Respecting the awesome power of words!

courage

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
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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

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

Presence/Protection

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“Ah, yes,” I realized,
“the wounded healer
offers presence
over protection.”

What our finite little minds
fail to realize —
our sad little sacks
of imago sui —

is that all protection comes
at a cost to someone.

Build a wall,
and you create
insiders and outsiders.

Forcefully and single-mindedly
deflect pain, disease,
injury, and illness
exclusively for one group,
and you’ll likely magnify/multiply
it in another.

Just ask those
whose healthcare
is far inferior
to the healthcare of others. 

Presence, on the other hand,
is a promise not to abandon,
no matter what.

In the end,
as well as in the middle,
and the beginning,
and everywhere in between,
having someone
BE WITH us
through the pain
and suffering of life
is the real game-changer.

Presence is
our raison d'être;
our koinonia.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Ramblin’ Soul

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Twenty-eight years I've been a-preachin'.
It's still a practice not quite right. 
Nightmares are way too commonplace; 
so little sleep on Saturday night. 

   Lord, I was born a ramblin' man; 
   tryin' to make a living
   and doin' the best I can. 
   So when it's time for leavin'
   I hope you'll understand
   I was born a ramblin' man. 

You folks are looking for a pastor; 
someone to guide you on the way. 
And I've felt called to show you how
to let faith live through you each day. 

   Lord, I was born a ramblin' man; 
   tryin' to make a living
   and doin' the best I can. 
   So when it's time for leavin'
   I hope you'll understand
   I was born a ramblin' man. 

When all your hard work is completed,
and you've succeeded in your search, 
always remember this one simple truth: 
Folks in the mirror are the church! 

   Lord, I was born a ramblin' man; 
   tryin' to make a living
   and doin' the best I can. 
   So when it's time for leavin'
   I hope you'll understand
   I was born a ramblin' man. 

Lord I was born a rambling soul,
tryin' to make a living 
while working to keep us whole. 
So 'til it's time for leaving 
I hope you'll understand my role. 
I was born a rambling soul. 

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Beclowned

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When the circus
  comes to town,
    reality takes a holiday
      and many fantasize,
    even in the midst
  of their own despair,
about a perfect world.

The next day,
  we all wake up
  and face the gallows
of authenticity,

challenged by a world
  immersed in
    and fueled by
      the flesh and blood
        of those whose labor
          has been consumed
        with limited
      or no remuneration,
    solely to generate profit
  for those roosted
in the highest branches.

The noose swings
  menacingly from the tree,
    marking the metronome
      of privilege, oblivious
      to the flesh and blood
    of all who will suffer most
  from the invisibility
of this lynching.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


Image

epitaph

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euCHARISto

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(Sine Nomine 10.10.10 with alleluias)

 

For all the saints
who by their labors strive,
we give you thanks, O Lord;
they’re keeping us alive.
With bread and wine
they break and pour out love.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

May we, O God,
follow their sacred lead,
becoming loaf and cup
in thought and speech and deed.
They nourish us with Christ,
the heav’n descended dove.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

Bless and then break,
pour out to go and share;
may we Christ’s body be
to people everywhere.
Let us go out
into the whole wide world.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins