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.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


There are times when I will be sitting in a meeting and listening to people go on about how it used to be, or how things worked in the past and this should be how we do things again and I will be frustrated knowing we cannot go back. But then I do the same thing in my life, holding on to old wounds and hurts, clinging to ideas that served me well previously.
I read a quote this morning which said that crisis comes when we are called to go further than our creeds that we have accepted.
Jesus is calls, I believe, to a new song. Do I have the time, and openness to learn it.
Sometimes there seems to be a waiting time that comes knowing that it will be different. In this waiting time it is easy to once again look back, when in fact it is the time to savor what we have had, but to let go to enter upon a new shore. From time to time we need to get rid of our worn out clothes and buy something new. At some time the item of clothing that I do not want to get rid of was new also.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Challenge of Thinking Differently

     For over thirty years I have tried to find my place in the Episcopal Church. So often, though, I have been looking in the wrong places.  I have tried repeatedly to fit in and to contribute and be a part of the larger church, the diocese or groups beyond just the parish level. And yet it always seems to end up in disappointment.  If I run for an office, everyone else will be elected but me, it seems. If I volunteer for a committee, others are chosen. I oftentimes understand the reasons, and I would probably choose others as well. In any committee or search process there is a desire for diversity. I just happen to not be on any edge or represent any unique group. So I keep trying, and finding myself frustrated. On the other hand, life in the local setting in the parish or town I have found exceedingly great pleasure, relationships, and meaning. But part of me keeps thinking that what I need is to be found on a bigger stage.
     It is a challenge to shift my way of thinking. It is not easy to accept that which is closest to me, beneath my feet and beside me. Somehow I feel that there needs to be something else or some outside connection. This way of thinking is hard to break. Trying hard to break it, to change and to be different does not always work. Trying not to look at something only makes me more aware of what it is I am not looking at or avoiding. The challenge for me is to be surprised and focus on the simple and phenomenally brilliant treasure around me. It is why I love to read and write Haiku, because it focuses on the deep and present moment in front of us, something so simple and also so eternal.
Change does not seem to come to me by trying to change, but by finding something more interesting to draw my attention and energy towards. And it always seems to be present in some corner of my day.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Little Leavening of Advice

Any writer worth her or his salt knows the great value of an editor, people who are able to speak a word of correction, or show us  how we could say something better. In all things we benefit from people who speak honestly to us. People who are able to tell us when we have food in our teeth or a tag is sticking out of our clothes, people who are able to show us where we are being hard headed, or gently nudge us away from stupid mistakes are priceless friends.

But the words of correction, the amount of advice, and the helpful truth we hear is very much like spice or leavening; a little is very effective and too much is overwhelming. In making chocolate chip cookies it is important to put in some baking soda or powder, but only a teaspoon or so.  If one were to put in as much baking soda as flour it would be inedible. The cookie proportions are about right, we need much, much more affirmations, support, and words of gratitude than advice. Even simple words of wonder and surprise at the world about us is beneficial. Along with positive comments about life is the need for words of forgiveness and expressions of being sorry.  I equate these with the chocolate chips in the cookies. When people are able to tell me they are sorry for things they have done, or for what has happened then I hear them much clearer when they have something challenging to say to me as well.

There is much beauty in our world.  We are constantly being blessed in ways we could never number. We have far more time to sing than we actually take.  It is important to make the world a better place by helping others, but until we are able to appreciate the world first it is hard to improve on it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teach me some melodious sonnet

The act of singing out loud is an action dedicated to opening one's heart and soul to healing power.
From time to time I try to memorize a hymn or song. And in practicing the song, while walking home, or through the house or in the yard, I find that it lifts my soul and fortifies my faith. 
There is a power that we lose when we simply forfeit our music to electronic devices and no longer depend upon our own actions and voice to make the sounds. 
My song for this week:
Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace! Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! Oh, fix me on it, mount of God’s unchanging love.
Here I find my greatest treasure; hither, by thy help, I’ve come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee: prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
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