Monday, December 29, 2014


Was Jesus born on hospice care,
propelled toward his earthly demise
from the moment Mary and Joseph
unwrapped the magi's myrrh?

Is that what incarnation –
being in-the-flesh – is all about;
preparing for death
by learning how to live,
and preparing for life
by learning how to die?

When my mother was
on her death bed,
with less than 24 hours left,
brain tumor ravishing her body,
we arrived home to find her asleep.

She woke up and asked,
in childlike innocence,
“What have you been doing?”

Answering from a place deeper
than my 26 year-old self
knew existed, I replied,
“We’ve been playing at work.”

Ever since that day,
both haunted and propelled
by the mystery of that exchange,
I’ve caught glimpses
of the hospice care
with which my life's surrounded:

love, support, and nurture
that strengthen and encourage me
to breathe deeply of each moment,
savor people, treasure the journey,
and give grace free flow to rush in
and out of my broken places,
washing fear and anxiety away.

These are the gifts of the one
who was calm and secure in both
his going out and his coming in,
inhaling death and exhaling life.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Drama is the byproduct
of a tortured, ingrown soul,
no longer seeing himself
in true relationship
with the rest of creation.

He solves crimes all by himself,
beginning with the verdict,
and working backwards;
fabricating facts,
embellishing evidence,
and tailoring testimony.

Forever the victim,
all who stand between him
and what he wants will
eventually become perpetrators.

Stand clear of his path
to the gallows. When he
finishes dragging everyone else,
he will inevitably make
one final trek, alone.

© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 22, 2014


That life is a spiritual journey –
not in part, but the whole –
doesn't occur to us
very easily or early.

Growing into the physicality
of humanness is such
a fascinating, self-absorbed process,

that we are often capable
of looking right past
the larger truths of our existence.

It is only when our focus
is directed far enough beyond
our own particularity
that we catch glimpses
 of the universe's grand scheme.

Perspective, then,
is one of the keys
for awakening
to our inherent spirituality.

Listen! Do you hear
our souls calling?
Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Eve

Call to Worship

 [males] For better or worse, the time is nearly past for preparation.  Christmas morning is only hours away.

[females] But we have made this last appointment, setting aside our concern for all on our social calendar and shopping list that we did not accomplish, choosing instead to gather for worship on the eve of the celebration of Christ’s birth.

[males] Let us accept the prelude’s musical invitation to slowly and deeply inhale God’s promised peace, and to firmly and completely exhale the stress that holiday busyness has accumulated in our bodies, minds, and spirits.

[females] Let us relive the Advent journey of candle lighting; refreshing ourselves with holy anticipation, sacred preparation, and birthing joy.

[all] Let us open ourselves to the arrival of the manger-born messiah!

Prayer of Confession:
We confess, O God, that Christmas, as we’ve planned and worked it so far, has worn us out. The glitz, the gatherings, the buying, and the fixing have ground us down. Forgive the degree to which we have allowed ourselves to get sucked into commercialism; forgive the ways that the genuine spirit of Christmas have been sucked out of us.

By the resurrecting power of your Holy Spirit, renew our hope in your promise; give us eyes, ears, and hearts to ponder the gift of Emmanuel—God with us—beginning tonight, and every day of our lives. Give us the wisdom, compassion, and focus to recognize your coming in each face along the journey; through the grace of the Bethlehem babe who became Messiah. Amen.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

............................................Tender Care...................................

Sitting in the presence
of another's pain and grief,
stripped clean and hard
of all but your unadorned self,
is a physically exhausting undertaking.

In such a state
of weakness and despair,
it's not hard to recognize
another presence there;

the gentle strength of Love
that holds us all with tender care,
and breathes hope
into lungs scorched and sooted
by a fire named Fear.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 15, 2014


The paths we trod and daily beat,
though we are convinced
are constructed with our own
good efforts to reach God,

may well turn out to be
the clearing of the vines
and brambles that separate us

from the selves we've settled for
and the ones we've spent
our lives convincing others
are the real us.

It just might be that,
once we journey
through the wilderness
to our honest selves,

we will find that God
has been there all along,
patiently waiting for us
to show up to the life
for which we were created.

Wouldn't that be
a joyful homecoming?

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spiritual DNA

The math of inhumanity to humanity
is zero sum in the worst sense,
though nothing about it resembles a game
where anything remotely near winning
can take place, unless you've convinced yourself

that there is a measuring stick for life
and your ranking is clearly superior
to the lives you're devaluing and destroying,
which is pretty much the same
as declaring yourself to be God.

In this case, even our animal instincts
are betrayed, as community is jilted
for the shrinking self of individual,
and nothing of our spiritual DNA
is allowed to grow and bloom.

Holly J. Williams reading one of her "Peanut" books to students at Ralph Askins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rebel Tears

These rebel tears you've cried,
I say, tell me of the depths
from which they flow.

