Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Invitation

Your invitation to this table doesn't arrive in the mail. Neither does mine. It arrived over 2,000 years ago in an upper room, a shared meal, a prayer garden, a love more powerful than death, an empty tomb, and a risen Lord. This is his table, not ours. We are all guests. 

When Jesus made his triumphal and final entry into Jerusalem, the people celebrated, waved palm branches, and shouted, “Hosanna!” which means, “Save us now!” If you are hungry for hosanna – for God to feed you with the amazing power of resurrecting love today, and every day – this meal is for you. Welcome home!

A crucial part of the earthly Jesus’ transition to risen Christ came at the table on that last night together. Surrounded by those he loved, who were trying to learn how to love, seeking the courage to follow, and desperate to understand, Jesus took bread and wine – the basic elements of human nourishment – and forever connected his presence to them.

He said the bread was his body, breaking and about to be broken for all. We take; we eat; because we are learning that we need to be filled with more than food in order to live and love in the fullness for which God created us. He poured and shared wine, telling them it was his blood in which the sacrifice of love was being written. We take; we drink; because it is becoming increasingly clear that our spirits need quenching as much as our bodies, and love without measure is the only cup that satisfies. And then they went to the garden to pray.    

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rolling Stone

 Luke 24:They found the stone rolled away from the tomb...

What if it was our own millstone
rolled away at the garden tomb
that first Easter morning,
or even our grindstone?

Think of all the crushing,
breath-taking things rolled back
so they no longer interfere
with the joyous fullness
that God purposes for us to live;

no longer tied around our necks
as we try to swim through life;
not squeezing, grinding, hemming in;
unfettering us to hope, forgive, and live
for God, others, and self, in that glorious order;

free to exclaim creation's intended
hallelujahs at the top of our lungs,
pitched in the key of grace.
Just imagine the sound
of that rolling stone!

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Friday, March 29, 2013

Remember Me

Criminals to the left and right,
Jesus was crucified front-and-center,
as if he somehow might escape
if not completely surrounded.

Mercy was his plea, as the economics
of death played out; soldiers gambling
for the clothes he would never need again:
“Father, forgive them;
they don’t know what they are doing.”

From one side or the other,
hoping against the crowd’s disbelief,
one thief’s anger unfurls,
raising the flag of criminal camaraderie,
begging for and yet demanding
deliverance by association, sans contrition.

From the other side, with no leg
but honesty to stand on,
another thief’s plea for mercy pours:
“Jesus, remember me when you
come into your kingdom.”

“Remember me…” he begs,
as if he knows how powerful a weapon
memory can be against the army of coercion;
as if he already understands how foundational
it is for faith: “This do in remembrance of me.”

Silence to the first thief, as if he might still
have an opportunity to respond differently;
hope and promise to the second:
“Truly I tell you, today you will
be with me in Paradise.”
Our king; our promise. Thanks be to God!

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 28, 2013


A guest blog from my daughter:

When you love, you
sow resilient little seeds
deeply into your heart.

They blossom radiantly;
lovely buds and blooms
you have given of yourself
to nurture and protect.

When this love has been uprooted,
you till, vigorously, the soil
of your tender heart,
upturning a fresh bed
and leaving no visible trace
of root, stem, or crushed petal
to fall underfoot as you
trudge along determined to rebuild.

New seeds are planted,
and though it is with doubt,
you allow yourself to
tenderly cultivate anew.

However, the perfumed fragrance
of old love will linger long after
the flora has withered.

You cannot completely uproot
everything; every once in a while,
you will find an old flower
has stubbornly clung to its bed
and pushes its way up
among the new rows.

Let these few seeds remain.
Do not uproot everything
simply for the sake of ripping
from the root a small reminder
of your vulnerability and trust.

Instead, cherish the fact that
you allowed yourself to sow
a love so deeply that
a part of it will always remain.

Enjoy this occasional reminder
of beauty and brokenness,
as you grow in new and better ways.

© 2013 Holly Jane Jenkins

Monday, March 25, 2013


Control cut down the tree,
shaping, reforming vertical beauty;
forcing uniformity, perpendicular intersection.

Politics laid the groundwork
for the planning commission
robbing humanity’s common good.

Power shaped and formed the nails;
flat heads for pounding,
sharp points for penetration.

Religion formed the molds,
pouring molten metal into
orthodoxy’s safe conformity.  

Violence created the hammer;
wood cushioning the shock of hand,
steel maximizing impact of the swing.

Economics wedged the head of force
into the handle of advantage,
expanding chasm between haves and nots.

Stubborn belief that these three –
Control, Power, Violence –
were the only and best means

to victory, set the plan in motion;
God-with-skin-on bowed
to culture’s relentless "advance".

For three days it seemed
as if it were not only true but inevitable.
Who could have imagined anything else?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins


After 53+ years of occasional winning
and quite a bit of losing,
here is what I've learned:
those who quit when things aren't fair,
when things don't go their way,
or when they aren't winning,

will not only miss the experience
of playing for the sheer joy of the game,
they also risk quitting on life –
a tragedy of the greatest magnitude.
If winning is all there is and

all that matters, the world
and life itself are quite meaningless.
A lot of fools know how to win,
but it takes courage, wisdom, and strength

to live, and even thrive through loss.
Life's greatest lessons are learned,
not in success, but failure.

