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.

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 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


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


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.

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.
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