I believe in the resurrection of the body

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
In the beginning
the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.

What mother would withhold a kiss?
What lover would prefer a thought
to a lover’s body, flesh to flesh?

Yet frightened by our hunger for it—
for the body is the body of God—
a fussy child, we pushed it away,
punished flesh as if it were to blame
(How dare God come to us
so alluring, arousing and fragile?),
crucified it—humanity cutting itself—
and flung the flesh of the Word
back into the darkness.

And in the dark and chaos, again
the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.

God, who still can’t resist the carnal embrace,
comes to us embodied,
resurrected in the flesh—
Thomas made sure—wounded, but holy,
and so the body restored, all flesh redeemed:

not angelic light-bodies,
but this good thing, chosen,
the ordinary body, the real,
too old, too fat, bad hair,
the body that knows how to give,
how to weep, how to tremble,
yes, the body hungry enough
to grasp what the mind cannot,
yes, yes, the very body
sitting there
reading this.

         
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 23, 2014  Leave a comment

Earth Day

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
God created the earth and called it good (Gen. 1); therefor we honor it.

God gave us the gift of Creation for our sustenance (Gen. 1.29); therefore we receive God’s gift with mindfulness, with praise and thanksgiving.

Creation is a form of the Word of God—“The heavens are telling the glory of God” (Ps. 19.1-2) and is a source of wisdom; therefore we approach it not with selfish greed but with reverence.

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Ps. 24.1) and it is not ours; therefore we do not presume to take it for ourselves.

As God is our “keeper” (Ps. 121), God charges us with tending the earth and “keeping” it (Gen. 2.15), not exploiting it or using it up; therefore we care for Creation and preserve it.

We humans are created from humus, the dust of the earth (Gen. 2.7); therefore we treat it with humility.

Just as we are branches of the vine of Christ (John 15) and members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12) we are one with all of life; therefore we extend compassion to all living things and love our neighbor—even non-human ones—as ourselves.

Like Christ we have been sent “not to be served but to serve” (Mk. 20.45); therefore our work is not to “conquer” nature but to serve it.

“You have defiled my land,” says God (Jer. 2.7), and we are under God’s judgment for our destructiveness (Jer. 1.10); therefore we take seriously the evil of our destructiveness.

“The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants” (Isa. 24.5), and suffers because of our injustice, and bears the grief of our evil (Jer. 12.4); it also rejoices at our good and celebrates justice with us (Isa. 35.1); therefore we weep with the land and its ruin, and repent of our evil and seek to restore the earth and our reverence for it.

God says, “I have set before you life and death; choose life” (Deut. 30.19).

God, help us to to choose life: to show reverence for all life; to honor, protect and serve Creation; to resist exploitation and destruction in whatever forms they present themselves; to live gently on the land; and to rejoice in your Creation with humility, gratitude, curiosity and praise. Amen.
         
         
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 22, 2014  Leave a comment

Out of the Ordinary

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
Out of darkness, light.
Out of chaos, Creation.
        This is not the sequel to previous episodes.

Out of the dust of the earth, humans.
Out of slavery, freedom.
        All explanations are a frantic ruse.

Out of death, life.
Out of the grave, Christ, living.
        Proof is dust and darkness, not light.

Out of order, a mystery.
Out of the realm of possibility, a hidden grace.
        What your mind can grasp is not the mightiest.
        
Out of bounds, boundless blessing.
Out of body, a body.
        What is given is greater than what is seen.

Out of desperation, forgiveness.
Out of your wreckage, beginning.
        God can say “Let there be light” more than once.

Out of your grave, a door.
Out of reach from death, the life of love.
        Let your self go; only the love of God remains.

Out of your past, a new thing.
Out of the ordinary, glory.
        Do you believe God can change you?

Either this, or nothing.

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 21, 2014  Leave a comment

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
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

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