Monday, January 28, 2013

Being Prayed

Recently, something that has been
going on for years in my life -
maybe always - has been
brought to my attention.

Thank God, the ones who brought it
have no desire to say,
"Hello! Is anyone home?"
because I didn't notice for so long.
They let me do that to myself,
then offer me a bite of mercy and a sip of forgiveness,
so I might be alert to other gifts.

Anyway, back to this new revelation.
I have always envisioned myself
writing poems and prayers,
or at least praying them.
As it turns out, I do neither.
They pray me.

Not in the sense that
what is heard and felt is me,
but in the way that
who I was and am become
transformed by prayers and poems
like a shirt that has been
washed, dried, ironed, and
lovingly hung in the closet
in anticipation of usefulness and
integration into someone's day and life.

Have you ever been prayed?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The MLK quote on my office wall that motivates me every day: "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."

It doesn't take creativity to respond in violence. In fact, violence sucks the creativity and imagination out of both the people who bear it and the people who perpetrate it.

Maladjusted people are the ones who are perfectly willing to obey the rules and laws that are right(eous). They are NOT willing to stand by and let injustice continue, especially when it is institutional. This is where creativity and perseverance give us the tools and passion to effect change; not always head-on, but sometimes chipping away at the rock a little each day, using the power of words, deeds, and relationships enveloped in grace.

It is my hope and prayer that, at least on my better days, I will find myself among these creatively maladjusted transformers.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving for LWW

When we read your word, O God,
through the sunglasses of our culture,
the pounding percussion we hear
barks these 3 words: I.  NEED.   MORE!!!
And the economy of scarcity
tightens its grip on us.
We become possessive, like Lot and Abimelech,
arguing with Abraham over wells;
degrading your gifts into commodities, O Lord.

We are too busy to heed Noah's call,
and the flood of too much of a good thing consumes us.
We become Pharaohs who order our chariots
to race through the Reed Sea
in pursuit of profit at all costs.
We become emperors and kings
who hoard our bread and wine,
and trade on the hardships of others,
so that we can confiscate their bread and wine,
too, because, one day there may not be enough.

Ah, but when we let your story become our story,
reading with open minds, open hearts, and open dreams,
the rhythmic cadence we hear sounds like these 3 words:
Then we can pitch our tent with Abraham and Sara,
setting out for parts unknown,
in the assurance that God will provide.
We are able to follow Miriam and Moses
across dry ground and desert, whining a little,
but glad to partake of water from the rock
and gather our manna every day.

We might even dare to follow Jesus
into the wilderness on a regular basis
to be transformed by silence and
the absence of all the things
on which we have relied,
because we know that there is no place
or people beyond the reach of grace.

In your marvelous ecosystem, O God,
we find elemental and sacramental providence
in water, bread, and wine.
We find ourselves looking for opportunities
to reflect and become your hands and feet,
your pipes, pumps, and filters, in places near and far.
We find ourselves becoming partners that give
and receive the blessings of our common humanity,
not as possession or commodity, but as gift freely offered.

This day, we pray that you would rescue us
from "I need more!" and deliver us
toward "More than enough!" - that you would keep us
a little hungry and a little thirsty,
so we might better understand the plight
of our sisters and brothers everywhere
who regularly find themselves
at the end of the line and the back of the bus.

This day, as we swallow just a pinch
and a dip of bread and wine,
and as we remember the power
and gift of clean water,
keep us hungry and thirsty for righteousness.

Let us borrow words and strength from
the communion of saints;
let us remember those whose words and deeds
still mirror grace on the path we tread.
Recalling the words spoken by your prophet Amos
and later interpreted by your servant, Martin,
whose ministry and memory spring fresh this week,
let justice roll down, not like January's cold molasses,
but instead like April's overflowing stream.
Let us be nourished in body, mind, and spirit,
to be your bread and wine in the world,
and to be your conduits of clean water
in all the thirsty places to which you call us.

These and all prayers we offer,
in the name of the incarnate one, who pitched his tent
in our wilderness and taught us to pray
as we join our hearts and voices together, praying... Our Father.....

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Because it shows the world
your most beautiful side;
because it connects your inner self
to the universe's gift of love;
because it heals both you
and others at the deepest places;
because it reminds us all
of what matters and doesn't;
because it will pique curiosity in those
who may not remember having any;

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Friday, January 11, 2013


Grace is not a landfill
in which we can regularly
dump the caustic baggage
of our earthly sojourn;

neither is it an excuse
to ignore the consequences
of our unclaimed freight.

Rather, it is the promise that,
once the incarnate bell-hop
has helped deliver all our luggage –
be it a neatly matched set,
or a menagerie of  frayed duffels
and complementary satchels –

he will help us carefully unpack
each fragile and frightening item,
not burying them in the back yard,
but revealing to us how each piece
has shaped and formed our temporary residence.

Beyond this safe and complete unpacking,
we are shown two salvific realities:
[1] whom we have become; and
[2] the path toward divine plans for our future.

In these two lie the possibility
of finally and fully arriving at a place
that’s always been home.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Ministry is a place where
three-legged dogs teach
and learn from others how to

thrive in their broken joyfulness.
There is no such thing as
a profession; not only are we

all amateurs, but we are also all
engaged in its practice, for
better or worse, in blindness or lucidity, 

denial or hopefulness, anxiety or grace.
Showing up, even and especially
when we are convinced

of our own incompetence,
is the surest recipe
for faith and commitment.

Hold to these ingredients in love,
prayer, and all of life, and your soul
shall always hunger but never starve.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dangerous Epiphany

‘Twas the day of Epiphany and throughout the kirk
deacons, elders, even pastors were all hard at work.
Birthed in ad nauseam meetings of committees:
a welcome for savior with multiple strategies.

Isaiah and Micah were thoroughly consulted
protocol followed, messiah not insulted.
If truth were told, devoid of fears,
the strategy unchanged for thousands of years.

But that didn’t matter to the movers and shakers
who had long-acquiesced to the few belly-achers.
The church was now running like a well-oiled machine,
even though it no longer remembered the dream.

Just how it happened we can’t quite remember,
the only detail: six days past December.
The intercom buzzed: visitors of good cheer;
their accents revealed they were not from around here.

Against better judgment they were ushered inside,
their odor, their aura could not be denied.
Juan Carlos the name of one who sojourned,
then Achmed and Mico. Is your stomach churned?

The more it unfolded the crazier it was,
their story of following a star here because
a promise just born. They knew it was wild,
seeking our guidance to locate this child.

Notify the committee, for a rapid convening;
two items of agenda to discover the meaning
of these moon willow sultans and their way-bizarre tale.
Should we signal panic? Should the alarm siren wail?

Is it immigrant issues or a terrorists plot
that beg us to terminate this plan on the spot?
Cool heads prevail, a subversion is planned
to protect our dear children and our sacred land.

We’ll play right along with this ludicrous search
keeping all under wraps to protect state and church.
If indeed they discover this child in our midst,
the S.W.A.T. team will swoop in a lead-blanket blitz.

We’ll make the world safe. We’ll wipe out the danger
so we can return to life minus the stranger;
giving in to our angst, feeding our fears,
ignoring the Christ whose eyes fill with tears.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins