The wrath of God

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         You withdrew all your wrath;
                  you turned from your hot anger.
         Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
                  and put away your indignation toward us.
         Will you be angry with us forever?
                  Will you prolong your anger to all generations?

                           —Psalm 85.3-5

The wrath of God is not like ours. When eros, love that is attraction, is frustrated, it turns to violence, a desire to destroy. When philios, love that is kinship, is frustrated, it turns to indifference and dismissal, a desire to separate. But when agape, love that is self-giving, is frustrated, it is still self-giving.

The wrath of God is born of love, made of love, and for the sake of love. God’s anger is anger at the disturbance of wholeness, so God responds not with the will toward brokenness?to destroy, condemn or expel? but with the will toward wholeness. Wrath born of agape is not anger at people, but anger at evil and injustice and the suffering it causes. It’s burning passion to heal things. God’s wrath is not punishment; it’s an invitation to feel. God holds our feet to the fire of our own making, allows us to feel the agony we cause, feel God’s own anguish for us. We experience it as an inner disturbance that makes us uneasy, a desire for justice that hurts until we act. Injustice endures because we don’t mind it.  God’s wrath is the rage that says “I do mind.  I can’t stand this, and I won’t: I will do something about it.” We feel the heat until we change.

The challenge is to channel that heat into love. Our natural tendency is to protect ourselves, so the temptation is to turn even righteous anger at injustice into mere anger, judgment or violence. But violence is not an act of love. Violence is an outburst of powerlessness. It only adds to the brokenness. And the anger still remains.  It still burns.  Holy rage is not against others, it is against evil– and I myself harbor evil.  God’s wrath is not mine to use to punish people I don’t like; it’s upon me to move me to do my part to heal the world, by making me hurt until I do something about it. 

In love, not self-protection, not self-justification, but self-giving, the wrath of God issues in love, in acts of healing and justice. To bear the cross is to rage against evil with love and gentleness. To rage against injustice without falling into judgment or violence is a hard calling. But because God’s wrath is loving, to bear that rage is to bear love, if we will open our hearts to it.

         My heart recoils within me;
                  my compassion grows warm and tender.
         I will not execute my fierce anger;
                  I will not again destroy Ephraim;
         for I am God and no mortal,
                  the Holy One in your midst,
                  and I will not come in wrath.

                            –Hosea 11.8-9
   
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 22, 2016  Leave a comment

Root yourself


                           A meditation on Colossians 2.7-8

You received as a gift
God’s presence
embodied in Jesus,
the captain of your soul.
         Be mindful and thankful
         for how God has been present for you.

Live as part of God’s embodied presence.
Root yourself deeply in Christ.
         Root yourself, deeply embedded,
         present for God.

Grow and become more whole
in your trust,
true to your experience,
overflowing with gratitude.
         Let yourself fill with trust and gratitude.

Don’t let anyone hijack your faith
with fear and lies,
with selfish agendas,
with human prejudices and power structures.
Keep your trust in Christ.
         Despite all fear and hatred around you
         pray that you stay rooted in Christ.

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

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July 21, 2016  Leave a comment

The prayer of Jesus

         

Our Mother, our Father, Source of our being,
whose presence is heaven,
all Creation sings of you, “Holy!”
May your Realm unfold among us,
your desire be fulfilled,
this world blossoming out of your delight.
Give us the breath of life, one breath at a time.
Accept our brokenness;
give us acceptance of others who are broken.
Lead us beyond our desires
and save us from the grip of evil.
For the world is within you;
all power is from you,
and all glory is about you,
in eternity, which is in the present moment.
Amen.

         

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 20, 2016  Leave a comment

Ask

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Ask, and it will be given you;
         search, and you will find;
         knock, and the door will be opened for you.
                  
         For everyone who asks receives,
         and everyone who searches finds,
         and for everyone who knocks,
         the door will be opened.

                                    —Luke 11.9-10

Faith is not having; it’s searching.
Faith is not knowing; it’s asking.
Faith is not having arrived;
         it’s knocking on the door.

See how often the Teacher praises people’s faith
knowing nothing of their beliefs or their attitudes,
only that they are reaching out.
Faith is reaching out.

Certainty doesn’t draw us near to God.
The lived question does, the open hand,
opening ourselves to what flows new each moment.

We are leaves turning toward the sun,
lovers longing for our lovers,
children calling for mommy,
swimmers coming up for breath.

