.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why I think this Christmas has potential

This has been a hard Christmas to come up with something poignant to write about. There are many people who are unemployed, I know many who are in serious financial difficulty, who are facing serious health concerns, or wrestling with mental health. There are headlines which cause me anxiety, and changes in so many aspects of life that I find it overwhelming. So why have I arrived at the conclusion that this year Christmas has some real potential? Well, it struck me that for so long this season has been all about us. It is about our families, communities, our businesses, our memories, what we want and how we can feel good by doing for others. Perhaps, because of all of these challenges, this year it might become more about Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, because we are spending so much more time pleading and searching out for God in our struggles, that we find God again. And in our meeting, we will discover that God is used to challenging times and very comfortable with filling those times with meaning and historical purpose.

The Light of Christ

Everything we see, hear, feel, or touch comes from the energy released in the stars, some of which was billions of years ago. The story of Jesus coming into the world is described as ‘the light that shines in the darkness’. We have the story of the angel appearing to Mary, announcing the birth of Jesus. I oftentimes have imagined that the angel appeared from some other place, perhaps from some “out there, other reality”. The very energy that has created all things, filled all things, and is in all things, perhaps holds the potential of all things; and sometimes are we able to comprehend a small piece of the whole. Perhaps the angels did not come from “out there”, but rather from within all that is around us. The birth of Jesus, or the joining together of the human and the Divine, might be understood as, not something that happened from a God who is out there, or up there, but rather, an emerging of the reality that is already here among us. Where there is the energy of life, there is the energy and love of God. When we see ourselves as separate or alone, or try to become removed from our deep interconnections, we choose the darkness. We are still discovering our engagement with the light that burst forth from the very beginning, possibly billions of years ago. The birth of Jesus was a historical experience, but also perhaps an ongoing reality.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Stronger than water
no greater power on earth,
mother and daughter.


Speaking gentle truth
without having to impress -
first pressed olive oil.


It is such a rich and delicious blessing to be able to watch the dynamics, the inseperable bonds, the give and take, and most of all how two lives are so intricately and irrevokably interwoven, of a mother and a daughter.

Thank you Emily and Hanna.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

honest weather forcast

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation.

This is the link for NOAAs winter forecast where this great sentence which covers anything is found.

http://freepressonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=52&SubSectionID=78&ArticleID=16481

It is interesting to me that in Haiti, faith is essential to survive - electricity is an option. In the United States electricity is essential and faith is an option.


Here is a picture of Father Quatorze and the students at the school in Fiervil, Haiti outside of Gros Morne. This is a school we, at St. John's in Thomaston, have been supporting for a number of years. Their gifts and graciousness is as valuable if not more than the simple financial support we give them.

a few thoughts for the morning

Warmth, layers of cloths,
Blankets and covers;
Being hot is not just a style for some.

It is what we choose
Which brand of news
We are going to view.
We want to agree
With what we see,
Certainly not anything new.


Eczema- some words are not only hard to spell, they just seem to get under your skin.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Body of Faith

The other day I was walking down the sidewalk and started kicking a pile of leaves that had accumulated in my way. Suddenly a scent arouse from the pile that rang the alarm of many deep memories within me of fall days throughout my life. It was a delightful and deep surge of remembered joys. It is amazing to me how our bodies remember and hold onto memories through our senses, habits, muscles and mind. It seems to me that all of our personal history is held in the various parts of our body, only waiting for a spark to light the connections; perhaps a smell, a color, or the experience of a hurt that brings back past memories.
Christianity is an incarnational faith, in other words it is a faith that is understood and known by the experience of our human existence. The story of Jesus is that of God come into the human condition, and in doing so, broke down any barrier or distance that might have been experienced between God and humanity. The driving force of God’s love was to be directly and intimately connected and with all of us. As such our bodies and all of its systems and structure hold the links or pieces whereby we can experience this love of God.
So often we think of faith and religion in the form of words; beliefs, ideas, stories and sayings or dogmas. Yet, our experience of God is often understood in our bodies, which are more complicated than just our minds. Smells of church, sounds of music, the actions of our body in kneeling or reaching out, the effects of stress on our nervous systems when we do not forgive, or when we do forgive; these are just some of the ways our bodies incorporate the experience of God.
The holidays are a cornucopia of sensual stimulants which ignite many of our deep memories and understandings of who and what we are all about. It is a time when we experience faith and our religion more clearly through all of our senses, in the smells of a kitchen, or the sounds of people gathering, or the emptiness of a house. Prayer is not just the words we use in our mind, but the way we move and breathe and react to our mortality and the experience of time happening in the present.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Call no man Father

“But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father-- the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12

There have been many times when I have heard people quote this to me as to why priest should not be called ‘father’. It is interesting to me that the title of ‘father’ is what is remembered and used with this text, not rabbi, nor teacher. I have never heard anyone say that we should not call someone teacher, who is in that role. Though, this text would be quotable and applicable just as it would be for the title ‘father’. When we want to use scripture, we can find ways to use it, though when we read it for insight and are still enough to actually read the larger text it somehow finds a way to use us.