The cross, as Rome’s ultimate 
and torturous means of victory,

does not win. Love does!

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013


(In honor of World Water Day 2013)

I’m with the minuscule who hold the majority;
among the few of earth’s inhabitants
who control most of its resources.

I seldom ask why,
or if I’m supposed to have them,
or do something in particular with them.

I just mostly take them for granted,
plowing through them like a mule in a briar patch,
smiling while they cut me to pieces.

But sometimes they ask me;
just blurt it right out
in front of God and everyone:

“Have you any idea of the arrogance of thinking
your material abundance is significant
in the grand scheme of things?”

It makes me wonder how few earthly inhabitants
are concerned that their extra automobile
is getting long in the tooth;

gives me consideration for what percentage of people
on this blue dot look past a bulging cupboard
in search of something “good” to eat;

causes me to contemplate the absurdity
of bathing in and flushing countless gallons
that would give new life to millions who die daily;

brings home the truth that we’re all
impoverished by emptiness and brokenness
that come in forms more than material;

gives me pause to realize that grace
does not come from a catalog or a store shelf,
but overflows from a heart of gratitude.

I am indeed among the minuscule,
but we are far from alone;
because the universe is one.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Monday, March 18, 2013

Punctuating Space

In a world glutted with sound and words,
faith is practicing attention to
punctuation and space.

Commas, the breathing marks of life.
Periods give us pause
to recognize thoughts completed,
momentary silence to absorb their meaning.

Colons call forth declarations:
important names, lists.
Semi-colons help us connect related statements;
or hold nearly complete thoughts in tension;
recognizing the paradox of our existence.

Quotation marks connect us to
stories we’ve spoken and heard
with our own mouths and ears.
Apostrophes bring words together,
and teach us possession,
so we remember to whom we belong. 

Exclamations points are Eucharistic eurekas!
Then there are the ever-present
question marks, reminding us 
of wonder’s gift and its path to the Holy.

Each mark of punctuation –
in its own way – defines, combines,
and limits strings of words, making room
for spaces in between;
places whose breath
offers us a glimpse of God. 

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Life has a magnetic field.
It all depends on the pole
you feed. The one with which
you sit, sip, and converse –  
gratitude or mad-itude – will
influence how yours turns out.

Hang out with the negative side,
and you will likely find yourself
mired in interminable
suffering, grief, and misery.

Nourish the positive,
and you’re prone to surprise, joy,
excitement, and anticipation
around almost every bend.

"Ah," you protest,
"but what of the external
circumstances of my life:
wrongs from others, and
life’s unavoidable pain?"

They do not matter nearly as much
as your magnet, Grasshopper.
Do you use the rain that falls
upon us all for dancing,
and watering your garden,
or do you sit inside and lament
that your clothes got wet?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Monday, March 11, 2013


Constructing a world with
the narratives we already know
seems like a wise and safe place
to settle down... until a tale
comes along from beyond imagination;
stretching, poking, rearranging.

Then, what looked like paradise
turns out to be a house of cards,
trembling under every breath of wind.

So, do we rebuild, incorporating
these new truths or do we try
something altogether different?

Maybe we're not really
builders at all.  Are we farmers,
instead; planting, watering,
watching earth and sun
grow new chapters everywhere?

Depth that matters
is simply the room you give
others to sink their toes and roots
into soil you've already risked plowing.

What would happen if we gave up
the construction business and
did more gardening, instead?
God only knows what
stories and hopes might crop-up!

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Friday, March 8, 2013

Les Misérables

Somewhere along the line we lose sight
of God’s true identity and how we know
where God’s at work in the world.

We find ourselves settling for a scorekeeper,
praying to a profit-maximizer, or
shuddering beneath a short-tempered tyrant;

all of which lead us to fail at pleasing
the god who is no God, chaining ourselves
to dysfunction’s asphyxiating leash.

God's delight and plan are in anything
but miserable martyrs and cowering,
overwhelmed failures who can’t

figure out how to avoid the wrath
of a perfectionist whose glee
is shared by like-minded masochists.

Grace is a cake that won't be iced by guilt
of any flavor; divine dessert cut 
large and fresh for the universe to savor.

So, if your oven’s not actively baking
a mouth-watering pan of mercy overflowing,
it’s time to exchange your recipe book.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We are people
 of the apostrophe;
convinced that possessive
is the most important use of
this multipurpose punctuation;

taking whatever we will -
literally - and we do;
making it ours with
a single curved swoosh
+ a crooked letter;

using ownership's pronouns -
mine, ours - to stake a claim;
oblivious to  counter-creational
nature of the whole idea;
digging culture's grave ever-deeper.

Give us wisdom and courage,
 O God, to claim both
primary and ultimate identity
as your possessions.

Grant us hope and love sufficient
to transmit this identity,
as those so possessed,
to the ends of the earth.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins