Choose love

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         You shall love the Lord your God
         with all your heart, and with all your soul,
         and with all your mind,
         and love your neighbor as yourself.

                  —Matthew 22.37, 39

There are really only two religions, two ways of living, and every moment everyone, religious of every flavor and atheist alike, is choosing which way we go. One is the Religion of Being Right. The other is the Religion of Being In Love.

In the way of Being Right we seek to understand the laws by which the universe runs, and follow those rules and behaviors to get desired results. “Work hard and you’ll get ahead. “Be good and you’ll go to heaven.” “Might makes right.” The ultimate laws may be kind or cruel, logical or capricious, given by a personal God or simply existing by random chance; they may involve religious laws, reason, physical power, social status or any system of values— but once you get them right they are consistent: follow them and you’ll get what you want. If there is a god in this religion, he’s an emotionally distant judge who himself has to follow the rules, and has no power to break or ignore them. The main goal of Being Right is having control, and its practice requires consistently dualistic thinking. Extreme examples of the Religion of Being Right are violence, legalism, terrorism, war, fundamentalism and capitalism. This is the way of the world.

In the Way of Being in Love, we experience an overflowing love in all existence that loves us, and in response we fall in love. Love is the greatest law, the greatest value, the greatest practice and the greatest result. The God of this religion is pure love, the energy of love itself, intimately present a well as transcendent, always willing to break rules, to lose, to surrender power and to take a “lower” position in order to love. The goal is to give and receive love, and its practice requires vulnerability, relationship, wonder, self-giving and non-dualistic consciousness. The Way of Being in Love issues in non-violence, art, forgiveness, generosity and striving for justice. This is the way of heaven.

Sooner or later you have to choose one way over another: either to break a rule or to hurt someone, to impress God or to trust God, to be right or to be forgiven, to win an argument or to bless someone, to be in control or to be in love. The way we choose affects our faith, our social relationships, our politics.

“On this truth hangs all the law and the prophets,” Jesus said. Pray that every moment you will be aware of the way you choose. Open your heart to the Love that leads us in its sacred way.
         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 23, 2014  Leave a comment

Love letter

      

My Dearest, I love you deeply.
I’m not worried to impress you,
or to keep you from getting mad at me;
nor do I need to figure you out,
or to tell you how I want you to be.
I just love you, weak in the knees.

My Love, when I think of you I forget myself;
I fill with joy and warmth at the thought of you.
When I think of other things, you are still on my mind.
I’m obsessed with you.

Beautiful Lover, I like you the way you are.
I enjoy your presence. I like being with you.
My world is made better because of you,
and I am grateful for you.

Beloved, my love is for your sake, not mine.
Yes, I want to hold you, enjoy you,
take you into myself.
But I don’t want to possess you; I want to bless you.
I care about you, and want the best for you.
My deepest soul honors you. My heart is yours.
I entrust myself completely to you.
My heart goes out to you, and belongs to you.
I will do anything for you, for your sake.
My whole life is my promise to you.
I give you myself, all of my living, for all of my life.

O Love, I am yours.
With joy, with gratitude, with utter trust,
with all of my being, forever,
I love you.

Amen.

         
         

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 22, 2014  Leave a comment

To be a man

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
To every man is given in its time
the need to be a man:
to be strong enough to be gentle,
to protect without controlling,
to be wise without cunning,
to stand against a great foe
without stooping to be mean,
to be adept enough to be gracious;
with the true manliness that is generosity,
like a great tree bearing fruit,
undisturbed by storms
and welcoming to small birds.
To every man is given more power
and privilege than he needs,
and a way to share it,
a way to loosen the bolts of fear,
a way to open the gates of injustice
from the inside.
To every man is given in the darkness
the courage to not know,
the wisdom to be quiet,
the patience to know that what it is
to be a woman he does not know,
and what it is to be a child
he can always remember
if only he dares.
To every man is given, deep within,
the power to lay down his overpowering weapon
and humbly become the one
that God creates him to become,
and nothing less, and nothing else,
if only, by God’s grace, he has the guts.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 21, 2014  Leave a comment

Spirit of life

.

      
         And it was evening and morning,
                  and behold, it was very good.

                  

Spirit of life, even at rest
my body sparks with your life.

Your love flows through my heart,
my hands, my eyes, my mouth.

Spirit of delight,
may I see with your delight.

May I listen and hear
with your deep compassion.

May I touch with gentleness
and blessing.

May I taste with mindfulness;
may I smell in complete presence.

Spirit of grace,
may I live with your grace.

         
         

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 20, 2014  Leave a comment

Yours

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

        
                  
The trees, red and golden,
spend their leaves, all of them.

        *

Dear God, I give myself to you.
My identity, my power, my choices are yours.
My awareness, my prayers, my attitude I give to you.
My passions, my energy, my purpose I hand over.
My time, my distractions, my aims I place in your hands.
My fear is yours, my anger, my despair, my pain.
My powerlessness is yours, and my weakness,
all that is not right in me, and even my inability
to pray this prayer. All is yours this day.

        *

The geese on the pond, traveling through,
open the wings of their prayer books
and lay their entire weight
in the palm of the air.

Deep Blessings
Pastor Steve
______________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

October 17, 2014  Leave a comment

Sewing

         
                  
O Loving Mystery,
you come to me
in voices I had not heard,
colors I hadn’t noticed,
kinds I hadn’t treasured.

A conversation
with a stranger on the road,
an invitation waiting close by
in a foreign language,
a moment shared
across the unbridgeable gulf.

Something deep within touches,
this secret companionship,
this opening you offer,
this island of belonging.

These are not merely charms
for my bracelet
but you
sewing the world together.

______________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

October 16, 2014  Leave a comment

Little words

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         
                  
Some people count on big words
but I’m mindful of the little ones.

Some count on from;
I like to.

Some make whole religions
out of ought and unless.

I trust in anyway.
I live by in.

Some see the world as or.
I see an and.

Some people’s god is The.
Mine is You.

I give myself to this,
to one,
to with.

Some prayers are long and wordy.
Mine:

You are.

.

______________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

October 15, 2014  Leave a comment

To God what is God’s

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         They asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” he said, “Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. He said, “Whose image is this?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” He said, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s… and to God the things that are God’s.”
                  —Matthew 22.19-21

The coin, stamped with the emperor’s image,
is the emperor’s.
Give it to the emperor.

And I, made in your image, God,
are yours.
I give myself to you.

What will it mean
to give myself to you today?
How might I drop the coin of my life
into your open hand,
each moment again,
to give myself away
for you to spend
as you please?

I give myself to you.

         
         

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 14, 2014  Leave a comment

More than enough

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         ”My presence will go with you,
                  and I will give you rest….
         I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,
                  and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy….
         You cannot see my face;
                  you may see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

                           —from Exodus 33.14-23

You,

more present than I can see or feel,
more gracious than I can understand,
more loving than makes sense.

I rest from needing to know,
I rest from having to believe,
I rest even from faith and from wisdom.

I see enough.
I receive enough.
You are here, more than enough,
pure goodness, more than enough.

      
         

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 13, 2014  Leave a comment

My golden calf

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                 
O God, my golden calf is my self:
this “me” that I worship and defend,
the self that controls me,
that I serve above all other gods.
I am my own highest power.

I am obsessed with how I appear to myself,
to others, and especially to the God I imagine,
who is a projection of my self.
My religion is being good enough,
either smug that I am or despairing that I’m not,
always desperately trying to be.

I can’t crush the idol and be done with it.
Every day I face the idol of my self,
what it wants, how it thinks, how it moves me.
Only You can set me free.

O Love, set me free. Lead me out of Egypt.
I surrender my self and my captivity to it.
I turn my heart to You and your steady love.
I let your love set my course, guide me, move me.
I step out of myself and come to you
as your Beloved, helpless and adoring as an infant.

I am a beam of your love.
Apart from you I am nothing, but in you I am light.
Your love is my constant, my all, my life.
Your love is the very stuff of my self.
My self is not an image of me, but of you:
I am the image of your love,
fashioned by you,
alive in this world by your grace.
You alone are my God.
You Are.
You.

         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

October 10, 2014  Leave a comment

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