This text is all about serving others. A teacher, a religious leader, a political leader, a military leader, a police officer or whomever is leading or assuming a position of authority needs to see the position as a responsibility and act of serving not as a way to gain power over others for one’s own status or gain. A leader using her or his office for monetary gain or as a way to dominate others is being abusive and moving out of the grace of God’s anointing for such a position.

Using scripture to justify a point already held is dangerous and helps lead us to assume things about God that might not be appreciated by God. Reading this passage today is a good reminder to me to pay attention more, and to be slower to think I understand what it is that is before me. The steadfast love of the Lord is new every morning, so let it be new in me with the newness of this new day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

some fun and thoughts for today

March with passion
Breath for compassion
Todotodoto Todotodoto
Eat for clarity
Embrace with charity
Betobetobe Betobetobe
Write a revolution
Question every solution
Todotodoto Todotodoto
Read everything
Drive as if with wings
Betobetobe Betobetobe
Dance to belong
Taste your song
Todotodoto Todotodoto
Sing with the depth of thirst
Face the fears of the cursed
Betobetobe Betobetobe
Love all and
Hear the call
Todotodoto Betobetobe


Advertising my opinions on my car is not my preference.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover in buying a Prius that they did not all come with Obama bumper stickers.


So many pictures
taken of your pretty face,
yet your body dances.

What happened to us?
We have gotten way too fat;
Yet we’re still the same.


O God, you can make a miracle by simply taking a breath,
Breath on my, oh, breath of God.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Surprised by Joy




So often I find that it is easier to give than to receive. In fact receiving can pose an odd sense of unease that I cannot explain. But recently I found out that my car was not going to pass inspection and repair costs were looming before me. Suddenly my parents called up and offered me a new car! Needless to say I was overwhelmed. I was confronted with the reality of excitement welling up within me. Not only that, but they wanted to pick it out for me. They knew that I would pick out a used car that was sufficient. They wanted to pick out one that would be fun. When we were at the dealer I found myself having to let go of my usual acceptance of mediocrity and having to be conscious of choosing something that would be fun. It was an odd but exciting feeling. Aging and responsibility sometimes dulls our sense of delight and wonder. Here are a couple pictures of the car. I also chose my first vanity plate to go with it - WONDRUS from one of my favorite hymns, Wondrous Love.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fresh local music

In recent years we have been discovering the downside and darkside to all of our processed food. We have also been rediscovering the great health benefits of whole, healthy and local food. The more we seem to process and mass produce our food the more unhealthy it becomes even though it becomes more abundant and cheaper at first. In the long run its costs upon our health are greater and its overabundance only causes us to eat more of the things we do not need. This processing of things is not limited to our food, though. We have done the same thing with many other aspects of essential elements to our life. One area of over processing that is just as damaging to our lives, and yet has not gotten the same attention, is processed music. We have mass produced and over processed our music to the point that there is little to no connection between people and the soul of sound in our lives. We are plugged in, with an overabundance of packaged bytes in our technology that have been over processed and reproduced to the point of becoming sterile. I would rather have a faulty young voice grapple with the sounds of a tune, live in front of me than the bought, re-recorded sound of some perfect famous far off celebrity. There are very few songs that I know by heart, and our processed music makes it harder for me to want to learn a song in my heart that I might sing while in the shower or walking down the street. Apart from a community or school choir or a church gathering there are very rare moments that one might actually sing anything. What was once an integral part of our society and ways in which we grew in love with each other, now is a way for some to market for manipulate to keep us from feeling like we could also participate. Life is a participatory activity, not a product to be consumed or to collect. Let us not only eat locally and healthy but also sing out our lives with the local friends and family with whom we live.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trying new wines



We have been trying new wines at church for communion. For the last two weeks we have been using the Villager wine from Oyster River Winery. This week, Oct 2 we will be using the Come Spring wine from Savage Oaks. Here are a couple of pictures from our wine gathering, one from Savage Oaks and another from Sweetgrass Winery (whose wine we will be using on Oct 30th) Emily, Elias and Juliette are in the picture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

my humanity

So much time is spent trying to understand, to analyze and predict.
So much energy is expended to make a point and to be understood.
What I am trying to express and what I am trying to understand is so often the avoidance of listening and experiencing what is actually before me.
Why is the experience of mortality so frightening?
For it is in the simplest and basic elements of life that the basics of my life are found.
And yet I try to find my meaning in more elaborate formulas and complex or newer ideas. I avoid the immediate pain of life out of fear, and am left with a more drawn out and isolating pain from my efforts.
James Baldwin has a quote I find very helpful:
Inability to love is the actual problem,
because that inability masks a certain terror,
and that terror is the terror of being touched.
And if you can’t be touched, you can’t be changed.
And if you can’t be changed, you can’t be alive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Holy Cross Day thought

Sometimes it is easier to focus on the suffering, the agony of Jesus than it is to actually carry our own cross. If my focus on the cross of Jesus leads me to understand better His love and sacrifice and strengthens me to carry my own cross and follow him than what a blessing it is to see that cross of Christ. If the agony, the suffering and the tragedy of Christ is what I focus on with a sense of interest and or obsession or even as a diversion from the confronting present experience of Christ, than the cross will only be a side trip from my own fascinations.

Friday, September 9, 2011

some thoughts on God

It was not the bush, that was green and damp while fire was all around it, that changed Moses - it was that you knew his father.

Walking on the water, when they were about to sink, wasn’t what changed Jesus’ apostles, it was that you were not afraid.

It wasn’t the beauty of your home, a cathedral of beauty and glory, that changed everything about how I knew you and even knew my own self - it was that you knew what I had done and my struggles and that you loved me.

It is not all the memories and things you have done and the answers you have given that keeps changing me - it is that you are still here beside me in the darkness of my night.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the red ant

My hands
Rip at the weeds
Pulling the roots out,
As whole as possible.
Digging
open
the wounded soil,
Turning the earth over and over,
Preparing for a new day
I dominate my domain.
One red ant,
Instinctive in courage,
Climbs to my wrist
And clings hard with his jaw,
With a bite of rebellion
And self defense.
I crush him
quickly.
Yet for days
His legacy remains;
Prophetically reminding me
Of those whose lives and homes
I just destroyed
In order to grow.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Prayer for Rose

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen
How do you know when to take a poem out of the oven?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gathering together to pray and worship
Is the great affirmation
that we want to live and love;
And the revolutionary declaration
against the twin tyrannies
of apathy and avoidance.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Putting Prayers Out There



There is a difference between a good idea and a good idea that someone acts upon. Things get done when someone speaks up, acts and follows through on the idea and inspiration. When we think up a good idea and let it go, perhaps even forgetting about it until someone else acts upon something like it, we can only blame ourselves and often feel frustrated.
So, too, I think it is with our prayers. When I offer to God my heart, my concerns, my longings and my hopes but just think it in my head, it is easy for me to wallow on it, say it again and again and have trouble letting it go. Speaking it out helps, writing it out is also good, saying it with someone else commits it to someone else's hearing. I have taken to writing prayers down onto fabric and flying them over my yard, not only for God to see but for me to see that I have put these deeply felt items into God's hands, onto God's strength. I might want to pray this again and again, but it is hanging for all the world to see that I have already hoisted these prayers. And as they fade in the sun I can feel them becoming more clearly known by the love and heart of Jesus. Thank you Lord.

Thanks be to God for the peach

Blessed be God for the creation of the fresh ripe peach!
Oh, such delight and juice and sweetness that is not too sweet,
but just right.
Who could imagine, who could design,
who could produce from the elements of the stars
something so delicate, soft and perfect?
Only the God of mercy and beauty
and a God who obviously loves us so much to give us the peach.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Days after getting off a week long boat trip, I find that I can still feel the waves moving beneath me. It is amazing how our body remembers such movement. It gets me thinking how much of our memory or ways of thinking, perceiving and reacting are a result of actions and experiences long over finished.

Steering a boat for me is an experience more complete than most vehicles for me, for I have a sense of the entire boat as part of my body, or me being one with the boat as it moves and steers through the water. From this experience I find it easier to see and experience the understanding of being one with the water and the wind. We are more connected than we can ever truly understand.

On a boat with a few people and very limited space one learns to move in small ways, to be accommodating and to be sensitive to others. One cannot get away, unless one is a very good swimmer. It is important to learn to live with each other, to get over personal issues and to be gracious. It has been my experience that sailors on submarines are the exceptionally kind and nice people, my limited boat experience can see how that would a submarine life would develop such characteristics. It is interesting how we so often lose this awareness upon the ship of land.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

more pictures






Here are a few more pictures of the trip, these are by Jacob Gerritsen, and are much better than my snapshots.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just back from a wonderful trip on Ex Libris










What a great week, we were escorted by dolphins and led home by an eagle. Through beautiful and blustery weather, with a boatload of singers serenading us and a concert, to great food and wonderful times together. We all took turns in the kitchen and steering and Jacob even got the spinnaker up on the last day. Bless the Lord! All is well. Here are a few snapshots I took.

Monday, July 4, 2011

fourth of july







it has been more than a year that I have been keeping this blog. Wow. Back to the fourth of July in Thomaston. Elias and his band, Chaos Sauce, were in the parade and then played for several hours behind the block. For years they were the kids hanging out, now they are the band. When they were setting up on a flatbed outside the old Georges Valley High School, I became very nostalgic as I remembered them playing on a flatbed at the bonfire during their sophomore year there.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

some poems from today's radio show

From the poet Czesław Miłosz who was born on June 30, 1911
On Prayer
You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word 'is'
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.
Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.


From “A treatise on Poetry IV Natura
Pennsylvania 1948-49”

Yesterday a snake crossed the road at dusk.
Crushed by a tire, it writhed on the asphalt.
We are both the snake and the wheel.
There are two dimensions. Here is the unattainable
Truth of being, here, at the edge of lasting
and not lasting. Where the parallel lines intersect,
Time lifted above time by time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Strangeness of "Shopping" for a Church

Recently a family came to church and told me that they were “shopping for a church”. It rattled me to hear this. At first I wanted to say whatever they wanted to hear in order to win them over or “to sell” them on St. John’s. But then I found this troublesome. I think that they were probably using the wrong words to describe a process of discernment in regards to where they felt God calling them. But the words were there, and as such posed to me a great statement regarding faith in our culture. Are we looking to consume our faith, like other products?
I am an Episcopalian, not because I chose it out of all the others as the shiniest and prettiest product, but because it is where God has led me to serve. Despite the denomination's shortcomings I was called or led by God to serve in this community in the same way I am called to love the children who came into my life and the parents who were there to greet me at my birth. I love the music, the liturgy and have deep memories and family history here; but the core reason I am an Episcopalian is because it is where I have felt led and where I feel I need to contribute my gifts.
If we go to church to consume her programs, indulge in her beauty and art, and in order to meet or connect with people, we could possibly miss the deepest treasure of all. Like hanging around someone who might be of assistance or might have something for us and not realizing that this person could be the love of one’s life.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Time to pray

We have learned how to use email, how to text message, how to leave messages on answering machines, how to communicate on facebook and twitter, how to writ pra e a resume, how to leave a note for a friend or family, how to write a thank you note, how to apply for a job, how to fill out a form, how to write a paper or essay; and yet so many of us feel completely inept at knowing how to pray.

There are many ways to pray and all it takes to learn how is to make the effort, practice and be open to learn. From the simple sentence prayer, to the ancient written prayers, to the spontaneous sharing of needs, to the thanksgiving at a meal, to the very carefully crafted prayer there is a wide range of ways to communicate in prayer. I have been very conscious recently about how much I have been both relying on the simple sentence prayers, such as the Jesus prayer, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God; have mercy on me.” At the same time as I am so often reciting these sentence refrains I am learning and practicing the very deliberate and careful process of created praying, taking the time to form and create a prayer that is a response, reflection and monument to my relationship with God at this time.

It is easy to go to my email and find other forms of communicating with everyone else around me, but I need to be very careful not to overlook myself and the most intimate and important relationship I will ever have - to seek to serve and be one with God.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial day





Finally a nice warm day. Jonas is wearing his Bobby Jenks shirt and the rooster is feeling the effects of spring as he is challenging anyone who comes into his yard.
We have a new gate into the garden and new steps by the back door. Yea, Roland.

spring work in the garden






we have had a fair number of gray days so far with a late start for the garden. But simple blessings and surprises continue to abound.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Haiku


thinning the seedlings
on the tray by the window,
choosing life or death.

Haiku


Stronger than water,
no greater power on earth,
mother and daughter.

