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.

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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

a trip to Scotland

Returning from a wonderful trip to Scotland, it is fun to look at the photos. Some things were very moving, somethings very interesting and somethings new. The wedding was a deep joy and blessing and seeing Anna and Ewan in love is wonderful. Seeing my sister and her husband Mark at the wedding of their daughter was a treat. Family moments like this are sometimes too rare. The "wee little train" as Anna calls the subway in Glasgow is just that, what a unique subway - though very efficient. And we got to go to the Glasgow Botantical gardens which are great, and their annual orchid show - which had a most tiny orchid. Life holds many surprises and many blessings. It is beautiful when we are aware enough to actually take note of them.

Different cultures at the gate

We just returned from Scotland and flying back from one country to another it became evident how different cultures view activities. At the Glasgow airport we arrived at the gate and there were 10 gate agents there checking tickets, directing people to where they needed to go, or just pacing back and forth. It was a bit comical and from my perspective some of the positions were a bit redundant. Then when we arrived at Newark airport we were waiting for another plane. There was not a gate agent in sight for any of a dozen gates. One of the gates had three flights delayed and filled with frustrated and angry people. The lone agent that tried to work the gate finally was so overwhelmed, underequipped and kept out of any tools to actually help the situation that it was simply tragic. It was my experience that the anger came from the lack of honesty in the way we were treated. The airline knew that the flight was going to be at least an hour late, yet would never post such information. In the United Kingdom people were seen as passengers and treated very well, probably too nicely and with too many people caring for them. In the United States efficiency was what was most important and people were called customers and seen as a problem. Employing people was obviously something that was to be avoided at all costs in order to save money. Part of the problem is that people want to fly as cheaply as possible, another side of this is that stockholders have overridden any integrity of the product for immediate gain.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We each have a piece

Problems have the potential of turning into possibilities. In the fall of 1993, it was discovered that the back foundation of my house was falling in on itself. In the challenge of repairing it I was very thankful for my neighbor, Al LaPlante, who was agreeable to being hired for the job and agreed to put up with me as an assistant. Not only was the wall reinforced but we were able to get to know each other, a gift far greater than simply the job at hand.
During this repair we had much time to talk. Al shared his sorrow at meeting a young man in town who was basically kicked out of his house when mom got a new boyfriend and Al met this young man as he was out walking around the town around 4 in the morning. In talking it was clear to us that growing up in a small town could either be a grand experience and opportunity or a nightmare that just spirals downward.
As a pastor of a church, I was aware of many people who had moved to the area and who had not gone to the local schools, nor had their children go to the local schools. There were differing worlds living side by side of people who grew up here and who moved here but really didn't have a way of meeting the young people they met day to day at the stores and on the streets. If there was a way to connect some of these people, various adults who have a wealth of experience, insights and concern with some of the young people who were slipping through the cracks and sometimes falling headlong into the chasm of self destruction created by limited options and negative stereotypes and we might make a big difference. I wondered at how we could bring these various worlds together, how we could get out of town and spend time together. Al, who was also a Maine guide, suggested we go out into the woods somewhere.
The idea kept brewing within me, but didn't know where to go or how to take the next step, until I met Jack Carpenter who had recently moved to the area. His deep commitment to youth in need and his understanding of the great role a mentor could make in a young person's life was the match that made an idle idea take fire.
Al saw the need and was willing to share his concern, I could see a possibility and a vision, and then there was Jack who could make things happen. We each had a piece, and it was only in sharing our limitations that led to the others with the gifts to take it further that made this happen. We each added our piece and since then many others have added their gifts, especially Don Carpenter who has made this program into a reality and a force that has helped mold a community. Check it out at

Returning and Rest

It is my experience that returning from a sabbatical is like trying to jump on a train which is going full speed (at best), or a plane in mid flight (at worst). The months before and after a sabbatical tend to be quite busy and full. It is also a time when change is in the air and I have found that it is important to take time to process the changes that are occurring. One of the big changes for us at St. John’s is the upcoming departure of Deborah McKean as our deacon. She and her husband, Phil, are moving to California in late April. They will be back for awhile this summer and we will have a time to officially thank her for all that she has been and done for us.
There were several things I gained from sabbatical that I saw as being very important, and things I want to be deliberate in nurturing in the midst of the busyness and change. The first thing is the extreme importance of worship in our lives. Traveling to other churches and not having to worry about details found me immersed in the joy of worship. If we do not have healthy worship it will manifest itself in unhealthy ways and attach itself to things not meant to be worshiped. The other discovery I found again is at the root of everything for me and that is how wonderful and life changing it is to be loved by and to love our Lord Jesus. As in any relationship, it is easy to find ourselves lost in the day to day frustrations and challenges; to be blinded by familiarity and expectations. Getting away and seeing each other in new ways and remembering the profound delight and love between two people is a treasure.

To do so with the source of our very life and love is even more brilliant. We have a jewel, a potential and a gift that is far more precious than water or breath in the forgiving reality of the love of Jesus. The experience of this faith, this encounter, has been guiding people for thousands of years, and with that we so often only look at ways it has been misused.

To meet again and discover anew this love is our daily opportunity.

- the Rev. Peter Jenks
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