Respecting the awesome power of words!


Against the Pall

fullsizeoutput_2ba3Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins


I have come to realize, more and more, that the core purpose and power of ministry is naming people’s angst and giving them permission to plumb the depths of their feelings. Otherwise, we have no escape route from the implosive culture of denial and anesthesia in which we reside.

It matters not
that this cycle
has rhythmically appeared
year after year,
the sun becoming
a short-timer
in our sphere.

  The weight of darkness
  bears down,
  like concrete blocks
  on our chests.

    Then comes
    the exponential factor
    of medical derailment;
    the return of one
    who was most unwelcome
    the first time around;

      now doubly so,
      as we have seen
      the physiological
      and emotional tsunami
      this cellular demon leaves
      in its wake.

    Enough, already,
    and more!

  Come holy pneuma,
  breathe your hope
  into our lungs,
  our bones,
  our very souls!

Inflate our lives
with your grace,
and Lazarus us
once more
with the fire
of your love!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




We thought that accumulating
a treasury of resources,
regardless of the cost to others
and to the planet,
would somehow soothe
the hunger in our souls.

What we failed to recognize
was the depth of need
in our marrow,
and the reality
that this ravenous maw’s desire
could only be satisfied
by listening to and integrating
the narratives of other people
into our own stories.

Thus, the hospitality
of open ears and hearts
becomes the divine gift
through which
lives are intertwined,
famine is abated,
and the cosmos’ heartbeat
is extended.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


UxKArGDhTvGEp7Zq8OJb3gPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins


      What would it look
    and feel like to have
  the "Not Jesus"
loved out of you;

      to be daily pieced together
    with such tenderness
   that grace
  was deep within you,
holding your broken pieces together;

      AND also freely flowing
   onto and into
everyone you encounter?

      These feels
     are what I hope
    and dream about
   breathing, speaking,
   and living into
  the place and time
that are my earthly sojourn.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




As mountains stretch
  across the horizon,
    so hope, anchored
    to all points of eternity,
  marks the path behind,
beneath, and before us.

We walk our faith,
  step by step,
    across unexplored terrain,
      wounded by the trail
      and those along it
    as much as
    by our own sabotage,
  suffering our way
toward tomorrow.

And yet, in the pain itself,
  we find a path toward,
  not only healing,
but even wholeness;

not as if wounds themselves
  are necessary conduits
    for passage down Martyr AVE,
      but because scars keep us near
      to deeply plowed earth,
    our toes curled down
  to maintain balance
through the storms.

Hope is a memory of tomorrow,
  grown from a seed named Grace.
Joy is the other side of sorrow,
  with us in each time and place.

One foot in front of another,
  lean toward the future today.
Anticipation your druther,
  let journey show you the way.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins





If I told you we’re together,
would you believe you weren’t alone?
If I gave you space for breathing,
could we make it on our own?

If your tears fell on my shoulder,
could we find a way to talk?
If I listened to your story,
could we find a way to walk?

If we steady one another
when the road is steep and long,
can we journey toward a village
where we know that we belong?

If the rain falls hard upon us,
so you cannot see my face,
will you listen to the whisper
of the wind as it speaks grace?

If the sun slips from the mountain,
and stars hide behind a cloud,
will you tilt your ear toward heaven
as your name is called aloud?

When I tell you we’re together,
please believe we’re not alone.
When you’re given space for breathing,
we will not be on our own.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins



  “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



(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.

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.

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.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

The Other Side

IMG_5148Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

A Mark 4 version of “Just as I Am.”

Just as he was, he left to go
toward people that he did not know.
Courage within, mercy to show,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

As storms arise, disciples’ dread
fills every heart, and every head.
While all believe they’ll soon be dead,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

The other side, always his plan;
respect and hope go hand in hand;
love for each woman and each man;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

Out in the streets he now is found.
Forgiveness creates holy ground;
his grace is flowing all around;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

He whispers now his plaintive call
to risk ourselves as storms befall,
and join him, off’ring self for all,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

“Free Ears”



      That’s the sign
     I’m going to hand-letter
    on poster board
   and hang across
  the front of a card table
 near a busy
pedestrian intersection.

Perched behind
 the advertisement,
  I’ll offer an empty chair
    for passersby,
      leaning-in as they
       take a load off,
        giving their stories
         a roost to call home.

   What tale
  would you spin,
 right there in front
of God and everybody?

I might tell
 of the gut-punch
  that overwhelmed me when,
   over a six-week eternity,
    my mom permanently crossed
     from full physical function
      to forever flatlined;

how I lay awake nights,
 bouncing between
  trying to wake up
   from the nightmare,
    and silently plea-bargaining
     with nothing but
      my own life
       and confession as leverage.

      I used to think
     that telling it
    to anyone who’d listen,
  over and over,
 could somehow
change the story.

Then one day
 I realized that I
  was the one changed
   in its telling.

  You don’t have
 to wait for the sign, table,
and chairs to appear.

I keep my free ears
 with me most of the time.

What about you?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




    The ten o’clock train
    cruises through town,
    whistling in the dark
    to signal its passing;

  and I, years removed
  from parallel steel
  and locomotives,
  am transported
  by its lonesome warble
  to simpler, childhood days
  when marbles,
  baseball cards,
  and bicycles ruled.

What would I give
to return to such naïveté?


    I am marrow-deep convinced
    that hope
    is far more securely grounded
    in a future where questions
    drift on the wind,
    and life’s complexities
    are navigated much less
    by certitude and
    much more by grace.

  Grace of more
  than tiger’s eye,
  banana seat, and
  clothes-pinned trading cards;

of grief and pain
ripped deep,
when a parent left
and broke our hearts,
preparing us
for spindly love
to slice us to the marrow.

  Now, this is a box-car
  I would hop,
  to ride to who-knows-where,
  with hobos born
  far and near,
  in search of bread and wine
  to quench and satisfy
  the empty rumbling
  in our souls.

    Do you hear
    the whistle blowing?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins