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Posts tagged “prayer

Pall

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To say it casts itself,
like fisherfolk with their nets,
is as apt a description
as I can render.

Only there are no holes
to let light through,
only thick, suffocating,
blanket-like heaviness
to trap you underwater.

No one knows
where it comes from
or how it chooses
to settle on you
and not a stranger
whose flailing would barely create
a noticeable tremor in our web.

Clinicians speak
of perfect storms
and chemical imbalances  --
the likes of hail and hell
you wish and pray
were completely beyond conjuring.

When the darkness falls heaviest,
and your ears and heart
begin to funnel words
into ever-shrinking strings,
let these be the ones
sinking all the way
to the bottom of your soul,
to a place where pain is held
by love -- the only power
strong enough to not let go:

You are love with us.
You are love with.
You are love.
You are.
You.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 


Blanket

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Prayers surround you
like a generations-old blanket,
pieces of stories and times past
stitched together
with a myriad of emotions,
dusty with the scent
from faded memories
of many a stripe and ilk,
stuffed with down
from birds long-since
traversed Tennyson's bar.
May you find warmth, comfort,
and sufficient breath
for such a starless sky,
all gently pulling you
into dawns to come.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

You

FullSizeRender (100)Yes, you…

Momming is identified,
not by biology, but
by its web of care,
its haven of hope,
its manuscript of guidance,
its blanket of prayer,
its fire of indignation,
its roots of relationship,
its watering can of nurture,
its stove of nourishment,
its taxi of deliverance (and sometimes rescue),
its bottomless bucket of belief,
its bone-deep compassion and grief,
its purse of support,
its sermon of conviction,
its cheer of encouragement,
and quite a few more
that often fade into the backdrop.

A toast to you,
and all the ways
you've mommed us:
may your spiritual DNA
keep the universe
expanding toward grace!

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

For These Times

Prayers of the People for January 29, 2017.

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Photo by Lizzie Mazariegos

We live, O God,
 in a fearful and divided culture;
  separated, not just
   from other faiths and nations,
    but also from the people
     who live in our neighborhoods,
     work with us,
    go to school with us,
   and even from some of the ones
  with whom we break bread
on a regular basis.

Our faith's rich tradition
 calls us away
  from such anxiety and estrangement,
   reminding us that we are
    all in this together;
     and contrary to Cain's
   distancing of himself
  from Abel's buried body,
 we ARE our neighbors' keeper, 
in neighborhoods without borders.

We pray, O Lord,
 for guidance and wisdom,
  as we navigate our personal,
 community, state,
and national roadmaps.

Show us the narrow
 highway of love,
  even as it winds through
 the challenging mountains
of relationship, listening, and sacrifice.

Give us feathers on our skin,
 bones hollow yet strong,
  courage of the clouds,
   so we won't be pulled long
   earthward by gravity's fear,
  but freed instead to float
 on rising currents of hope,
higher into grace's atmosphere. 

If only it were so easy,
 O God, like poetry rolling
  off our tongues,
 whisking us to happily ever after;
but we know better.

Our lives bear the bruises
 of broken hearts;
 our families carry the scars
of shattered dreams.

Give us this day,
 O storytelling dream-catcher,
 both tenacity and tenderness
for the living of these days.

Give us the gifts we need
 to open the doors of welcome
  to a world hungry and thirsty
 to know that your story
is also their story.

These and all prayers
 we ask in the name
  of the one who fed, healed,
  and welcomed the broken
 to a table of abundance;
Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 


All We Can Do

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Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

When the time
for doing ends,
both daily and
at the end-end,

all we can do
is slow down;

slow down and
gaze into the night sky;

gaze into the night sky
and listen to the sound
of silence;

listen to the sound
of silence and wonder;

wonder and hope;
hope and pray;

pray and let go.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Innocents

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Far beyond a failure
to protect them,
intentional massacre
is heinousness
in the highest degree.

