Good Friday

         
         
You, my love, my victim, my mystery,
so close to my splinters,
so faithful to my nails,
bleeding my blood, crying my
                  silence,
all of my aching for,
all of my running from,
my suicide foisted,
my horrid, ruin, my anguish, my
                  sorry,

you, my grief, my trembling, my can’t,
my hollowing sorrow, my lonely, my
                  dead,

you, our excuse, our cursing, our blind,
our using confusing abusing,
our that’s bow it goes, our system,
so fit of our shadow, so form of our fear,
our prey, our failure to
                  pray,

how can I face you,
wearing my face,
how can I see you,
being my stranger, my other, my
                   us,

with these eyes so broken?
this anguish so whole? this heart so
                  un?

Yet you, so emptied of fear, of self, of have,
so poured out, so vacant of all of it
                  but God,
cleaned out in forgiveness, dying for love,—
you are so here, so yes, so alive,
so far beyond death’s reach, so surely already
                  risen.

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

April 18, 2014  Leave a comment

Wash my feet

         
         

Christ, my Lord,
my Supreme, my Master,
my slave on your knees,
wash my feet.

Let me chafe at the wrongness of it,
and wonder at its grace,
eternally confounded.

For my request,
and for my failure to request,
be gracious to me.
At my feet come between me
and my pride and self-hatred.

Bathe me in your mercy,
wash away my judging mind,
baptize me in self-emptying,
cleanse me with forgiveness.

That which I withhold in shame
make beautiful.

Christ, for you
who wash the feet of the despised,
who serve and honor your Beloved,
I accept my place.

In every moment of my day,
for every person I meet:
no greater than my master,
may I kneel.

O Christ my Slave,
my Savior,
wash my feet.

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

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

April 17, 2014  Leave a comment

At the cross

         
         

His pain that I cannot stand.

My hands nailed, helpless.

This absence that is a weight.

This grief so like death, so living.

This regret, unwelcome predator.

What I could have done, and why not.

My weight he bears, that lifts him up.

He came to find me in my ruin.

This is the part when I cannot know.

Only later: that I was not alone.

Love that holds even death in its arms.

         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

April 16, 2014  Leave a comment

Passion prayer

         
         
Jesus took a loaf of bread,
and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples,
and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

        For all those who offer hospitality,
        who give of themselves,
        who offer love in the midst of evil, we pray:
Lord have mercy.

He said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
        For those who pray, in monasteries or on streets,
        who long for peace, who seek your guidance, we pray:
Lord have mercy.

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
        For all who are in prison, justly or unjustly,
        that they may have hope,
        and know they are beloved and accompanied, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

They spat in his face and struck him.
        For all those who are hurtful and those whom they hurt,
        for victims of torture and domestic violence,
        and all who are coerced or humiliated, we pray,
Lord, have mercy.

At that moment the cock crowed.
And Peter went out and wept bitterly.

        For our our failure to love as you have loved us,
        for our complicity in injustice,
        for your forgiveness for all our sin, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

They crucified him.
        For all victims of injustice, individual and collective,
        for all who know poverty, terror or abuse,
        for all who are afraid or in pain, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
        For all who are alone,
        for all who cannot know they are loved, we pray:
Lord, have mercy.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there,
sitting opposite the tomb.

        For all who are in mourning,
        for the sorrows of the world,
        and for the restoration of our joy, we pray:
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

__________________
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

April 15, 2014  Leave a comment

Holy Week

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
In the woods this morning it was balmy. Snow has melted into pools lying in the low places. New birdsongs are strung like bunting among the trees. I saw one little shrub with the first tiny green leaves of spring. A couple of crocuses and daffodils are up. It’s enough to get you thinking about resurrection. Except that flowers, lovely as they are, don’t comprehend the whole mystery. For that I need Holy Week.

In Holy Week we hear a story that we want to suppress but is always lurking in our hearts. We participate in a feast of forgiveness that we desperately need, and we are drawn into a community of love that is created in the midst of our worst brokenness and our darkest sorrow. We are invited to enter the suffering of the world. We experience the mystery that in our loneliness and agony we are accompanied; in our sorrow we are blessed; in our sin we are forgiven; in our messed up lives we are changed; in our death we are given new life.

Easter is not merely about the cycle of life and the return of greenery after its hibernation through winter. It’s about God’s radical transformation of us and our lives, about how when we surrender to God’s grace, we are changed into new people. When we give ourselves in love, God gives us new life. Resurrection is no mere happy ending, a return of life that was there all along but hiding: it’s about a beginning, about new life, life out of actual total death, life that really wasn’t there before at all. In Holy Week we experience the love that saves us from our fear and liberates us into a new life.

