Eternal life

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         We know that we have passed from death to life
         because we love one another.

                  —1 John 3.14

When we love we give ourselves away;
we leave ourselves and their boundaries.
The flower becomes the beauty, the scent,
the seed becomes the fruit, the taste, the meal.
The lover becomes the love, the beloved.
We rise from our deaths
and enter the eternal life of God.

This is how you know you’re resurrected:
you love people.
Without love you are still dead,
tombed in that hard, dark nut,
waiting to die to death
and love forever.
Loving, you are free,
a rose that never ceases
unfolding with beauty,
infinite and deep,
a spring flowing
from the heart of God.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

April 23, 2015  Leave a comment

Earth Day

      
         
                  
Earth, my earth, my mother, my life,
dust of my making, home of my dying,
I honor you; I honor your loving Creator.

Gobi, Denali, Amazon, Serengeti,
steppe and ocean, garden and stream,
herd and hive, flock and forest,
we are one being, one life, one living cell.
May we waken to our unity,
and renew our reverence for you.
Handwork of God, intricate gift,
teach us beauty, creativity and joy.

We say we love nature,
that God comes to us in you;
but still we despoil you,
and so we treat God.
May we repent of our self-serving abuse of you,
honor you in all we do,
and emulate your self-giving.

Earth, our home, our family, our self,
may the grace and glory of God
speak in us as surely as in you.

         
         

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

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

April 22, 2015  Leave a comment

Shepherd me

      
         
Shepherd me, Beloved.
You provide all I need. A gift.
You give me belonging in this abundant Creation.
You set me free and hold me safe; I can relax.
You breathe life into me. I receive you.
         Your grace … I receive.

Move me in a path with heart.
I’ll follow you.
Even through fear and danger,
even through death and my fear of it
I’ll follow you, right with you,
your hand on my back,
your peace in my gut.
         Your love … I follow.

Give me peace with those who trouble me;
for we feast at your table together,
my enemies and I, your beloved.
         All of us … your beloved.

Your blessing fills me up;
your grace overflows from me.
Your gentle, loving mercy surrounds me
like this air, holds me like this earth.
I am in you.
         Forever … in you.
         

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

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

April 21, 2015  Leave a comment

Patriots Day

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
               
Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts (and Maine, which—go figure— used to be part of Massachusetts). It commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War with the “shot heard round the world” on April 19, 1775 some eight miles from here. It’s thought of as the “birth of liberty,” though it wasn’t so for the guys who got killed. Also occurring these days here is the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. We’re contemplating the death penalty, supposedly making that awful thing better by adding one more killing.

Sad, isn’t it, that we can’t imagine how to be free without killing somebody? Human history is full of human sacrifices on altars, crosses and battlefields. But none of the slaughter seems to have actually set us free, has it?

Meanwhile, on Patriot’s Day we run the Boston Marathon, a race in which everybody cheers for everybody. Everybody wants everybody else to do their best. True, only one person “wins,” but nobody feels like that. In the wake of the bombing two years ago it was even more like that: in the face of violence everybody helped everybody in their distress. What a beautiful way to live.

We always have a choice whether to make demands or offer blessings, to take life or give it. We can fare well without making others fare poorly. We can be free without making somebody else pay for it. We can forgive and not blame, aid people in their challenges and distress, and help everyone do their best. We can live in the Spirit of the one who healed and did not hurt, who blessed and did not curse, who gave and did not demand, who won and did not make anybody lose, who truly set us free on that other spring morning long ago, making the sacrifice heard round the world.
         
         
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 unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

April 20, 2015  Leave a comment

Psalm 4

O Love, when I cry out in silence,
         you are the One Who Hears.
Between the rock and the hard place,
         you give me room.

I have carried the stone of shame too far,
         as if opinions could give me life,
         as if human judgment is not a lie.
But you, Beloved, hold me close,
         and know who I truly am.
When I am disturbed I am still yours.
         I soak in this grace, silent,
         letting it seep into me.

I surrender everything to your love.
         Help me to trust this with my life.
I ignore the cynics who don’t see
         your blessing in everything,
         your face beaming at me.
You are a gushing spring of joy in me,
         my jackpot, my victory dance.

In your peace I can stop. I let go.
         I lie down.
In your peace I can sleep.
         I am safe. I am yours.
         