How frightened do you have
to be to declare all babies
two years-old and younger
acceptable collateral damage
for your political aspirations
and narcissistic ego?

It's easy to condemn
Herod for his atrocity.

What's more difficult
is admitting our own
complicity in failing
to leverage our privilege
and power to provide
basic dignity for today's children;

for lumping innocents
with those who've hijacked religion
for violent political purposes
so we can justify keeping them,
not just at manger's-length,
but exiled to places worse
than Pharaoh's Egypt.

Lord, have mercy,
not just on our souls,
but on our hearts and
the lives of children everywhere.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Crashed Server

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In the days to come,
all of the certitude and judgment
stacked helter-skelter against
those whose experience
and perception differ from our own

will come crashing down,
not on those who've been
relegated beyond the wall,

but imploding upon
the stone stackers themselves.
Why, you ask?

Because the only mortar used
in this fearful construction
comes from the fetid cesspool
of our own confirmation bias. 

All who emerge from the rubble,
and are courageous enough
to remain present,
will be invited to sit
'round the campfire, listening
to stories never heard.

Thus, the birth pangs of peace
will once again twinge.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

A Different Road

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                     Photo by Anne Shurley


This date, September 11,
has become for us,
O God, a suitcase full
of jumbled memories
and emotions for the past 15 years.

As we lift our hearts and minds
to you, this day, remind us
that the real question
is not Alan Jackson’s:
“Where were you when
the world stopped turning
that September day?”
but “Where have we been
since then, and who are we now?”

Remind us that the quickest way
for terror to win is for hatred,
fear, anxiety, and xenophobia to flourish.

Remind us that it will be defeated
when understanding, hope, education,
peace, and love triumph.

Remind us that grace is the gift
we have been given
to bring to the struggle.

As a human race, O God, we
are slow to learn that death may not be
the most effective response to hatred,
dehumanization not the most healthy means
of international relations,
and preemption leaves a bit to be desired
as a reaction to terrorism.

When we fail to see the direct correlation
of escalation, somehow blinded by moral superiority,
let us not also be blinded to transforming alternatives.

Help us, O Lord, to seek paths toward peace
that have not been irreparably rutted
by the supply train of war’s weaponry.

Help nations to find workable ways
to weave justice together with mercy,
so that innocent life does not become
the debris of international confrontation.

We remember not only the potential casualties
in the civilian population, but also
the thousands of men and women
who have accepted the calling
as first responders and of soldierhood—
those who daily face the front line,
squeezing the precious tube of courage,
risking life and limb.

If ever there was a need for guardian angels,
it is on the neighborhood streets-turned battlefield.
Send your angels to do your watching,
O God. Send your angels!

More than never forgetting this date,
and what happened
across this country 15 years ago,
let us always remember,
which is not really the same.

Never forgetting is a way
of holding-on to the past,
with no clear avenue to the future;

always remembering
is a gift for carrying forward,
in hopeful and life-giving ways,
the people and stories who preceded us.

May we re-member and reanimate
the lives of those
whose bravery and sacrifice
are foundations for our existence,
with enough consciousness and courage
to differentiate between love for them
and revulsion for what they had to do.

Let waving flags and unwavering pride
neither swell for the hell of war itself,
nor for the hatred
of a people we call “other”,
but for those who descended
into war’s bowels, by force or by choice,
to face the demons formed
when greed, godlessness,
and fear overcome
the common bonds of all humanity,
and when politics unleashes ego,
declaring collateral damage acceptable.

Let one-eyed squints
down loaded barrels
be not consumed
by death’s insatiable appetite;
praying, instead,
to seek paths to de-escalation.

May our memories of those
whose lives were taken
by war in all its forms;
lives taken in whole or part,
and those whose appearance and affect
seem to have mostly dodged destruction;
be one part filled with love, respect,
and appreciation for their selfless answer
to duty’s call, and another part filled
with the grief of knowing that we must
somehow find a different road to walk.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins