Those Who Sleep in Tents

How fitting, O Lord, that we who were born into journey and exile should sometimes venture from our homes and beds, pitching tents and making camp in wild places.

How fitting to be reminded of our state as pilgrims whose transient homes of brick and wood and stone, in the light of those eternal dwellings for which we long, are no more substantial than the wind-rippled canvas of these tents in which we pass the night.

Restore us to our truer, wilder stories, O God. In this wilderness, may our hearts be shed of the insulting layers of daily routines, of the duties and comforts that distract and lull us, of the numbing surplus of our possessions.

Here let us feel more vulnerable and in awe, silhouetted against the backdrop of your beauty and holiness, small beneath towering trees and wide skies, small but known.

Restore us to our truer, wilder stories, O God. May we find grace in the wilderness. May we find grace in the heart of the wood, in the space of the fields, in the rising of rocks, in the rushing of streams, in the painterly dabs of wildflowers, in the windswept bending of wild grasses.

Here stir our hearts to remember that grace is ever a wild thing that laws and progress cannot tame. May we chase your manifold mercies over ragged hills, pursue your song through the sparse and layered lyric of sculpted deserts, marvel at your mystery fixed in the wheeling designs of stars overhead. May we hear it in coos and calls of owls and small creatures that fidget in the night, trace it in the leaping dance of campfire flames, and sense it in the sweet incense of pine and leafmeal.

Restore us to our truer, wilder stories, O God. In this place may we breathe your quickening breath, sleeping in tents tonight, awash in this glorious ache, sojourners stirred afresh by distant rumors of the return of their king. May we wake at the soft pulse of dawn to find in the wild and whispering winds of your Spirit, our pilgrim hearts ringing like chimes.

Fill these wilds, O Lord, that in your presence, we might be present.

Douglass Kaine McKelvey // Every Moment Holy

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