Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sound & Fury

No more sound and fury,
if you please.
We don't care if
it signifies nothing,

there has been too much destruction:
trees, houses, property of all sorts,
and even human life itself.

Yeah, it made us all thankful,
it brought us together,
it helped us recognize both
our interconnectedness and
our individual and collective fragility.

The big question, however, is:
How will life be different now?
Not just storm cellars
and emergency plans;

but how will we live each day
with courage, hope, and abandon?
How will we celebrate
the sacred that surrounds us,
both in creation, and in
the people all around?

Photo by Ryan Sandmeyer
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Storm Praying

Source of wind and breath,
hold back the former;
gift those in its path
a steady cadence of the latter.

Keeper of the living and dead,
hold those who hover in-between;
guide those who dig and pray.

Inspiration of vision and hope,
fill those who wait in angst
with peace surpassing understanding.

 Shaper of order out of chaos,
speak your genesis words of recreation
into the pain of aftermath.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins


Closing Prayer for 
Columbia Theological Seminary's 
2014 Alumni/ae Association Annual Meeting

You, O Lord, are:
a calling God who longs
to form us into
an answering people;

a nourishing God who desires
to satisfy us with living water,
bread, and wine;
a weaving God who looms us
into the neighborhood of all creation;

a gathering God who loves us
into memories;
a story writing God who hopes us
into becoming your tellers;
a sending God who energizes
and pushes us out into the world.

This day, and throughout this Colloquium,
we have answered, remembered,
and been fed.

As we move, toward all our tomorrows,
and into your holy neighborhoods,
may we have the courage,
wisdom, and compassion
to accept your sending;

to listen to your story
as it is told to us daily
by our neighbors, and,
by grace, to live your story
in thought, deed, and word.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Think Again

The Muse showed up on Friday afternoon, and seemed to have an unusual urgency about her. I was thinking about the folks at Living Waters for the World's "Clean Water U" - instructor colleagues and staff, as well as the new students, all of whom would be bringing their passion and enthusiasm for mission, and especially for clean water. I could see, feel, and hear all of the things I've experienced and learned with LWW over the past seven years. The Muse kept repeating, "Think again." and I just typed, dutifully.

If you thought you were
bringing Jesus, think again.
Jesus is already where you're going.

If you thought you were
delivering salvific resources, think again.
Creation has provided sufficient stuff
for us all. Maybe you should check
the name tag on some of yours.

If you thought you were
bringing ingenuity and wisdom, think again.
The people who live where you're going
have already figured out
how to do more than
you've ever dreamed, and probably did it
with less than you ever imagined.

If you thought you were
bringing hope, think again.
There's more hope where you're going,
because it's grounded in something greater
than possessions. It's grounded in the great I Am.

Just bring yourself.
That is all.
Yourself and your open mind
and your tender heart.
That is what we need;
what YOU need to show up with.

You bring that, and trust God
to do the rest, and your world
will never be the same again.

Photo by Kendall Cox

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Three ways to have it all,
or so it seems;
each in its own right
a recipe for domination.

Smash it all to hell
with a heavy blow,
knocking the breath
out of your neighbor so that
your way is the only way.

Wrap it all in a giant blanket,
not from grandma's quilt collection,
but a thinly pressed piece
of processed pulp,
producing agonizing asphyxia,
or at least blindness.

Divide and conquer;
slice and dice all opposition
into easily dismissed
slivers of meaninglessness.

What do you do with the fool,
holy as she is, who dares
to play a fourth option;
one that flies below the radar
of conventional warfare: heart?

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Call to Scripture

[Leader] Scripture is the place where well-dressed,
comfortable people turn
to have their lifestyles validated.

[People] No! Scripture is the story around which
all people gather to hear about
the lifestyle God intends for them to live.

[Leader] Scripture is the place for good people to
learn how to become even better.

[People] No! Scripture is the place for all people
to confess their own sin and
to hear and share God’s good news of forgiveness.

[Leader] Scripture is the place where people go
to ask God for the things they want.

[People] No! Scripture is the place where
people offer what they have received
for the work that God is planning.

[All] Let us gather to hear scripture,
that we might learn God’s lifestyle,
share God’s forgiveness,
and offer ourselves to God’s work.

Photo by Voncille Powell

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, April 21, 2014

Growing Open

Growing is a movement
from narcissism
to connection.

It is the seed learning
to overcome the fear
that allowing itself to be
broken open by what is
and what happens in the world
will somehow weaken or destroy it.

As absurd as it appears
from inside the kitchen,
we are often incapable
of recognizing the purpose
and power of allowing ourselves

to be blessed, broken,
poured, and shared to feed
humanity's deep hunger.

It is equally difficult to fathom
that in such selflessness,
our own deep longings
are finally satisfied.

Photo by Farris Ralston

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Photo by Todd Jenkins
Time moves on, though
our focus obliterates its march.

Every once in a while,
my mind moves forward 
to tomorrow, but my heart 
calls it back with a somber cry.

The empty tomb was beyond imagination
even for those who followed closest.
Come sit with us in the dark
for a little longer.

Night, whose sensory deprivation
opens spaces and possibilities
never-before recognized;

whose motionlessness stills
all the monkeys vying
to subdivide our attention;

whose calming blanket
lowers our pulse so far
we fear our own hearts
might cease their beating;

leaves us perched upon
the graveyard's wall,
more sure than not that we,
too, will succumb to the abyss
of death's cavernous maw.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Vigil

Watching, waiting, hurting, praying;
no understanding, certainty; hope instead.
Wondering why we should be staying.
Will he be raised from the dead?

Time is indiscernible motion;
feet and arms heavy as lead.
Feels like we have cried an ocean.
Will he be raised from the dead?

Burying heads beneath the covers,
sheet of anguish, quilt of dread.
Hurt even more than that of lovers.
Will he be raised from the dead?

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Death is the equalizer of all egos;
resurrection, their liberator.

The latter does not exist
without the former,
despite all efforts to the contrary.

Those who cannot release
their death-grip on life
will never reach the empty tomb.

Easter's vigil must begin
with people who recognize
an EKG that is fully flat-lined.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Worship Resources

Call to Worship [responsive]:

 [one] Why are you here?

[many] We have come to see if what the women told the disciples is true.

[one] Do you mean what they said about the resurrection?

[many] Yes, we have heard that Christ is risen, and we believe that we’ve even caught glimpses of resurrection power in our own lives, but we’d like to see more.

(All) Let us open ourselves to the power and possibility of the promise of resurrection!

Prayer of Confession:
We confess, O resurrecting One,
that we have more experience with
the commercial celebration of Christmas
than we do with the evangelical celebration of Easter.
Here’s what we’re hoping today:
that you will open-up our hearts,
shore-up our faith,
and Easter-up our hope,
that resurrection’s light
might shine through our lives;
through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ordinary Ministry

We work, play, casually interact
with people every day
who have unspeakable tragedy
lurking just beneath
the surface of their lives.

Sometimes we’re on
the other end, finding
tragedy as our own.

Most of the time there's
no longer visible indication
of this suffering;
occasionally- more often than
we probably realize –

thin places show,
where a fresh coat of normal
does not completely hide
what has been buried
in shallow ground.

Stubbing our metaphorical toe
on another’s invisible pain;
accidentally raking across
non-sequiturs of
rage, anger, shock.

Momentary silence creates
complete change of subject;
punctuation’s pause opens door
to overflowing catacombs of emotion.

Pay attention! These are
places where we can
rise to the occasion
and be fully present;

times for which we are created;
experiences by which,
if we resist the reflex of withdrawal,
we are warmed in love,
soldered together
by God’s healing touch;

foundational blocks for
the priesthood of all believers;
blessed sacraments of ordinary ministry.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, April 11, 2014

Faith Float

Photo by Todd Jenkins

Whether we jump
or are thrown into the river,
our reflex is to struggle,
mostly against the current;

either to maintain our favored position
or fight to get upstream
to a place we’ve decided is better.

But if we fill our lungs with breath,
and our lives with spirit,
we just might find the courage
to relax – to lie back and float.

No longer obsessed
with who's passing us by
or when/where we'll wash ashore,

we may find a way
to let the water shape us;
its steady flow wearing smooth
the rough edges of our brokenness,

so that we no longer
cut others and harm ourselves.
Lasting transformation is
more likely shared when we allow
others into the spaces where the river
has smoothed our abrasiveness.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, April 10, 2014

That Is All

Grace is the unique offering
the church has
to bring to the table,

Yet, when we bring it,
we find that it is actually
the gift that delivers us;

an unwrapping that reveals
the glorious strands of hope
that inspire us toward
the community of God
for which we were created;

the net that keeps us
from falling into the abyss
of separation and division;

eyes and hearts that sense
that we are all in this
together for a reason,
and it is really the only reason.

Photo by DeEtta Harris Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins