Monday, March 31, 2014

Word Plow

When will you learn to accept
the unconditional love of who you are,
and realize that these words
and phrases do not define you;

that they are, instead, what you
have been gifted for connection?
When will you let them go
with less anxiety for how you are received

and more peace about how they might
open those with ears to sense
their own connectedness
to the vastness of their own enoughness?

Don’t you see how they emerge;
how you type them and return to them
over and over, as if you are the one
who can decide when they are ready –

as if you can somehow perfect them?
Yet there is a deeper place
which knows that these words
come from beyond you;

and that your returning is not
for the sake of others,
but for your own, so that you
can learn to absorb and live them.

What if the words and their worth
belong to the universe?
What if your primary task
is to sift through the collections,

looking for the places where
your own and others’ pain
have created sacred spaces
for the words to rest?

What if your calling is to cast them
on ground that life’s plow has turned-up –
your own, and others’ –
and let the universe do the rest?

Photo by Todd Jenkins


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Illumination

When the light fades,
be it literally or figuratively,
how will you respond to the darkness?

Your mind will shift into overdrive,
your other senses will stumble,
and you will be at a crossroads.

One direction leads to shrinking
and withdrawal in fear.
Absent visual confirmation,

it's easy to question your remaining
senses' ability to keep you safe.
The other path leads to creativity

and abundance in hope.
Learning to see more than
your eyes ever could

opens the floodgates of imagination,
awakening your soul to images
heretofore only available in your dreams.

When the view from the shadows emerges,
you'll wonder how you ever
could have settled for daylight.

Photo by Holly Jane Jenkins
© 2014 Todd Jenkins


Friday, March 28, 2014

Offering

Photo by Todd Jenkins

We confess, O God, 
that we’re really good 
at offering you advice. 

We go through the motions 
of handing things over to you, 
but when we think no one’s looking, 
we try to take them back. 

We have a hard time, 
O Lord, seeing beyond 
our own hopes and dreams; 

and these are so easily 
colored and limited by our own 
experiences and understandings.


In your gentle mercy, O God, 
open our ears, eyes, and hearts 
to the grand plans and promises 
that you have had for us 
since before we were born; 

through Jesus Christ, 
the prince of peace and 
dreamer of resurrection. Amen. 

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pasture

The whack-a-mole feeling
of stray-dogging too many
Whistlers' Conventions,
week after week,
squeezes daily spiritual practice  
from both ends of the candle.

Seeking to be present to those
expecting CEO mentality, those
facing imminent death's reality, those
facing consequence's eventuality,

I stir modernity's espresso
with the steamed milk
of scripture through a week
of random rainbow encounters,

across the broad spectrum
of planning for all ranges
and committees of infinite variety,
hoping a sermon latte will appear
for Sunday worship's scone. 

What did you do all week?

Photo by Todd Jenkins
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Focus


Seems like we are forever
double-checking the deadbolt
while God is wafting the world
in through the ductwork.

Forgive us when we fail
to live as you created us, O God.
Give us courage

to not allow the phobias
of our id to become
the focus of our faith.  

Protect us from confusing
the method for the message;
keep us gasping for the inspiration
of your challenging interpretation.

Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Different

Did you ever stop to think
how the world might be different
if the people who designed
some of the amazing things
we take for granted had done so
in completely different ways?

Take time, for instance,
instead of letting it always take you.
What if our calendars and clocks,
were attuned to the solar system
rather than atomically rhythmic?

What if the hands on our watches
sped up and slowed down
to match both the seasons
and our particular location
on the planet, leaving us
with forever-flexing hours, but
completely predictable tides and moons?

A man in Alaska during the summer
would shake his auto-winder
or try to replace his digital batteries
as drudging, hourly-paid labor
seemed to be frozen.

A woman in Argentina's winter
would wonder where the time flew
as she tried to accomplish
her daily to-do list.

But maybe that's our experience
anyway, as our focus
and perspective wax and wane.

Perhaps it’s our enslavement
to metered predictability
that stands between our hearts
and the surprising path
to unpredictable joy.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Us

When difficult conversations come,
give us grace to avoid escalation.

Give us peace and serenity
to set aside our preconception,
built on a selective history
of presumption’s cracked foundation.

Give us clarity to focus not on what
we want to say next, but to hear
what’s really being said and
the words between the lines;

words not spoken, but buried
in too deep and scary a place to visit,
where layers of pain and betrayal
have been piled upon them.

Give us security in the knowledge
of who we are and who we’re not.
Give us more than us.
Give us you in us.

Photo by Todd Jenkins


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Questions

Photo by Todd Jenkins

You and I will learn
very little about one another
or anything else, for that matter,

if all we do is ask questions for which
we have already determined
right and wrong answers.

The best we can do
with this kind of interchange
is to determine how much
we agree and disagree;
the worst is to pass judgment.

If, however, we inquire
in ways that require stories,
and not the kind that come
from books, but from
our own life experiences,

then we open the door
to deepen our relationship;
and that’s why we’re breathing.


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lenten Call to Worship

Photo by Todd Jenkins
 One: The memory of penitential ashes
has long-faded and we are still
journeying toward Jerusalem.

Many: At many stops along the way,
we have been tempted to tarry,
being nearly overcome
by the seduction of comfort.

One: But Jesus pushes on,
his pace quickening,
encouraging us to endure.

Many: There is even a promise
of gift-beyond-imagination
 that waits at journey’s end.

All: Let us stay the course for a little longer,
holding on, come cross or high water.

Friday, March 14, 2014

NUMB3RS

Flight 370, Boeing 777, 239 passengers:
digits we use to identify
the specifics of our conversations.

Black boxes, satellite pings, radar images:
short-hand we use to describe
our distant communication techniques.

Faces, stories, families:
the truth of who we are
and why we’re here;

building blocks for our hope.
Lord, hear our prayers!

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Showing Up

Singing in the face
of evil, chaos, and uncertainty
is what defines faith.

Not just singing
any old tune or lyrics;
but belting out melodies
that hauntingly dare us
to step toward the darkness,

and lyrics which proclaim,
in spite of the appearance
of current circumstances,
that fear, anxiety, hatred, scarcity
are not gaining momentum.

They are, instead, screaming vestiges
of evil who already know
that love has won.

Sing on, sisters and brothers;
the world is dying to claim
the courage of this opus,

where new is not replacement
but resurrection to something
we’ve yet the wherewithal to imagine.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shifting Gears


How do we move along
the life-cycle continuum from
identity-by-productivity
to retirement? By resting in grace.

Not by devaluing accomplishments,
real or imagined.
Not with bifurcation
of being and doing,
as if life is an
either/or proposition.

Perhaps the integration
of motion and matter 
offers us a clue:
even when it appears
that a solid is motionless,
there is constant movement
at the molecular level.

As time pedantically marches onward,
making us feel increasingly left behind,
may we more and more find
and rest in the energy of creation,
trusting God to finish and redirect
our own history and efforts
into the universe’s holy purposes.

Photo by DeEtta Harris Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, March 10, 2014

12 yEARS A mOM (wITH cANCER)

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

It wasn't ever supposed
to happen like this.
Not for anyone.
And yet here we are, eye witnesses,
ear witnesses, heart witnesses.

Time seems so cruel,
first for its seeming speed,
now for its snail's pace.

And then there's God.

They say the first half of life
is for container-building,
the second half for filling.

Seems like that's all screwed-up here:
all filled-up and no time to share,
all used up and no time to spare.

So now, we hold it all
with sieve-like hands,
watching it pour out,
helpless to do anything
but hope and pray
our way toward you, O God;

helpless without your grace;
becoming more and more aware
that it's not so much
our holding on that matters,
as our being held.


© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day Traveler

Living in the light of day
is a dangerous proposition;
maybe even more risky
than dying in the dark.

There, at least, you can
hold your breath, hiding beneath
a blanket, while you wait
for Chimera to crawl out
from under the bed or
sneak out of the closet.

Daylight, on the other hand,
leaves little to the imagination.
It reveals not only the truth
of our visible selves, but also

the existence of our hiddenness;
a revelation that religion sans faith
denies with its two-dimensional,
either/or conversion-as-event.

Cloudless sunlight casts shadows
on our four-dimensional reality,
requiring us to both embrace
the truth of time and our shadiness,
and bring them to font and table.

Redemption and wholeness require
such full disclosure; the spiritual life
is map and shoes for just
such a scandalous journey.
Photo by Todd Jenkins


© 2014 Todd Jenkins