Keith Wishum: Sweet Hour of Porch
Published 2:15 pm Saturday, August 18, 2018
I have never written a hymn. For that, church-goers the world over are grateful.
But, I’m thinking of starting. I’ll borrow a tune and most of the title from “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” I want to change it ever so slightly to “Sweet Hour of Porch.”
Life tends to get stuck on fast-forward — too much to do, too little time to feel as the days fly by. But one day a while back, I spent a sweet hour on the porch. Oh, I felt guilty, and I was glad nobody came by to see, but it was glorious!
The morning was just crisp enough to be invigorating without chilling my bare feet. Mourning doves cooed, mockingbirds sang, and somewhere in the vacant lot out back, even a rooster crowed. Fresh pecan leaves danced in the breeze against a brilliant blue sky, and I copied our cat and stretched out lazily on the swing. Sweet hour of porch — why had it been so long since I took one?
I’ve noticed that, even though most of the houses in the historic district have luxurious front porches, few seem to get much use. Instead, people zoom up and down Lee Street, admiring the old styling and perhaps thinking nostalgically about bygone days of lemonade and lazy front porch conversations. Yet, few seem to take that sweet hour of porch.
I wonder why. Maybe we’ve concluded that it’s a waste of time, that only a lazy person (like a preacher) would idle away an hour on the porch. But, you know, Jesus did. Well, OK, maybe not on a front porch, but he did advocate taking some time to do nothing but rest and regroup.
To his distracted disciples, he urged, “’Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31). They needed a sweet hour of porch and Jesus prescribed it for them.
It makes sense to me. My hour of porch produced some prayer. It gave me time to ponder Scripture. It re-opened my eyes to how beautiful God’s world is when you stop to notice. It allowed my thoughts to linger on what is really important in life.
Sweet Hour of Porch. The hymn may never catch on, but maybe the practice will. I think we would all be better off for it.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.