Respecting the awesome power of words!

cracked

Empty and Broken

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In a culture hell-bent on grasping,
patching, and covering up,
faith's call to empty ourselves
and embrace our brokenness
is arduous; but

as long as we are full –
of ourselves or our privilege
or anything else – and as long
as we pretend that we are flawless,
there is neither room nor path
for divine grace's infusion to us
and effusion from us.

Psalm 46:10's beginning statement
is often translated,
"Be still, and know
that I am God."
Its first Hebrew word, רָפָה (rapha)
can also be translated
"relax" or "let go".

Let go – empty yourself
of all you're trying to make
of yourself –  and know
that I am God.

We are never closer
to holy ground than when
we are standing
on common ground.

Being fully human is the result
of recognizing sparks
of both the self and the divine
in others, especially in those
we've been taught
to despise and devalue.

This may be the only
vantage point from which
we can truly ditch
all fear of scarcity,
all inflated pretense
of competitively-induced
self-worthiness and earning,

finally and fully relinquishing us all
to God's abundant mercy and grace.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 

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Gospel

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We live and breathe, O God,
in a world increasingly beholden,
not to the gospels of Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John,
but rather to the gospels of division,
fear, hatred, and violence.

Remind us today, and each day
of our earthly sojourn,
that you did not create us
for such divisive, loveless,
hopeless, and destructive purposes.

Give us courage to speak
your truth to privilege and power –
the privilege and power
we've been granted,
the privilege and power
at the top of the constitutional
and governmental food chain,
and all privilege and power in-between.

Give us compassion to feel
the anxiety and hurt rising up
from those who regularly find themselves
at the short end of the stick
and the end of the line,
with targets on their backs,
because of the practice of their faith,
the color of their skin,
the nation of their birth, or
the configuration of their chromosomes.

Give us wisdom to recognize
the greed and indifference
that turn a blind eye
for profit's sake.

Give us integrity to live into
our created purpose,
so we may speak justice,
walk humility, and breathe hope.

As followers of the resurrected one,
we are called to be his voice,
his hands, his feet.

Show us how to live and love,
so we and our broken world
can find ourselves
pieced together by and
mortared with grace.

So let it be spoken,
so let it be lived,
so let it be done.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Broken

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When our mechanical devices
  are broken, they are
    of little use until
      they are repaired;

      and our society tends
    to scrap them
  rather than repair them,
tossing them to the junk heap.

Human brokenness works
  in a slightly different way.

  We are all broken
in one way or another.

Unlike machines,
  we are fully capable
    of functioning in a state
      of brokenness, so long
        as we don't lose sight of it.

      Denying our own brokenness
    usually leads to hyper-attention
  toward and condemnation
of others' brokenness.

There is no path to healing
  in this outward focus.

    It leads to a vortex
  of fear, anger, and accusation,
void of accountability.

Recognizing our own
  particular brokenness,
    and living out of its humility
      is part of the path
        to healing and wholeness.

          Stained glass is the ultimate
        human/divine metaphor:
      fragile, broken,
    sometimes-jagged pieces
  held firmly together
in beautiful new patterns.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

 


Holey

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"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
is a declaration
about divine character.

Our song? Maybe
it's more like,
"Holey, Holey, Wholly!"

We are tempted,
by culture's competency
and competition,
to leave the holey parts
of ourselves at home
or locked in the trunk

when we gather
as a community of faith,
thereby removing our
shadowed selves
from the redeeming power
of confession,
forgiveness, and grace.

Rest assured, the only way
to wholly become the beings
for which we were created,
is to bring all of our holey selves
to the holy table.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Cracked

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In a world operating on a
"Crack or Be Cracked" model,
with a host of immortal,
adrenaline junkie youth,

 as well as myriads
who feign perfection and toughness,
life's big surprise just may be
that we all end up cracked,

 and it's how we live
our cracked-up lives
that matters most.

 It is surely holy magic
when we find ways to do it
within the paradox
of abandon and gentleness.

 © 2016 Todd Jenkins