My soul like a sleeping swan

Today I was asking God what I should do to move onward today: having finished ministry school Friday, gradually working on writing my book, eagerly waiting for job(s) to come together, feeling stir-crazy and frustrated. I felt that He said, “Read some poetry.” I thought it was a good idea, but less “practical” than my mind preferred. Nevertheless, I got out a book of poetry. This particular book is Shelley’s Poems and is over one hundred years old. I flipped open to a couple sections and read. In my reading, I floated across this:

“Asia Answers” from Shelley’s “Hymn to Asia”

My soul is an enchanted boat,

Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float

Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;

And thine doth like an angel sit

Beside a helm conducting it,

Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.

It seems to float ever, forever,

Upon that many-winding river,

Between mountains, woods, abysses,

A paradise of wildernesses!

Till, like one in slumber bound,

Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,

Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound.

And so, in my restlessness, I find the mental image of a sleeping swan: the promise of rest for those who dare to believe it is possible to rest while travelling down the river into the great ocean of destiny.  God has lived in Rest since creation, and through Jesus we are invited into it – not merely one day a week, but ongoing rest – the peace that passes understanding sort of rest. Ahhhhh… time to curl up our swan necks and tuck our heads into soft feathers, to travel while at rest. Sweet Jesus, making all things possible as usual.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it . . .

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrew 4:1 & 4:16)

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