Sermon summary for May 15 2011

When I was in college I had an old Dodge 880 sedan car, with push button transmission. It was a beast, but it often needed work. Once right before I had to return home my alternator needed replacing and I was short twenty dollars for a new one. I went back to my room and was pondering my predicament until I finally started finishing up my school work. It must have been part of an assignment but I went to look something up in the supplemental scriptural text, the Apocrypha. When I opened it up a twenty dollar bill came out. It was kept there for a safe place apparently. I have always thought more highly of these texts after this experience. People have many times hidden or saved money in old bibles. There is a sense of finding a hidden treasure when we find such money, especially when it is unexpected. But the irony of it is that the words that are written in the Bible are of far more value than any amount of money laid within her pages.
Money is spent and saved, invested and used to build great monuments, but all these eventually pass on to others, and are destroyed, forgotten or used for other purposes. Yet the words of the scripture continue to inspire, console and transform our lives. A poem, like the 23rd psalm written almost three thousand years ago still is held deep within our lives. It is a monument in my heart like none other. Each word is crucial and treasured.
The opening word, “the” is critical. It is not referring to “a” lord, or “some” lord, or lord which may be someones name. In fact the poem begins with the exclamation of address referring to “THE” Lord, one who is singular and unique. Each word of this psalm continues to press into a mold within me that then is opened into a pillar of strength for me. The “is” reminds me that God is not just about what happened to others or in my past but is active now, alive. And in my dark hours I hold onto each word, one at a time, to reflect upon and polish within my heart and mind allowing me to resume my sleep and know that God is watching over all.
Again and again I pray for health, and support, financial aid or guidance both for others and for myself. And all the while, while I pray and seek the response of God I find that the treasure and answer is and has been with me all along. The words of scripture are the constant reminder of the word made flesh in the person of Jesus and the basis of Christianity. The living word, the active opportunity of love upon my life is ever present, only waiting to be seen, embraced, read, and added into my heart like yeast to make my actions a living bread for others.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Being Religious and Being Spiritual

More and more I hear of someone telling me that they are spiritual, but not religious. In asking for more information about this distinction I find that when one is spiritual that they are open and interested and engaged in the inner life and the working of God or one’s higher power. The distinction then leads to one not being “religious” or not being part of a religious organization.
The more I have reflected on this distinction the more trouble I have with it. It appears to me like one who loves to cook but does not host parties, nor work in a restaurant, nor share this gift. Or one who is inclined to care for, teach and nurture children, but is not part of a school, nor entrusted with children. Bringing one’s gift’s into relationship with the larger community is very important.
The reciprocal is also interesting to me, and I find it equally troubling. When one is engaged in organized religion and yet is not open spiritually it seems to me like one in a relationship who finds it tedious or a teacher who simply is working towards a retirement.
I understand that organized religion, like education, politics, health care or other organized activities of life, has a long history of abuse and manipulation. But then organized religion, as well as these other ventures in life, have a long history of great people and efforts that have bettered our common life. Where are we going to stand, what are we going to be working towards?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



I start my radio show this Thursday morning on WRFRlp- 93.3 Rockland, you can also stream it on the web.

Thursday Matins - 7 a.m. - 8 a.m. Thursday mornings

This is a morning show celebrating the written and spoken word with poetry, prayers, lyrics, and more every Thursday morning at 7 a.m. with Peter Jenks and friends. Designed to begin the day with insights and encouragement. Always open for input, ideas, stories and poetry to share.

Easter Sunrise again




There is something to be said for annual sunrise services on Easter morning. For one thing, in Maine, it is a time for the hearty and well bundled worshiper as it is usually very cold, rainy or snowy. But whatever the weather there seems to be the same faithful people that come every year. It is a time when we all gather and somehow by meeting, in some cases, this only once a year - year after year- we have gotten to know each other.
In remembering the resurrection of Jesus I am struck by the fact that those who were there knew him from years of being together. Mary Magdelene, Peter and John were all close to Jesus. These people were close friends. This amazing day did not come out of the blue by people unknown, it came through the hard and painful experiences of people who were close to each other.
So often my prayers are for a magical answer or solution, a miracle to get me or someone I know out of an illness or financial crisis. I want a remedy or rescue from this mortal existence. But Jesus went to the end of the human journey, through fear, betrayal, pain, suffering and ultimately lost his life. It was by going more fully into the human drama and experience that he was able to lead the way for others. His choice was to celebrate together with those he loved at the dinner table, the established way of thinking and social structures wanted to blame and find a victim. Jesus kept going in his mortal journey of love.
Returning again to the sunrise service I am struck by the familiar faces and the struggles in our lives now. It is in these journeys that we are all working through that we might find the miracles and deeper dimensions of love that carry us as well through our fear.
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