Tell me of the salt they left
upon your cheeks of rose.

Tell me of the stories
that flashed across
your heart's big screen;

and how you, at once wished
to do them all over again,
yet knew that this would rewrite
too much of who you are.

Tell me how you simply came
to know that grace applied
from wells deeper than your own

would change your world
in far more valuable ways
than a lifetime full
of re-attempts at perfection.

Tell me this and more.
I've heard it whispered
from places deeper than
I knew I had, but long
to hear its joyous regale

from the cracks and creeks
of other hearts, because
I know its gift is far
too great a pearl to hide.
Decatur, GA 1966

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 8, 2014


What do you do
when complementary
is not at all complimentary;

when the conversation
reveals diversified opinion,
and the rift threatens
to become a continental divide?

What is the common core
that can hold us together;
the knot that can
keep us from unraveling?

Hope placed in anything less
than the self of God,
faith raised in anything but
divine mystery's recipe,
cannot withstand life's storms.

A willingness to recognize
our own personal shortcomings;
an openness to learn the stories
of those who feel mostly "other";

these are the threads
that weave us together
into the drama that will
one day become a narrative
of unconditional love.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, December 5, 2014


All creation is woven together
into a work of art so complex
and so beautiful that,

if we are awake and
attuned to the moment,
surprises us and takes
our breath away
at each intersection,
every day of our lives.

How then, in this
glorious interconnectedness,
can we dare to believe
that we were put here

to isolate and elevate ourselves
based on privileged elements
of our circumstances,
most of which are constructed
by the accident of our birth?

It is as if a single hue
in a vast masterpiece
has declared itself superior
to all others because
it sees itself, reflected in the mirror,
as the painting's focal point.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Looking at your calendar,
you may imagine that you
don't have time to pray;

that you've got too many
things to do, places to be,
and people to see.

You may even believe
that you're "prayed up"
with a surplus of
divine-human conversation
at the spiritual level.

Or that you'll set aside
some quiet time later
to seek a merging
with God-frequency.

Here's the face-smacked
truth of it: you're more likely
too confident; resting assured
that your own plans,

holy-infused as they may be
and feel, are the equivalent
of God-entered GPS mapping.

I dare to make this accusation
only because I know, all too well,
this wilderness wandering,
with its milk and honey overlay.

Turn around, don't plow ahead
through these deceptive deeps.
Better yet, stop, drop, and breathe.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, November 30, 2014


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 creep,
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.
Guatemala, November 2014

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I thought I was walking
in the ones you've been given,
until I realized that they were
only my most uncomfortable ones,
which probably look
and feel very different from
the ones you're wearing.

And it really wasn't a mile;
more like a brief nightmare
from which I could wake
and assure myself that such things
could never happen in real life.
At least not in mine.

Lord, have mercy!

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Not broken or
declared defective,
or thrown on the trash pile;

not even repaired,
or replaced, or refurbished,
or recalled;

but healed is what
God has declared
we will become.

Healing with beautiful scars
and glorious stretch marks
to remind everyone,
ourselves included,

that the cuts and bruises,
cracks and crumblings
are not so much evidence
of our mistakes and failures,
as necessary entry points
and exit ports for Grace.

They are stained glass slivers
through which light
is able to shine and refract
into all the people and places
the sun has yet to reach.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whole Life

It doesn't mean there are no broken pieces;
won’t guarantee that you’ll be put together
like you were, or like you dreamed,
or like somebody else told you that you should be.

It’s not a pristine book with gilded pages
un-smudged as the day it rolled off the press.
It’s not a policy that guarantees protection from harm,
or even reimbursement for the inevitability of death.

It has been fully lived, including the good, bad, and ugly;
dead ends, re-routings, pain, suffering, and grief.
Cracks abound, with no attempt to disguise them;
savored, instead, in humility and gratitude
because they have created you,
both in the breaking and in the re-forming.

To jettison or judge is to discard essential parts
of who you are, to plea-bargain for a knock-off.
The world needs all of you, past and present,
in order to move toward the abundant life
that Grace is preparing for our future.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Friends are familiarity
breeding anything but contempt.
They alert us to the comfort
that therapy's mirror
need not reflect a solo portrait.

The very best of them
can be found beside us;
their body language
and facial expressions
often mimicking our own;

this camaraderie is often
the path from pity to party,
lament to laughter.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 10, 2014


Grace becomes a tangible reality, 
and a true driver 
in the universe's market, 
when we begin to realize 

that the only thing our lives
should be compared against 
is God's freely offered 
and overflowing love. 

In this measuring cup, 
no one and no thing
are a threat to living joyfully; 

peace becomes a byproduct 
of breathing; and others 
become our sisters and brothers. 
Photo by DeEtta H. Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins