Respecting the awesome power of words!

awareness

Neighborhood

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The universe is a neighborhood
into which we've been poured.

Fear convinces us to shrink,
control, protect, and gate our lives.

Grace welcomes us to expand,
release, free, and open ourselves to love.

The former choice leads
to the creation of enemies and despair;
the latter, to the creation
of neighbors and hope.

To whose invitation
are you responding today?
How's that working out for you?

When people are used
and things are loved,
we become tight-fisted
possessives of our possessions,
and our fearful exclamation is,
"There goes the neighborhood!"

When people are loved
and things are used,
we are able to become gently-holding
stewards of possessions,
and our joyful exclamation is,
"Here comes our neighbor!"

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Dry Sockets

IMG_7537Photo by Dan Tice

 

When the tears don’t fall,
yet you feel their weight inside,
pressing like the weight
of additional atmospheres,
yearning to find
the equilibrium of release,
I wonder if they’ll create
an alternate route of escape.

Might they rise
through the vocal chords,
their savory blend
evoking tender words
of compassion for others
who are hurting?

Could they escape
through fingertips,
forming stories of hope
and courage for those
on and beyond the margins?

What if they caused muscles
and ingredients to merge,
so that comfort food
was prepared and shared
with people neck-deep
in their own grief?

Where else have you
felt them leaking grace
into the world?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Breathing from the Bottom

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Principles can sometimes
become a rock
for when we cannot stomach
the fluidity and uncertainty
of relationships.

Unfortunately,
they have a tendency
to become millstones,
ridden as high horse,
all the way
to the bottom of the sea,
Titanic-like, demonstrating,
over and over,

that all the rules
we make and adore
run out of oxygen,

and the only way
to breathe as we rise
from the bottom
is to resolve
that love become
our ultimate guide.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Inked Blood

IMG_7269Photo by Danny Kelly

 

When a certain voice speaks
   from within us,
   breathing grace
   beyond our fathoms,

and pouring it
   into the parched cups
   of those around us,
   we sometimes quiver,
   if not quake,
   knowing full well
   the words are not ours.

We see, reflected
   in the still water dimly,
   that we are merely
   a quill through which
   the inked blood flows.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Bite by Bite

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The way I hear it,
  the elephant’s great desire
    is to be consumed,
    bite by bite,
  gray, wrinkled skin chewed,
one mouthful at a time.

Here’s a fire,
  offered from a distance,
    merely hoping
    to keep darkness
  at bay
until the sun rises again:

O flinger of both
  nighttime’s stars
    and daytime’s ball of fire,
  show us the love
of divine presence;

both in the light of day,
  as well as
    midnight’s deepest shadows,
    that we may find
  steadfast and stalwart comfort
in your tenacious presence.

Give medical professionals
  the capacity to strike a match
    into our shadowed existence,
  through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Prophetic Courage

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Without separation
  and distance,
  truth will not
be spoken to power.

When the church’s bread
  is buttered by empire,
  the gospel’s call
    to interconnection
    with those at and
  beyond the margins
  is lost,
as are the church
and its members:

🎼I once was found
  but now I’m lost;
  could see, but now
    I’m blind.
    Dear Lord, help me
  to count the cost;
  prophetic
courage find!🎼

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Lamb

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Grace can be
as gentle as a lamb,
especially when
it is holding
the fragments
of human brokenness;

but it is not always
a Kumbaya-fest,
especially for those of us
who imagine ourselves
on the upper end
of our social, cultural,
economic, and theological
systems and institutions.

Within its gentleness
lies an equally-present
tenacious insistence
on justice — especially
on behalf of those
on and beyond the margins — 
without concern
for the maintenance
or preservation
of privilege, power,
or possessions.

The gentle giant
will not be denied.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Rhythm

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As I watch the clouds spell 
their free-form Morse Code, 
that may as well 
be hieroglyphics, 
against the evening sky, 

I ponder what divine 
smoke signals are being 
puffed across the heavens, 
wooing us toward 
sacred truths 
too deep for words. 
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Having attempted 
to will myself 
into focus 
far too many times, 

I decide, instead, 
to merely pay attention 
to what’s in front of my face, 
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refusing the self-chastisement 
of distraction, 
choosing, instead, 
to nod toward the gap, 
and continue drawing in 
the cosmos’ breath. 

Are you inhaling 
and exhaling 
God with me? 

Such is the rhythm 
of life. 
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© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Blue

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  “Blue” she says,
cracking that wry smile
  of duplicity, knowing
that it’s my favorite color,
  yet the color of depression,
yet the hue
  of the firmament’s glory.

Through yonder hole
  in clouded angst,
an azure sky peeks,
  unlocking its promise
of hope tinged with despair;

  reminding us
that the cosmos will not —
  cannot — be impeded
by confusion or anesthesia
  or anxiety or fear
or any other collusion
  of diminishment;

revealing the truth
  of life’s trough
and peak continuum
  along which we all ride,
sometimes roller coaster-like,
  and sometimes as gingerly
as a Sunday saunter
  across familiar,
gently rolling hills.

  Riding the wind,
be it gale-force
  or a gentle flutter,
I try to remember
  to tilt my gaze upward,
especially when the shadows
  hang long and dark,
and the road tilts steep.

  “Blue”, indeed.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Acts of the Apostles

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When all the xenophobic ooze
has been pressure washed
from beneath the rocks
where it hid for generations
and swept off the streets
where it has surfaced,
there will come a reckoning.

We can’t just stand by,
silent, while all this hate
and fear foments.

We must act
with integrity and courage.

 Here are some
of the questions
that are being asked:

What happened
to our elected officials?
What happened
to our families of faith?

Unless we act decisively
and immediately, our faces,
our names, our reputations
will go down as ones
who sold out our country
and its people.

Is this the way
we want history
to remember us?

Is this the seed
God planted
in our hearts?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins