On my first sabbatical (way back in 2007) I had sometime to reflect on what it is that I do as a pastor. It was a great period of remembering what was truly important and that also while I was busy “doing things” that God was “doing things” in me. We often lose sight of the inner work that needs to happen when we get preoccupied with what is happening on the outside. I came across the poem again this week in my files and decided to share it here. I’m under no illusion that it is great poetry, but I do know it puts into words what I was learning then and am still learning today.

My church is right behind my house

June 11, 2007

This poem was inspired by the realization (on sabbatical) that my church is much like my backyard.  Not matter how much effort I apply it seems that my overgrown backyard always has something more for me to do.  Sometimes taking your breath away is fatal.  And maybe that’s a good thing.

My church is right behind my house

I call it my back yard

A place where I can just relax

While I’m working hard


Things of beauty call me there

They take my breath away

Yet what delights my eye may be

The death of me someday


For every weed I pull it seems

That two or three take root

At times serenely walking 

I’ll smell poop upon my boot


I tell the plants of higher things

Of loving God and neighbor

I sing to them of peace and joy

They call me to hard labor


Oh there’s potential – All can see

What someday it could be

This garden who has crucified

One more divine than me


So why is it I go there?

Why can’t I stay away?

Not really sure, so I blame God

Who wired my DNA


Or maybe there’s a deeper plan

If I have eyes to see

Maybe while I’m tending them

He’s cultivating me.


My church is right behind my house

I call it my back yard

A place where I can just relax…

While I’m working hard

Jeff KuhnComment