         
         

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

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

April 17, 2015  Leave a comment

My child, my Beloved

         See what great love we are given
                  that God would say, “You are my children.”
         …When God is revealed, we will be like God,
                  for we will see God as God truly is.

                           —1 John 3.1, 2

My child, my Beloved,
you cannot see this now
but you are like me,
and one day this will be revealed.
Trust this, and let it cleanse you of all fear.

My love, breathe me in.
Breathe me out.

For your anxiety I give you my peace,
for your weariness, my rest,
for your sin, my forgiveness,
for your sorrow, my comfort,
for your struggles, my fortitude,
for your brokenness, my healing,
for your not knowing, my patience,
for your struggles, my blessing.

My child, my Beloved,
I give you my love,
I give you my beauty,
I give you my grace,
I give you myself.

My love, I am with you always,
and within you always.
Go in peace; do not be afraid;
and overflow with my love.
Breathe me in. Breathe me out.

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

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

April 16, 2015  Leave a comment

Repentance and forgiveness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         This is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be practiced in his name for all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
                  —Luke 24.46-47

Yes, I changed, it, didn’t I? Luke says repentance and forgiveness are to be “proclaimed” or “preached.” That suggests our work is to tell people they should repent and be forgiven. But they don’t need any more people telling them to change their ways. They need people to show them how. They need us to practice repentance, to turn to God, and to turn to God again, and yet again to return. They need us to practice forgiveness, to forgive all their sins, all of them, as absolutely and unconditionally as God does. In forgiveness, letting go and turning to God, we embody resurrection and make it real. Resurrection doesn’t happen as long as we hold on to sins and wrongdoing, or judgment or bitterness about them. Resurrection happens when we allow ourselves and others to start anew. When we set aside our demands and expectations and just love, Christ is risen indeed. The only way to preach Christ and proclaim resurrection is to love. We proclaim resurrection throughout the world by practicing repentance and forgiveness.

May the Risen Christ daily raise us from our tombs of shame, regret and judgment, and set us free. May the living Christ return us every moment to the arms of God.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

April 15, 2015  Leave a comment

Joy and disbelieving

      
         …In their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering…
                  —Luke 24.41

God,
it’s all here at once,
joy and disbelieving,
dullness and wonder.

Let my joy flower,
my disbelieving keep on wondering.
Give me the faith to watch in amazement,
to finally know what I know,
to rejoice before I understand.

Wonder, lead me
where I wouldn’t go without you.
O soul, drag me into the dance,
guided in your arms,
looking into my Savior’s eyes,
without even knowing it.

         
         

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

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

April 14, 2015  Leave a comment

Doubting Thomas

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
The marsh is drowned onyx water,
cattails bent and shot and shredded,
matted grasses the color of cardboard,
the color of not caring,
the last of the snow shadows dying alone,
trees still shrugging, empty handed.
There’s not a fleck of green here,
only this roughly woven shroud of death,
ice in the morning, and still a biting wind.

Why would your hands believe in spring?
Not in some faithful promises
but actual relief—your fingers
this morning you should have worn gloves,
your flesh this moment hurting?

Then don’t belittle those who doubt.
Thomas, your twin, you yourself,
who also once needed to believe,
don’t chide the ones who need to touch,
who need to feel: they ache from cold.
They ache for more than hope,
for what in some moment
maybe you alone can give them:
something they can put their hand in,
which alone might bring them back to life,
no miracle, no brilliant faith, but just
a little bit of softness, warmth, or light.

         
         

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

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

April 13, 2015  Leave a comment

Waiting Thomas

      
         ”Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
         and put my finger in the mark of the nails
         and my hand in his side,
         I will not believe.”

                  —John 20.25

Thomas longed for a Christ he didn’t have,
aware of the great space between them,
not driven to fill it.

There is a loneliness of the Spirit,
not sadness, not pathetic at all,
but a homesickness,
remembering what we long for,
patient with our unknowing,
and the dullness of our knowing,
trusting there is always more of the Beloved
than we can sense,
a great, wide solitude
we won’t clutter with less or other.

Such spaciousness leaves room
for those deep sighs
and profound joys
and mostly those calm, roomy smiles
of the saints.

         

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

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

April 10, 2015  Leave a comment

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