Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cliff Hanging



From cliffs of our own choosing,
from cliffs that sneak-up on us,
from cliffs that we approach
pedantically with eyes wide shut,
please deliver us, good Lord!

Deliver us with common sense
that vanishes as cliffs appear.
Deliver us with wisdom
hiding in the face of fear.
Deliver us vision to see
beyond smoke and mirrors.

Show us how to fill the chasm
with castaway angst and greed,
to marshal discipline and courage
and rein the frothing steed.

Fill us with confidence, not in
our own plan, but your purposes;
with trust not in our provision,
but in your holy providence.

Show us the facade of self-protection,
the depth and riches of your glories,
the grand design of connection
through our universal stories.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 24, 2012

What Child?


What child is this,
whose manger lies
beneath the dark
cold Bethl’em skies?

Child of wonder,
child of woe,
child whose heart
will not let go

of pain and suf’ring,
war and strife,
of that which burdens
all of life.

Child whose heart
breaks hard and true
for that which God
desires to do:

bring light to darkness,
salve to pain;
bring hope to those
who know but bane.

Child whose simple
gifts unfold
grace’s promise
ancient told:

“Who you are
and whom you’ll be,
designed at
dawned eternity;

live into hope,
love into being,
and Christmas’ gift
you will be seeing!”

Join angel’s, shepherd’s,
Magi’s voice;
for Emmanuel’s tent,
and pitching rejoice.

May Christmas’ joy
in your life abound;
may you live its gift
the whole year ‘round!


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Friday, December 21, 2012

Three Elephants



Guns don't kill people,
but people with untreated and
stigmatized mental illness in a
society that glorifies violence and infamy
who have easy access to powerful weapons will,
too often, use guns to kill many other people
in their final act of fear and frustration.

That puts three elephants in the room:
(1) mental illness stigmatized and swept under the rug;
(2) virtual and actual violence as the answer for everything;
(3) rarely-questioned levels of public access to weapons
designed specifically to extinguish multiple lives in an instant - though the NRA has long held a Hogwarts-worthy
Invisibility Cloak over this third beast.

Any one of these three will crush
our culture if we continue to ignore it.
All three of them have clearly demonstrated
societal rogue-tendencies over and over.
Where is the pachyderm-whisperer
who can subdue these beasts so that
meaningful conversation and reform can begin?

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Invitation




A prophet does not visit the future
and return to the present
to predict what will happen.

She rests near the heart of God,
returning with images too deep
for words, and tries, anyway, to paint

a linguistic picture of divine desire,
inviting the world to acquiesce,
if not ascend to hope's promise.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stranded




Take this week’s strains
of our cold and broken hallelujahs
and braid them into a cord that is
both soft enough and strong enough
to support all of creation.

Pull this world back from its dangerous swing –
not over the imaginary fiscal cliff that has turned
national leaders into party puppets
behaving like petty junior-high kids –
but the precarious swing of lost innocence
over the chasm of unimaginable violence
in China, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Oregon, and Connecticut,
just to name a few headline-grabbers,
not even mentioning the senseless deaths
that occur daily around the world.

Help us step back from all that we have tightly squeezed
as sacred and true and ask the Immanuel questions:
“What does it mean to live, not as if
we’ve got it all figured out, under control,
and are fully operating according to God’s plan,
but rather to live as those whose faith
mortars the vast expanse between
tiny bricks of understanding?”
“What does it mean to live
‘Immanuel’ – God with us?”

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Peace





Friday, December 14, 2012

Shattered


Violation shatters all pretense
of order and ordinary, shocking us
into anger that boils the heart;
an abomination beyond
a kid in its mother’s milk (EX 23:19).

Let our rage burn not just your ears,
O God, but also your sense of justice!
Vengeance, the only item on our menu;
hatred, the weed overwhelming our garden.

Give us courage to trust your providence,
tenderness to recognize your presence in the dark,
wisdom to acquiesce to your retribution.

Grant us the redemption of your healing,
the hope of your promised restoration,

the grace of our own resurrection now!


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Presence


It’s the gift you’ve hoped for,
even if you’re clueless regarding
its absence or how to find it.
If you make it through the holidays

in one piece, or at least in few enough
pieces to fit in one basket,
and you’re still wondering whether you
“did” Christmas “right” again

or for the first time this year,
I’ve got a revelation for you –
a gift, if you will.
It’s really all about God,

about God’s gift, about you and I
learning that the true meaning of life,
year-round and life-long,
can be found in surrendering

our worth-by-work, our value-by-morality,
and our reduction-of-anxiety-by-control
to God’s acceptance-before-and-in-spite-of-labor,
God’s love-no-matter-the-behavior, God’s peace-by-release.

Yeah, it’s all about stepping back
from “That’s how we roll!” and
recognizing both God’s eminent presence
as well as God’s imminent arrival.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rage


Prayers for your children, O God!
You know exactly what it’s like to have
the life of someone you love threatened.

When we’re the ones feeling the cold chill
of cancer’s senseless insistence,
putting death on speed-dial
as if it doesn’t matter to anyone,
we must rage in your presence.

We must cry out in
anger, disbelief, and fear.
We must beg for healing, wholeness,
and courage for the journey
that lies before us.

Give us the courage to do it
honestly with you because you are
the one whose love for us is so pure
and unconditional, and our honesty
intensifies our comprehension of your love;

because not being honest with you
may cause us to unleash that rage
on someone else we love,
and hurting another person we love
is exactly what we DON’T need right now.

Hold us – hold these dear ones –
in your strong but tender hand, O God,
and let them feel the comfort of your promise
as these storm clouds try
to frighten them out of your presence. Amen.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holy Holiday


When we lament the distancing
of “Christ” from “Christmas”
we might want to rethink how that works.

Beyond respectful bowing to a plurality
that prays and worships differently,
and the way that unilateral freedom for some
inevitably suffocates freedom for all,

the separation of nativity from the
nauseating consumption frenzy
into which our culture's December descends
might be seen as a theological statement,
but only if we actually declare –

with our actions more than our words –
that the gift of Incarnation/Immanuel elicits
nothing more and nothing less
than spontaneous joy and generosity.

So, why don’t we focus less on
shoehorning “Christ” into everything,
and more on living as if his arrival transforms us?


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advent Surprise


God of shepherds, star and angel voices,
we confess that we haven’t given much thought
to the impossible. 
We are too busy living the
planned and the predictable.
 In our families, our vocations
and our social circles, we have
everything possible scheduled,
and there is little time or energy left
for anything else. 
We pray that you will find a way
to reach us in spite of our busyness—
that you’ll forgive our shortsightedness
and our unimaginativeness. 
In your abundant mercy,
surprise us again this year with
the gift of Immanuel—God with us.  Amen.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pregnant Advent


It’s too early to start a new year.

But the holy calendar
bids us turn a new leaf.

We wanted to finish the year
with a flourish, doing Christmas  up “right”.

The prophet’s call is to prepare anew-
to patiently wait until it is “the right time.”

Can we at least plan-
can we have a Cesarean Christmas?

We can only make preparations.
It is up to the Spirit to induce delivery.

Let us immerse ourselves in worship
that exposes us to spiritual nesting!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent's Call


As the sun's angle stretches and the winter chill deepens, 
we slide into darkness, and depression often hovers near.

Harvest has come and gone, and springtime's possibility
 seems a dream too distant for reasonable investment.

But we are operating on a calendar that defies logic; 
one that senses hope from a deeper place.

Let us trust the fire of your promise, O God; 
let us dare to dream the birth of your holy advent.

We will watch and prepare our hearts and our world 
for your nascent arrival, O God. 
We will celebrate your great adventure!



© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent Confession



We confess, O Bethlehem babe,
that we are not only impatient for
your arrival, we are also not much interested
in having you grow up and speak
your prophetic deliverance to us,
because our ego and entitlement convince us
that we have done a pretty good job
of delivering ourselves.

In the quiet moments between our holiday busyness,
give us insight to recognize your holy day presence,
and the courage to follow you far beyond
the manger, to all the people and places where
we are both called to and capable of
fertilizing and watering your grace
with every fiber of our beings.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving


The compound word has been co-opted,
not just by our national holiday,
but also by the commercialized pressure cooker
of the year-end retail bonanza;

Black Fridayed into a buying frenzy,
oblivious to the antithetical nature
of the whole holy day season,
tempted to equate overindulgence with blessing.

Then, the two words fall apart,
sometimes shattered by pain and loss,
other times by grace’s gag reflex,
momentarily glimpsing us the road ahead

like lightning flashes on a starless, dirt road night;
and we feel the connection between giving and thanks
viscerally, nourished by this relationship in ways
that finally satisfy hunger of the soul’s depth.

Thanksgiving is a gift, not for self or hoarding,
but for connecting our own threads
to the universe’s rich tapestry, extending
far beyond our own fences and gates;

it is neither virtue nor option,
not a way to live, but the essence of life itself;
holy extension of love that breathed us into being;
omni-dimensional reflection of divine design.

May we find ourselves, O God, early, often, and
far beyond the fourth Thursday of November,
offering thanks and glad to give from
the abundance of your creation’s treasure.



© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 12, 2012

Spirit, Spirit!


Acts 1:3 After his suffering,
he presented himself to them
and gave many convincing proofs
that he was alive.
He appeared to them
over a period of forty days and
spoke about the kingdom of God.

Disciples’ reunion – forty days –
makes us pine for ways of old.
Convinced we are already bold,
hard to wrap heads ‘round God’s ways.

Spirit, Spirit, how you blow!
Give us tremors, wide-eyed wonder,
tongues of fire, claps of thunder,
overpowering all we know.

Breaking out we know not where,
not just language, signs, and power.
Off’ring more than worship’s hour;
people filled with love and care!

Every day a brand new start:
grace o’erflows, forgiveness pours,
like the oceans’ boundless shores.
Doors are opened: eye, ear, heart.

Once we sink connection’s root,
joy and purpose finally bloom,
open flow’r leaves Spirit room,
hunger’s depth finds holy fruit!



© 2012 Todd Jenkins