Friday, August 31, 2012

Economic Control


Our country isn’t run,
controlled by political system,
but economic one.

Consumer-Capitalism,
as its name implies,
is about amassing,
using as much material
wealth as possible.

C-C reigns supreme.
If there is any doubt,
ask yourself why
wealth is the obsession
of those seeking election.

The system will sell short,
cut corners, constantly
shave new corners at every turn,
consuming, outmaneuvering

everything, everyone
in its way until there are
no more people to exploit,
or minerals/resources to rape.

No winner at the end
of this game, only survivors;
even those might wish
to have been among the lost

when they finally recognize the sad,
lonely state of people, planet,
relationships, resources.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, August 27, 2012

When I Call You Angel



When I call you Angel
it is not because I want
you to be perfect or good.

When I call you Angel
it is not to claim you’re not
who you think you are.

When I call you Angel
it is not a way to force you
to become someone else.

When I call you Angel
it is because I see in you
hope for the world to come.

When I call you Angel
I’m laying claim to the gift
your birth unfolded in me.

When I call you Angel
it’s because I often feel
wings flutter as you walk by.

When I call you Angel
I know you’ll one day discover
your own unique gift.

When I call you Angel
I feel your heart sometimes
as you watch over me.

When I call you Angel
it’s because no other name
can escape my lips.

When I call you Angel
it’s to remind you to keep searching
for your proclaiming voice.

© 2004 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yo, Isaac


Yeah, you – tropical storm
whose name threatens integrity
of all claiming shared identity
with Abraham’s second-born.

How dare you threaten
our sister Haiti and
her fragile children again!

Prey on someone else,
or better yet, no one else!
You force us to remember
your cousin Katrina and
the carnage of her rampage.

She begged us to come
face-to-face with
the disparity and despair
of our own have-not siblings,
and failure of an economic system
that thrives on the chasm
between elite and hoi polloi.

Though we believe ourselves to be
above bargaining with the likes of you,
the unpredictability of your path and power
reveal the déjà vu of our ignorance and angst.

Let us commit ourselves,
not to meteorology or economics;
instead to the long and uphill journey
of rebuilding neighbors, neighborhoods.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Family Feast


(A responsive call to Communion for a Presbytery, General Assembly, or other meeting of a faith’s governing body, because I always dreamed that grace could find and feed us more fully if the culmination of our debate and decision was Eucharist.)


We have gathered: sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, young, old, left, right– all part of the menagerie of this faith (the Presbyterian) family.

Anticipation and anxiety are high; we all feel an important stake in what is said and done in the family name.

Lord help us! We’ve dared to discuss religion and politics, and risked examining levels much deeper than social chit-chat; maybe even had a little theology rub off on us.

We have been called to step beyond the trappings of religious convention into the living tradition of faith.

A vote has been taken; the results have been tabulated and announced; winners and losers beg to be identified.

Before the concession speech can come or the victory dance can begin, bread’s aroma wafts in; the noise of wine’s intentional pour echoes through the hall.

The smell and sound remind us of our gracious host: the One who spoke us into being; One whose mercy, grace, forgiveness unite us in joy and service. 

One loaf, one cup, one body.

Blessed, broken, shared.

Struggling to live faithfully into the kingdom for which we are being prepared.

Grappling with our understanding of God that can so easily turn into a wrestling match with one another.

“Truth in order to goodness” collides with “mutual forbearance.”

“Reformed and always reforming” intersects with our cherished principles of interpretation.

Christ’s invitation will not allow us to split the table– to disown one another.

“We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that all unity may one day be restored.”

Let us approach the table via the throne of grace, with humility to temper our certitude, and confidence to shore-up our disappointment.

[all] Let us taste and see that the Lord is good, that we might find the wellspring of our common faith from which to joyfully and courageously go out in mutual service.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, August 23, 2012

As If


"I just want what's
best for me."
he says, firmly convinced
 he has a clue
what that would be.

"My life is NOT going
according to plan!"
her bumper sticker proclaims,
as if an earthly sojourn
tailored by her desires
would be heavenly.

Joy is the journey
of those who, from
sheer exhaustion and failure
or contemplative acquiescence
it matters not which,
daily invite holy otherness
to rearrange the cargo
of their dreams and plans.

Theirs is a ship
whose ports are celebrated,
whose manifesto is shape-shifted
by grace into daily manna
as if the universe is powered
by unconditional love.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

naked


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Politico


Dear Presidential Candidates,
I can't compete with
your biggest contributors;
won't even try.

So if you're really interested
in my money, support,
you'll need to un-person corporations,
shut down unfettered superPACs,
show me that you not only
understand middle-class people
but also have our best
interest in mind.

 Until then, save your
stamps, phone calls;
above all, unclutter the airwaves!


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tomorrow



Today wasn't it, apparently.
Letting go of yesterday,
praying ourselves toward the future.

Duct-taped dreams
float to surface,
 bailing-wired hopes
lean sunward.

Tornado-debris scattered puzzle
floating unhindered  because
our own construction failed.

Trusting that pieces will
care-fully be rebuilt
by one with deeper vision
into mosaic of functionality, beauty.

Transferring today's unanswered
hope to the place where possibility
still breathes: tomorrow.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preacher's Wednesday Prayer


Lord, it’s Wednesday again, and even
though the weight of last Sunday has
scarcely been lifted from us,
next Sunday is barreling down on us. 

Help us, as we address the mountainous
task of preparing for next Sunday’s worship
to have energy for and awareness of
all the valley-time in between. 

As we engage our parishioners in
the midst of their daily lives, may we
have passion and compassion that moves us
to lift them and their circumstances
into your very presence. 

For all those whose lives have been invaded
by chaos, we pray for courage– both theirs
and ours– to face the scattering darkness
with ultimate courage in the One
whose light makes darkness scatter. 

In the face of pressure to succumb
to lesser images, we seek an anchoring sense
of our connectedness to the wholeness
and holiness of your face. 

Through all the pedantic passing of
mesmerizing time that woos us into
comatose unawareness, give us a glimpse of
sacred ordinariness in each face and moment.

As Sunday’s shadow touches the horizon,
may we all– worshipers and preacher– 
be swept– body, mind, and spirit–
into our ordained place in your realm.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, August 13, 2012

Today


Neither past nor future
truly belongs to us; only today.
Yesterday was once ours,
but no matter what
we did or didn’t do,
what we remember,
to what we paid attention,
what we missed,
it is gone; we must let it go.

Tomorrow is a dream— possibility—
but not yet a reality;
something we can anticipate,
for which we can prepare,
but not a place we can be.

Greatest antidote to yesterday’s
regret, tomorrow’s worry:
total participation in today.

What will you do with your
one true possession, here and now,
while you are in the only place
that’s yours—the present?


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pediatric Wing Prayer



A prayer holds children, high but secure
in hands open and strengthened by practice
up in the sky, above where giraffes forage
to the place where it seems God’s vision rests.
The hands are silent, but their voice calls out
“See here!  See these children of your own making!
See their parents, siblings, friends, neighbors.”

At this altitude, air is thin and breathing measured;
trade-off for the solid security of sea-level;
but there are alternative forms of oxygenation:
rainbow breaths that infuse spirits, fuel imagination;
screens where dreams can replay over and over,
feeding on prayers, promises, power.

The silent voice of uplifted hands demands more than vision;
memory, too, and covenant are part of the plaintive call.
“This is not the ‘Do not be afraid.’ of your surprise intrusion;
it is the antithesis: the summons for you to boldly arrive into
the midst of the fear, anger, and confusion;
the plea from all who are aware, to sense your presence,
feel your comfort, especially here amidst the chaos.”

“Answers seem to be what we want,
but seldom what we receive.
Take what spills from our deep places:
rage, fright, disbelief, despair;
know that we direct it toward you because
you are the one who already knows–
one whose love for us cannot be diminished by it.

Give us what we need: strength for the hour’s tasks,
courage not to flinch in anguish’s face,
hope that darkness will not– cannot – overcome,
light to show at least the next step on the journey,
attentiveness to the joy of each moment,
peace that passes understanding,
new breath to fill us in these thin places.  Amen.”

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

expectations





















© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Redemption


When ignorance is allowed
to breed with fear unhindered,
feral generation of haters
is unleashed on the world:

proliferating non-native species,
few natural predators;
feeding on empty-caloried
distortions, deliberate deception.

Redemption’s gift:
bathed in wild-eyed faith,
rinsed in unadulterated hope,
scented with unconditional love.

In these three alone,
immersed in community,
lie universe’s dream,
grace's transformation.


© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Isaac's Song


Tune: Lafferty (“Seek Ye First”)

Life on the edge is always a risky bet
Moving from fear to need.
From Ur to Canaan, Sarah and Abe
Tried hard to help God succeed.

As biological clock raced by
Sister and wife interchanged.
Finally, Hagar seemed to be last hope;
Ishmael’s birth was arranged.

God’s plan was larger than anyone knew
Including Ur’s favored son.
Nursery at 90 is wildly absurd;
God’s sense of humor had won.

Laughed when he told them at Mamre’s oaks
“Get ready for your first child!”
Lost her false teeth as she cackled in hope;
God’s joke is truly wild!

Nonagenarian parenthood is tough
No matter what circumstance.
Ishmael and Isaac got along so well,
Sarah gave Hagar a chance.

Then came the day when fear reared its ugly head;
Sarah’s rage running wild.
How do you think it made Abraham feel
To banish his firstborn child?

Nightmares are made of things just such as this:
Hearing God’s voice made him quake,
“Take your son Isaac to sacrificing grounds;
There take his life for my sake.”

Isaac said to his father Abraham
“Something I don’t understand:
We’ve got the fire for the sacrifice;
Who will provide the ram?

Abraham said, “I have lived my whole life
Trying to walk by God’s side.
When my life’s path has seemed most dark and bleak
I’ve found that God will provide.

Stacking the wood brought midnight so near;
Abraham’s heart nearly failed.
When the ram’s cry broke into the eerie black,
All knew that love had prevailed!

© 2012 Todd Jenkins