Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Eve

Call to Worship

 [males] For better or worse, the time is nearly past for preparation.  Christmas morning is only hours away.

[females] But we have made this last appointment, setting aside our concern for all on our social calendar and shopping list that we did not accomplish, choosing instead to gather for worship on the eve of the celebration of Christ’s birth.

[males] Let us accept the prelude’s musical invitation to slowly and deeply inhale God’s promised peace, and to firmly and completely exhale the stress that holiday busyness has accumulated in our bodies, minds, and spirits.

[females] Let us relive the Advent journey of candle lighting; refreshing ourselves with holy anticipation, sacred preparation, and birthing joy.

[all] Let us open ourselves to the arrival of the manger-born messiah!

Prayer of Confession:
We confess, O God, that Christmas, as we’ve planned and worked it so far, has worn us out. The glitz, the gatherings, the buying, and the fixing have ground us down. Forgive the degree to which we have allowed ourselves to get sucked into commercialism; forgive the ways that the genuine spirit of Christmas have been sucked out of us.


By the resurrecting power of your Holy Spirit, renew our hope in your promise; give us eyes, ears, and hearts to ponder the gift of Emmanuel—God with us—beginning tonight, and every day of our lives. Give us the wisdom, compassion, and focus to recognize your coming in each face along the journey; through the grace of the Bethlehem babe who became Messiah. Amen.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

............................................Tender Care...................................

Sitting in the presence
of another's pain and grief,
stripped clean and hard
of all but your unadorned self,
is a physically exhausting undertaking.

In such a state
of weakness and despair,
it's not hard to recognize
another presence there;

the gentle strength of Love
that holds us all with tender care,
and breathes hope
into lungs scorched and sooted
by a fire named Fear.



© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 15, 2014

Path


The paths we trod and daily beat,
though we are convinced
are constructed with our own
good efforts to reach God,

may well turn out to be
the clearing of the vines
and brambles that separate us

from the selves we've settled for
and the ones we've spent
our lives convincing others
are the real us.

It just might be that,
once we journey
through the wilderness
to our honest selves,

we will find that God
has been there all along,
patiently waiting for us
to show up to the life
for which we were created.

Wouldn't that be
a joyful homecoming?


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spiritual DNA

The math of inhumanity to humanity
is zero sum in the worst sense,
though nothing about it resembles a game
where anything remotely near winning
can take place, unless you've convinced yourself

that there is a measuring stick for life
and your ranking is clearly superior
to the lives you're devaluing and destroying,
which is pretty much the same
as declaring yourself to be God.

In this case, even our animal instincts
are betrayed, as community is jilted
for the shrinking self of individual,
and nothing of our spiritual DNA
is allowed to grow and bloom.

Holly J. Williams reading one of her "Peanut" books to students at Ralph Askins


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rebel Tears

These rebel tears you've cried,
I say, tell me of the depths
from which they flow.

Tell me of the salt they left
upon your cheeks of rose.

Tell me of the stories
that flashed across
your heart's big screen;

and how you, at once wished
to do them all over again,
yet knew that this would rewrite
too much of who you are.

Tell me how you simply came
to know that grace applied
from wells deeper than your own

would change your world
in far more valuable ways
than a lifetime full
of re-attempts at perfection.

Tell me this and more.
I've heard it whispered
from places deeper than
I knew I had, but long
to hear its joyous regale

from the cracks and creeks
of other hearts, because
I know its gift is far
too great a pearl to hide.
 
Decatur, GA 1966

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dividend

What do you do
when complementary
is not at all complimentary;

when the conversation
reveals diversified opinion,
and the rift threatens
to become a continental divide?

What is the common core
that can hold us together;
the knot that can
keep us from unraveling?

Hope placed in anything less
than the self of God,
faith raised in anything but
divine mystery's recipe,
cannot withstand life's storms.

A willingness to recognize
our own personal shortcomings;
an openness to learn the stories
of those who feel mostly "other";

these are the threads
that weave us together
into the drama that will
one day become a narrative
of unconditional love.



© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hue


All creation is woven together
into a work of art so complex
and so beautiful that,

if we are awake and
attuned to the moment,
surprises us and takes
our breath away
at each intersection,
every day of our lives.

How then, in this
glorious interconnectedness,
can we dare to believe
that we were put here

to isolate and elevate ourselves
based on privileged elements
of our circumstances,
most of which are constructed
by the accident of our birth?

It is as if a single hue
in a vast masterpiece
has declared itself superior
to all others because
it sees itself, reflected in the mirror,
as the painting's focal point.


© 2014 Todd Jenkins