Monday, October 27, 2014

Platitudinal

They're only platitudes
when our speaking
of them far exceeds
our living of them;

when what we say
is incongruent
with what we live;

when the verbal art
we paint is light years
beyond the canvas
of our ways;

when our talk and walk
are a bait and switch;
when we voice grace
but breathe fear.


© 2014 Todd Jenkins


Friday, October 24, 2014

ChurchNow

I’ve been praying and thinking a lot lately about the intersection of church and culture. I feel as if there has been some major road construction underway, but the church seems to have either ignored or disbelieved the rerouting signs. Here’s one example:

Pastors spend about twenty hours a week preparing their sermons, and another 3-4 hours preparing to lead the other parts of worship, yet the Sunday morning worship hour is becoming less and less the touchpoint for connection to church and faith. We have to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the work of church happens on Sunday and takes place inside the walls of the building. If the church is going to be a beacon of the gospel that Jesus, as God in the flesh, revealed, we have to understand the schedule correctly.

We are not on an NFL schedule, where all week is practice for Sunday's performance. Sunday is the practice, and every day of the week is the real deal. We are not quarterbacks, who learn how to call and execute a series of plays. It isn't a game, or even a competition at all.

It is a dance, and the music, which we must be open to hear, is Love, and this Love is beholden neither to a particular tune and beat, nor to a select set of instruments. The steps we must learn to take cannot be  memorized. They morph, moment by moment, situation by situation. We must learn to feel them in our bones, and to trust that what we feel is enough. It won't always be right, but it's not about correctness and certitude. It's about relationships and community. The dance, which is only learned step by step, as we go along, is Grace.

Stumble on, sisters and brothers. The world is dying to step with us.



© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Questions

As our bodies, minds, and spirits
settle for worship, may we breathe
deeply of your promises,
purposefully discarding the hurried,
shallow pace of the culture and economy
with which we are surrounded.

May we find ways, through worship
and beyond, to be fed more
than empty-caloried fast food.

May we refuse to simply sit around
and wait for white bread answers,
and be challenged, instead,
to earnestly search for whole wheat questions;
through Jesus Christ, our guide. Amen.
 
Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leap of Faith

“Leap” is often a stretch, not in
a lunging toward the sky kind of way,
but more like hyperbole.

It’s not usually about peeling rubber
into the darkness like a drag racer,
but more about taking one step
at a time beyond visibility;

looking back to see
if God’s presence can be discerned;
and listening forward
toward the darkness, seeking
to discern God’s whisper.
Photo of Dark Island by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blessing of the Backpacks


[L] We are a people of full pantries, O God; most often lamenting the absence of our favorite foods, rather than the absence of nourishment altogether.

[P] We have extremely secure food pantries!

[L] But when we look around our own town, we see pockets of food insecurity.

[P] We see children who come to school with empty stomachs.

[L] You, O God, have put it in our hearts to respond to this hunger in tangible ways.

[P] Bless this food from our Backpack program that has been piled upon the Communion table.

[L] May it nourish not only the stomachs of those it reaches, but also their hearts and minds.

[P] May it represent the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation to everyone who eats and drinks.


[All] So let it be spoken. So let it be delivered. So let it be done.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Breaking

Photo by Jennie R. Jenkins

When the hermetic seal gives way,
when the paint begins to wear,
when the corners chip away,

when the fissure runs all the way
through and straight down the middle,
and even when the pieces crumble
so small that a team of forensic scientists
couldn't possibly reassemble your life,

I want you to know that God is with you –
has been with you all along –
and not the angry, "Tsk, tsk, tsk!"
God of your fearful imaginings,

but the Holding, Weeping, Tender
God of Grace whose grip is both
so gentle and expansive that
all of your fragments are held under
the delicate flow of Love's fountain,

so that you can be watered and nourished
into a resilient flower of Hope,
reflecting divine Mercy for all the rest
of us cracked souls to see.


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Stone

Sabbath is, first and foremost,
the creation of time, space,
and reflection for the purpose
of removing ourselves from

and repenting of all the thoughts,
words, actions, and systems
that have supplanted
our awestruck posture in the presence
of the great mystery of God.

Wilderness is the ideal setting
for such practices, with its
utter absence of comforts and controls.
Sanctuary will suffice,
if the desert is unreachable.

No stone is exempt
from examination and turning.
No institution gets a bye.

Political, social, cultural,
economic, familial, and even
religious systems must be
held up to the candle of Love
to see if their thread is both
sufficiently strong and flexible.

Systems that make it back
from this weekly sojourn,
tempered and reshaped
by faith’s heat and hammer,
are allowed to direct us
for another week.
 
Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins