Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “community

Neighborhood

fullsizeoutput_258dPhoto by Jennie R. Jenkins

 

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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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

“Produce to Share”

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   This was the sign 
in a church’s fellowship hall. 

   It was summer, 
AKA gardening season, 
   so I knew, 
from my experience, 
   that the first word 
was accented 
   on the first syllable. 

   Zucchini, tomatoes, okra,
and all sorts of vegetable delectables
   would come and go from this spot,
offered from abundance,
   received with gratitude.

   But then my inner wordsmith 
asked its 
   “What if?” question. 

   What if this was a verb, 
not a noun? 

   What if it 
was divine instruction 
   on life’s deepest meaning? 

   What if it was 
a holy critique 
   of cultures and economies, 
pulling us together, 
   rather than apart, 

   reminding us 
that we are, 
   first, last, and foremost, 
created for community? 

   What if our whole lives –
not just our gardens –
   are designed for us
to pro-DUCE to share?

   But wanting to justify himself,
he asked Jesus,
   “And who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:29)

© 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

fullsizeoutput_212dPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

 

“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

Beclowned

IMG_3731Photo by Owen Todd Jenkins

 

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


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

Fragments

fullsizeoutput_1ef2Barton Creek Cave, Cayo, Belize

 

The earth is littered
with the fragments
of shattered stone,

as the gods of safety
and security,
perched high atop
the cultural temple
of division, are toppled

by the one
who gave himself,
unconditionally,
to be bread blessed, broken,
wine poured, both shared
for any and all
who hunger and thirst
for dignity, respect, and hope.

© 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