Glory be to the God who tires, rests.
Jesus, you felt the world’s weight across your shoulders
even heavier than the rest of us.
the lepers whom most of us can choose
to let our gaze slide over
ran after you, calling, clinging at your hem:
there was no denying them.
there is never
cessation of need.
the earth is one mouth gaping
hungry, groaning, calling
never filled, never silent, never closed.
you took the time
to row yourself into the sea’s dark belly
and let her cradle you.
you knew the crowds were teeming on either shore,
that they would coalesce upon you,
waves replacing waves as soon as you rowed back —
and there would be time
for now, you let the croon of wave lapping at boatwood
lull you to sleep.
God, will you be the sea
and i the boat
rocked to sleep in your lap?
slow my breathing
until it matches yours.
there will be time, there will
but for now
there is only rest.
If you use this piece, please credit it to Avery Arden and link this website. I also invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you’re using it!
Hear Avery read this poem on YouTube.
About this poem: I wrote this poem while I was serving for a semester as a hospital chaplain – a time in which I was inundated with grief and need, both my own and that of others. It’s inspired by Psalm 131 and stories in the various Gospels where Jesus withdraws from the crowds that seek his healing and wisdom to pray and rest (e.g. Matthew 14:13, Luke 5:16, Mark 4:35-41).