Lent Week 4 – Watch

Featured Image: Watching
Photography by Karen Epp
© 2017 – Karen Epp

Night Watch

Surrounded by darkness
I pace, stand, strain to see
pace, stand, strain some more –
How long?

until a thin line of white appears humming
at the horizon where heaven meets earth
like a melody pressed between pursed lips
like a breath held in tension aching
breaking weariness apart with a cry!

When will joy ascend
spilling harmonies of color
over heaps of fears mountain-ed in the dark,
over, it’s too much and I don’t understand,
over open wounds and a chronic sorrow?

Then, a whispered invitation,
a shared cloak of compassion –

Keep watch with me.
Pray with me.
Do not be afraid.

© 2017 – Laurel Archer

Our word this week was Watch.  We worked independently with the word, so the Photograph and Poem are here together but speak as solo voices, like two variations on the same theme.

Karen on her Process: All week I’ve been attentive, looking for a visual image of Watch. Circumstantially, I’ve been immersed in aloneness for some time now; I wondered if I’d find an appropriate image to portray the loneliness I have been experiencing. This very long winter had become a metaphor for my own long winter. I am returning to spring.

Matthew 11:28 MSG Jesus says this, ” Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace….”
Some of these words sink into me, revealing the coming spring…recover your life…watch how I do it…unforced rhythms of grace – healing coming in unforced rhythms…

Laurel on her Process: The word ‘watch’ brought to memory a Taize chant which simply invites ‘Keep watch with me / Pray with me / and do not be afraid’. The words and melody worked into my heart and led me to the garden with Jesus. At other times the Gethsemane setting has evoked a desire to do better than the disciples – I won’t fall asleep! I will watch, pray, be strong. But this week, something different opened up to me – an invitation to join Jesus in the place of grief – that my grief and sorrow were welcome there – that his sorrow made space for my sorrow – that I could be honest with it there, that I was in good company.

The poem, in free verse form, tries to hold the tension between longing for a resolution (the end of the long night watch with the coming of the sun) and staying put in the messiness of life (finding solace within the night itself). If you also have a long night watch element to your journey, I pray you might find some solace here with Jesus too.

Listen to an acoustic arrangement of the Taize chant Keep Watch With Me

6 thoughts on “Lent Week 4 – Watch

  1. Laurel and Karen out of your own lived experience, you offer profound connections to Jesus for all who wait and hope. Bless you both.

  2. I sink into these lines:

    “Then, a whispered invitation,
    a shared cloak of compassion –”

    Again, love the finished work and the description of your porcesses.

    1. Violet, I appreciate your comment. I really enjoyed this collaboration with Laurel.

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