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.

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.
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