Trusting the Beloved’s generosity,
deepen your pleading.
Let everything you do, every moment,
be an opening, a breathing in,
an ardent search,
a reaching out to God.

Look! The door is opening.
      
         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 19, 2016  Leave a comment

The constancy of God

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         

As deftly and finally as one pulls out a thread
someone is weaving them, gracefully tying them,
minute and irreversible.

In the towering sky, even under the fortress,
root tendrils muscle in and bind ligaments
through an abyss we had been told was absolute.

No enormity of terror
can keep up
with the steady, unseen healing.

Before the assault, the horrible wound,
gaping and exposed,
the stitching has already begun.

Even as we sigh in our own world,
moving on, separate,
we are being sewn in.

In the earthquake, the collapsing mountains,
not a bit of rubble falls
on the path from the temple.

If you could hold your immortal soul
in your hands, you would hardly recognize it
from one moment to the next.

Your grave is already empty.

 

         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

(2006)
__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 18, 2016  Leave a comment

Martha, Martha

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Martha, Martha, you are worried
                  and distracted by many things;
         there is need of only one thing.

                           —Luke 10.41-42

No matter the results and outcomes,
     the thousand possibilities,
          you are here now.

Why even try to trace
     what the beggar will do with your money?
          Let your giving be the whole horizon.

Be lovingly present
     and wars and stars and grief and cats alike
          will be unable to trouble you.

At the center of the world and in each breath
     this is the holy temple, the birthing moment:
          giving and receiving love. That is all.

This is the sacred point,
     the love in you
          meeting the love in the world.

However broken or weary you are,
     bring yourself here, in love,
          now.

         
        
         
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

July 15, 2016  Leave a comment

Lives that matter

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Mary sat at the Lord’s feet
         and listened to what he was saying.
                 
 —Luke 10.39

         Where your treasure is,
         there your heart will be also.
                 
 —Luke 12.34

What matters to us is what we pay attention to.
When nobody pays attention to people,
when they are not heard,
they get the message that their life does not matter.

If their lives matter they must first matter to you.
Today you will encounter someone
who’s gotten the message their life doesn’t matter.
You can show otherwise by listening to them.
You can hear their story, hear their heart,
listen to what they are saying.

And if it really matters to you,
speak up for them that they may be heard,
give them the microphone,
that they may bear that treasure into the world.

Until they are heard
their lives matter
only to God.

  
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 14, 2016  Leave a comment

Mule

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Some mornings
I wake up a king,
anointed, anticipated,
shining.

Some mornings
I wake up a pilgrim,
on a journey yet unseen,
but on a road laid out
with adventures to be met.

Some mornings
I wake up a mule.
No power to wield,
nowhere to go,
just me, just here,
dull and pointless.

Those days
I must be
most vigilant and ready,
for my master
is a good samaritan
and I never know
when I will be needed
for something luminous.

 

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

July 13, 2016  Leave a comment

One thing is needed

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Martha, Martha, you are worried
                  and distracted by many things;
         there is need of only one thing.

                           —Luke 10.41-42

There will be the clutter and clatter of pans,
the rumble and jumble of traffic and trains,
the brambles of papers and lists and calls,
the beaten paths, the errands, the chores.

You don’t have to rattle and run with them.
You can do one thing at a time.

You can stop
and sit at the feet of the moment,
pay reverent attention to whatever it is,
and listen to the silence beneath the hum,
and simply be
in the the presence of the presence.

In all your doing that you surely must do,
you still can just be.
And your being
will become
what you do.

In the stillness within the action
sits the Beloved
who is not distracted with many things,
but only wants to sit awhile with 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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 12, 2016  Leave a comment

God grant you grace

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
God grant you the eyes of heaven
         to see each person’s divine belovedness
                  and so find joy.

God grant you a listening heart
         to hear the cries of the silenced,
                  and so gain wisdom.

God grant you humility
         that unburdened by yourself
                  you may be free.

God grant you courage
         to enter the world’s dark wounds,
                  and so bring healing. 

God grant you patience,
         to know the strength of the long journey,
                  and so be given hope.

God grant you a heart of love,
         to be moved to action,
                  and so receive deep peace.  

God grant you God’s own spirit
         to share in the healing of the world,
                  and so know God’s deep delight.

         

         
         
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

July 11, 2016  Leave a comment

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