To prepare for Easter it’s OK to do the candy and Easter Bunnies and the bright flowers. But don’t forget the whole mystery: that God has met us at our worst, confronted our willingness to murder and exploit and cause suffering, our deep complicity in evil, injustice and oppression; and God has overthrown the power of our evil, forgiven us, and raised us up to a new way of living. Walk in the woods with the flowers. But don’t neglect to walk the Via Dolorosa with Jesus.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

April 14, 2014  Leave a comment

The heart of Christ

         
         

                  
Merciful God,
grant me the heart of Christ,
who walks with those who suffer.

Grant me the spirit of Christ,
who goes among his enemies with love.

Grant me the courage of Christ,
who stands by the afflicted and cries out.

Grant me the hope of Christ,
who confronts injustice without despair.

Grant me the trust of Christ,
who allows your Spirit to lead him.

Grant me the peace of Christ,
who faces his end with clear eyes.

Grant me the life and death of Christ,
whom you give to the world
and raise from the dead.

Merciful God, grant me the presence of Christ,
that it may be not I, but Christ
who lives in me with your perfect love.
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

April 11, 2014  Leave a comment

The lambs

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         

I walk out the road to the farm
where the lambs graze quietly,
confident in their meadow,
and I want to warn them
of the sacrifice to come,
to ask them, Do you know
how we seek our comfort
with a knife,
and seek it, and seek it,
our impossible belonging?

And the lambs look at me
calmly, Yes, we know,
as we have known
for these thousands of years,
and we are dying for you to learn.

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

April 8, 2014  Leave a comment

Violence

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
I cast my suffering away and bind it onto you—
or so I think.
But pain is a thick cord, a sticky strand,
a thread spun deep within that does not break.
The web, once woven, only joins.
Every act of cruelty or blame, every thought
that someone deserves some pain,
every permission given for one to suffer
for another, secretes another thread,
a stronger cord, and weaves a thicker web.
I cast the lines, and they wholly bind me.
Anger winds me in its sheets.
I am matted together in one mass
with all whom I have rejected or hurt.
I am covered in my own life-sucking cocoon,
unable to move, to breathe, to imagine,
doomed never to change from life into life —
until, because we are wrapped together,
I see my victim, my neighbor as myself,
and in the burning anguish of my seeing
dissolve the binding ropes, and then
come out, so fragile and small,
and willing to be wounded,
finally free.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

April 7, 2014  Leave a comment

Go and die with him

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Let us also go, that we may die with him.
—John 11.16

Christ, let me come and die with you.
To you who do miracles, but not always,
I confess that I want you to fix things,
make me an exception, excuse me from pain,
save me from darkness, keep me from death.
But you do not go that way, do you?
You walk through the valley of shadows,
the weakness, the loss, the regret.

No escape is required. There is no blame.
It is the valley where we live, this light
and shadowed place, the life we have,
a journey of surrender, every landmark
a gravestone. Yet here, in this darkness,
you are present, loving, and listening,
You make a holy space for my grieving,
my anger, my doubt, my fear.

And in that holy space you make a door
and walk through it, and bid me come,
to let go of all I cling to, all my old life,
all that’s crushed by grief and ruined by loss;
not to avoid death but to be transformed,
not to stay happy but to die and be raised.
You bid me come, be Martha, empty handed;
be Thomas, willing and self-giving;
be Christ, weeping for love, weeping.
You bid me come, be Lazarus, wrapped
in the bands of my self, my little life,
settled in my tomb and the death of my powers,
hearing your voice,
“Come out!”

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.

April 4, 2014  Leave a comment

Prophesy

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

The spirit of the Lord brought me out
and set me down in the middle of a valley;
it was full of bones.

—Ezekiel 37.1

Can you prophesy to the dry bones?
Can you go down into the dark valley
and tell the bones that life will come,
that they will rise?
Can you tell the slave bones,
the Holocaust bones, the Hiroshima bones?
Can you go down to the slum,
down to death row and tell them?
Down to the shabby streets where they breathe
the poison from your factories,
the meat packing houses where they work
until you deport them, can you tell them?

Can you prophesy to the wind,
to the breath of God, can you speak to hope
and tell it to come to these people,
speak to life and tell it to rise up in them?
No to command life, but to let your life
be a shout of hope?

Can you prophesy to your own bones,
or is there no breath with them, no Spirit?
Go down into that valley and watch and wait
until you know—and don’t come back
until you know, for you will know—
and plead,
and stay
until you know.

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.

April 3, 2014  Leave a comment

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