Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Passion

Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”


Passion

Purple tells the story straight-up,
blending the crimson of our life’s blood
with the blue of oxygen depletion;
a life spent, completely used.

Somewhere in the night
a heart beats for love,
not control or selfishness,
but for voluntary self-emptying;

heart that has been lanced
by human ignorance, bruised
by vested interest’s shield, shaken
by indifference’s arrhythmia.

Words have run their course,
reached the limit of their effect;
silence is broken only by
the escalating pound of percussion.

Sleep comes to the ignorant
who perceive they are innocent;
anguish washes the garden
in its agitating pallor.

Power and politics close in,
control and religion close behind;
love’s dangerous offer of vulnerability
once again proves too risky.

The donkey-propelled grand marshal
of Sunday’s palm parade has now become
the prize catch of Jerusalem’s finest,
in every sense of the word.

The life that will be taken is freely offered,
not to appease an angry deity,
but to demonstrate love’s deep recesses,
and rescue us to the path to deliverance.


© 2004 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Maundy Thursday

This is a night of somber remembrance,
when Israel's exodus Passover in Egypt is recalled.

Let us dare to expose ourselves
to the hopelessness of Egyptian slavery,
and the possibility of exodus deliverance.

The Passover sacrifice was costly
not only to the lamb,
but also to its owners.

Let us consider the cost of Passover,
and dare to risk our own costly sacrifice.

Let us worship the God of

risk, possibility, hope, and deliverance.

Truth of Enough

Our blessings are legion,
O Lord, but that doesn't mean
that demons aren't
swirling in our lives,
attempting to possess us.

We find ourselves surrounded
by Consumption and Greed,
by Comparison and Indifference,
by Judgment and Fear.

Cast out all of these
who would influence us
to want more and love less,
 to hoard more and give less.

Show us the lie
of Scarcity that we
may live the truth
of your Abundance.

Into the places where Hurt
and Anxiety have crept,
pour in your Grace
that it may seep
all the way to the marrow
of our souls, and we
may find the truth of Enough.



© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Monday, March 30, 2015

Genuine Article

If the gospel is for sale,
don't waste your money.

If the advertised product
is future passage to paradise,
but what you get now

is rules that, by following,
prove to yourself, and others
on this limited edition cruise,

that you've won, and others,
who didn't board your ship,
are merely Noah's discards,
don't bother packing your bags.

If what you come away with
is a rich blend of piety and pride,
with condemnation for anyone else
whose ship sailed from another port,

yours is not a journey
toward divine reunion, but
a self-induced competition
that misses creation's purpose.

If the gift you've received
isn't flooding every field
by which your life's river flows,

you don't really have grace at all,
but merely a cheap facsimile,
hastily concocted by Ego and Fear.

Love, set wild and free
into our ordinary lives,
is the universe's genuine article,

transforming all within her grasp
into exuberant chalices of hope
overflowing to quench
every parched soul.



© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Now

You don't have to plumb the theological depths of scripture to see what God is calling us to be. Just trace the narrative of the Word made flesh and identify his guiding light.

Where is it showing you to go? With whom is it calling you to hang out? How is it instructing you to interact? What is it begging you to share?

Is your life a reflection of his gifts, or of something else; something smaller and lesser, something more manageable? The good news is that, however poorly you have mirrored them so far, the blessings of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love are extended toward you as well; and today is the second-best day to more fully live them in your own flesh and breath.


© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Friday, March 27, 2015

Only Words


You think that I don't even mean
A single word I say
It's only words, and words are all I have
To take your heart away
(from “Words” by the Bee Gees; 1967)

Whoever said, "Words are cheap." was at least partly right. Sometimes, words really are cheap, but not always. Words can be the foundation –  the inspiration – for actions. They can confirm a commitment that is costly, even to the point of death. In this sense, words are not cheap.

But when they lead to nothing, or when they're incongruent with our actions, words are pretty much worthless. This means that we have a choice about the value of our words. Let them be integrated with your living, and your words will be priceless, both to you and to others.


Don Miguel Ruiz’s first rule, in The Four Agreements
Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.


© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter Up

We add the word “up” to a number of verbs and even a few nouns to make new phrases (pony, listen, step, follow, pass, pay, belly, show, change, catch…). I’m not an English teacher, but I believe that all of these phrases are used as verbs. We are most familiar with the word “Easter” as a noun, but I believe its greatest power lies in our understanding of it as a verb.

More than 10 years ago, most likely during a time of sermon preparation about this time of year, I “heard” (a hearing of the heart, not the ear) a voice use this phrase. "Easter up" she said, as if it was really quite simple – not much different from "cowboy up”. Just put on your spurs, boots, and hat, and settle in the saddle for a long comfortable trail ride.

"I’ve tried eastering-up before, and the ride is seldom comfortable and always frightening," I said. So began another chapter in the willy-nilly book of my life’s journey toward spiritual discipline, and a deeper understanding of the paschal mystery.

"Easter up" she said. “The world we live in is seldom easter-friendly. It knows more about grit than grace, more of proof than faith, all about actuarials instead of resurrection. Easter does not add up in most accounting systems.” Here is the rest of what she told me:

The Spirit calls us to Esther up—to step up and speak up for those whose voice has been stolen by circumstance of time and place, by willful oppression, or by happenstance of disaster; but it is more convenient to Enron out by bailing and blaming someone else, and pocketing the profit of our social and relational insider trading. God’s voice beckons us to Abraham up—to pack lightly and strike out for outrageous promises and dangerous places yet unknown; but it is more comfortable to Jonah out by hunkering down into the safety of our known captivity, or heading in the opposite direction from possibility.

Faith calls us to Moses up—to curl our toes into the holy humus, speak to the fire, and return to the land of our indiscretions in order to struggle for the kingdom buried within; but it is much safer to Herod out by giving in to the voices of paranoia and fear, using our power and control to isolate us even from those who would love us.


The gospel calls us to Easter up—to dare to run to the tomb in hope that it just might be empty, to open the fear-locked door on the outside chance that an unimaginable gift of holy proportions could arrive, to open our eyes to the stranger walking beside us and invite her in to break bread because hospitality could open us to communion with the saints. There are a million reasons not to; countless ways we can find to get "out" instead of "up." But that inner voice in the silence continues to whisper the resurrection invitation: "Easter up."

 © 2015 Todd Jenkins