Saturday, November 22, 2014

Healing

Not broken or
declared defective,
or thrown on the trash pile;

not even repaired,
or replaced, or refurbished,
or recalled;

but healed is what
God has declared
we will become.

Healing with beautiful scars
and glorious stretch marks
to remind everyone,
ourselves included,

that the cuts and bruises,
cracks and crumblings
are not so much evidence
of our mistakes and failures,
as necessary entry points
and exit ports for Grace.

They are stained glass slivers
through which light
is able to shine and refract
into all the people and places
the sun has yet to reach.



© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whole Life


It doesn't mean there are no broken pieces;
won’t guarantee that you’ll be put together
like you were, or like you dreamed,
or like somebody else told you that you should be.

It’s not a pristine book with gilded pages
un-smudged as the day it rolled off the press.
It’s not a policy that guarantees protection from harm,
or even reimbursement for the inevitability of death.

It has been fully lived, including the good, bad, and ugly;
dead ends, re-routings, pain, suffering, and grief.
Cracks abound, with no attempt to disguise them;
savored, instead, in humility and gratitude
because they have created you,
both in the breaking and in the re-forming.

To jettison or judge is to discard essential parts
of who you are, to plea-bargain for a knock-off.
The world needs all of you, past and present,
in order to move toward the abundant life
that Grace is preparing for our future.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mirror

Friends are familiarity
breeding anything but contempt.
They alert us to the comfort
that therapy's mirror
need not reflect a solo portrait.

The very best of them
can be found beside us;
their body language
and facial expressions
often mimicking our own;

this camaraderie is often
the path from pity to party,
lament to laughter.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tangible

Grace becomes a tangible reality, 
and a true driver 
in the universe's market, 
when we begin to realize 

that the only thing our lives
should be compared against 
is God's freely offered 
and overflowing love. 

In this measuring cup, 
no one and no thing
are a threat to living joyfully; 

peace becomes a byproduct 
of breathing; and others 
become our sisters and brothers. 
Photo by DeEtta H. Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Change

She sidles up as if
she were an old friend, 
but we know better; 

know that through her wiles 
old friends will die. 
Not necessarily people, 

mind you, but customs, 
places, and so much 
comfort from familiarity. 

If it were not for the loss, 
and the twisting grief 
that losing causes - 

grief that surprises us 
by its cunning deception - 
we might could stomach 
her forward summons. 

Where can we find an anchor 
that holds but will not drown; 
a tether that secures 
but will not entangle? 

Lord, have mercy! 
Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Outside the Walls

My sense is that the institutional church's current conflict and paralysis are largely a result of fear/grief from mainline Protestant religion's perceived decline in influence. As our global culture gives more credence to a plethora of competing claims, honest inquiry asks deeper questions, and we’re not all prepared for that kind of digging.

Instead of settling for dogma, belief, and adherence, people want to see and participate in a living of the gospel that is in-the-flesh.  This incarnational living creates an overwhelming desire to experience God at work outside congregational walls, where worship, by itself, isn't sufficient. 

In such a position (which is really the same old intersection of cross and humanity), the church's task is to thoroughly grieve these losses of influence (imagined or real), and begin to move forward toward the practice of a more genuine gospel that is less beholden to the encumbrances of, not only sanctuary, but also privilege and exclusivity; a gospel that is more focused on the unleashing of divine justice and mercy that are both individual and institutional.
 
Photo by Holly Jenkins Williams

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

E Pluribus Unum

"Out of many, one."
We're from the government
and we're here to help;

from the presbytery, the church,
the neighborhood, the community.
We're all in this together.

Help; when you want it;
when you need it;
when you'll accept it;
even when you won't.

One beggar telling another beggar
where to find bread.

If we don't find ways
to keep ourselves in this together,
we'll find ourselves out of it, apart.
E Pluribus Unum.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins