What do the Monkees and Holland Haven have in common?

Recently, I have been struggling to pray.

I know I am a minister.  I know such things should be the bread and butter of my trade.  Nonetheless, prayer has been a struggle.

Maybe, you have experienced times like this too? 

God seems distant, a long way off.  You feel as though you have been trying to pray through a fog. Your words feel empty, as they bounce off the ceiling.

I shared what I was experiencing with a Spiritual Director. 

She suggested I try a type of reading called Lectio Divina. To help, she guided me to a story, found in Luke 24, of the Emmaus Road.  You may know it.  The story is about how two disciples encounter the risen Jesus, yet they did not recognise him until much later on.

So, over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading and re-reading the passage.

I have looked at art work.

I have looked at children’s cartoon versions.

I have allowed my imagination to picture the scene. I tried to imagine what those disciples had seen and felt. I even imagined myself as one of them.

This morning I had a great meeting and felt really chipper.

I decided, between tasks, to take the dog for a walk.

I drove over to Holland Haven to really blow the cobwebs away. As I drove, the Monkees were on the radio playing “Last Train to Clarksville”.  I just had to join in!

Picture the scene, dear reader, me behind the wheel of my car, wrapped up like a polar explorer, belting out at the top of my voice.

Take the last train to Clarksville
And I’ll meet you at the station
You can be here by four thirty
‘Cause I’ve made your reservation

Don’t be slow
Oh, no, no, no
Oh, no, no, no

Perhaps it was the song.

Maybe it was the walk.

Maybe it was the amazing colours of the sky (I was battling a boisterous Collie when I snapped it).

My mind went back to that familiar story of two dejected disciples trudging along the road towards Emmaus, and I found I was praying…..

God of the way and of the journey We don’t know how long our journey will be All we can ask is that we know you are near

God of the way and of the journey We don’t know whether our path be rough or smooth All we can ask is that we can lean on you

God of the way and of the journey We don’t know if we will travel by day or night All we can ask is that you will light our path

God of the way and of the journey Wherever we are called to travel May our travelling bring us nearer to you

As I prayed, therein lay peace…..

14 thoughts on “What do the Monkees and Holland Haven have in common?

  1. Thank you Sean for this heartfelt and beautiful writing. The God of the way and the journey is with you. He sees you, He knows you, He cares for you, He loves you and He intervenes to carry you, to guide you and to restore you.

  2. Thank you Sean, I found that helpful. (I still don’t know what The Monkees and Holland Haven have in common – but I must dig out my copy of Last Train to Clarksville 🙂)

  3. Thank you for sharing. Sure it will comfort any of us having a difficult time to know that feeling spiritually barren isn’t so uncommon and that it can be revived back to spiritual richness once more.

  4. The Emma’s journey is a very poignant context for your
    car journey and walk in God’s garden. Prayer is to be found in our musing, silence, our thinking and frustrating tussles. Sometimes it is wordless!

  5. Thank you Sean for putting into words the very things that I am sure we are all struggling with. It is such a blessing when, after a period of feeling that our prayers are inadequate, to suddenly experience that lightbulb moment and spiritual awareness that God is surrounding us and is walking with us on our journey.

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