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

Make gods for us

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         The people gathered around Aaron, and said to him,
         ”Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us.”

                  —Exodus 32.1

We tire of believing in a God so slippery,
a Lover so invisible,
so we make little ones
that we can set somewhere and not lose.

The golden calf of being busy.
The idol of producing.
The image of conforming.
The little god of being right.

We worship the god of having things under control.
We bow down to the idol of understanding things.
We give our gold to fashion the calf of being liked.
We adore the image of a happy, easy life.

Forgive us, God.
Take away our golden idols
that have so spectacularly failed us
and give us yourself instead.

Teach us to repent with each breath.
Help us to let go and trust
your Mystery, your Presence,
your Infinity, your Love.

         
         
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 9, 2014  Leave a comment

Good and bad

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
          The servants went out into the streets
          and gathered all whom they found,
          both good and bad;
          so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

                    —Matthew 22.10      

The poison ivy in the woods this morning was lovely.
The fall colors sparkled after last night’s bath,
the rocks and trees glistened,
everything shone. Especially the poison ivy.
At the divine wedding banquet,
the feast of love and faithfulness,
everyone is invited.

The Creator knows each one’s sacred worth and beauty,
the venomous snake, the innocent mosquito.
Even the hurtful ones belong.

At the feast, one who isn’t dressed to celebrate,
not ready to dine with “those people,”
or feeling unworthy to wear your finest,
will miss out.
Wear a party dress, not a judge’s robe.

In the lovely woods of human society everyone shines,
everyone belongs, both good and bad.
Come to the table.

         
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 8, 2014  Leave a comment

Praying

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
Perhaps you are the empty piece of paper.
Perhaps you are the pen.

Maybe you are the listening,
the silence ready to bloom.

A tree with open branches
waits for the bird.

The poet walks on beaches,
searching for the word.

She watches someone coming
in a little wooden boat.

Her body is not set aside, but still,
and also a shoreline, also a boat.

The sea awaits what she will hear,
like her opening over and over.

Her waiting is her love,
and what the blue dawn has to say.

The letter is full of the lover
and the beloved.

The rain is already falling
but hasn’t yet arrived.

The word, still unrevealed,
is in the air.

         
         
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 7, 2014  Leave a comment

Ready

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         

                  

Today beauty will haunt me

prayer will seek me

justice will need me

love will weave me

joy will find me.

         
         
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 6, 2014  Leave a comment

The wicked tenants

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

In Matthew 21.33-43 Jesus tells a parable about tenants who withhold the vineyard’s harvest from the landowner. He asks religious leaders what the owner would do and they say, “Kill them and lease the vineyard to people who will hand over a harvest.” Jesus doesn’t agree with them but simply says, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

Maybe: If you are not faithful God will punish you and throw you out. That seems to be what some people believe.

Maybe: The Jews botched real religion, so God gave it to the Christians, even though the Jews rejected them. That seems to be what some early believers thought.

Maybe: Institutional leaders—people with power and privilege responsible for the “vine” of God’s people— have botched it, and their response to the story reveals how judgmental like them they think God is, without grasping that their judgment is on themselves . That seems to be what Jesus’ hearers would have noticed.

Maybe: The forces of commerce and empire always lead to violence. God invites us to choose another way, a way rejected by others. That seems to be borne out in the news.

Maybe: The Church has done a lousy job of bearing God’s love into the world, and we are experiencing the consequences of our failure, while other people outside the church are picking up the slack. That seems to be what’s happening in many churches.

Maybe: I am an unfaithful steward of my own life, keeping my divine gifts to myself instead of sharing them. When I consider this, I expect God to be angry with me—a fear the religious leaders voice, though Jesus does not agree. Instead, though I judge and “reject” myself, God makes me the cornerstone of my life, and entrusts me with my life and its gifts anyway. Maybe God asks for fruitfulness and offers mercy. That seems to be what God is inviting me with.

What is God saying to you?

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 3, 2014  Leave a comment

The Ten Truths of Moses

I All is One. (There is only one thing, One Being. Don’t settle for anything less than The One. “Have no other gods.”)

II The Beloved is greater than your knowing. (Let go of your understanding of reality and simply behold it. Let go of your image of the Beloved and just love. “Have no graven image.”)

III You can love God, but not use God. (God is beyond your controlling or defining. “Don’t use God’s name.”)

IV Life is a gift. (Let go. Stop playing God. Even God does not play God. Be nothing, powerless and empty-handed. Let God be God. Take time to stop doing and be. “Honor the Sabbath.”)

V You belong. (You receive great gifts from those who have come before you, and who surround you, and all the living beings who provide for you, simply because you are here. Show gratitude. “Honor your elders.”)

VI Life is sacred. (Life itself is the presence of the Holy One. Do what gives life. Refrain from all that diminishes life. “Do not kill.”)

VII The heart of life is faithful love. (God is faithful. All of life is a Covenant. Be faithful. “Don’t commit adultery.”)

VIII We are all in this together. (Possession is an illusion. Resist the temptation to think of yourself as separate from others, or of others as a resource, or yourself as more deserving than they. Seek to bless others rather than to take anything from them. See to it that all have what they need. “Don’t steal.”)

IX Illusion is powerful, but truthfulness is more so. (To free yourself from the power of illusion, be truthful in all things. “Don’t bear false witness.”)

X You are a source, not an end point. (Relinquish possessiveness. Let go of things. Be giving instead of grasping. Share. “Don’t covet.”)

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 2, 2014  Leave a comment

Hunger

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
Geese are flowing south.

My eyes are hungry for these fall colors,
not satisfied, grazing, feeding.
A hunger, an appetite leans, reaches.

The love you crave,
the presence you long for,
the voice of the One
is right there. Reach out for it.

Not a possessing, but a lending forth,
a receiving, a giving, an embrace.

The trees will pay all their leaves for it,
the river spends itself to come closer.

The hawk lays all of its weight on the air
circling for it.

The vines with their ripened berries
take on their dying colors
to become something new.

Don’t starve yourself.
Stop thinking it silly
to yearn for what you yearn for.

Why trudge from town to town,
slouch from bar to bar,
with a newspaper clipping
searching for your lost lover?
(When we don’t know we’re drunk
we do stupid things.)

The Beloved is here in this room,
closer than your thoughts.

Undress from your mastery.
Take off the uniform of understanding.

Breathe in, breathe out.
That longing, that seeking,
even the sadness
is the Holy One
reaching for 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 1, 2014  Leave a comment

Love poem

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  

If I write a love poem
you will read it.

If I say my lover’s eyes are oceans, or galaxies
you will understand.

If I say I long for the feel of the curve of her waist
your hands will feel empty.

If I say her comfort is my earth
you will smile to yourself.

If I say she is larger than the world
you will grow confused.

If I say she is older than music
you will become wary.

If I say she is God
you will sigh and put the book down.

What can I do but sing of my love,
her hands like fields of wheat?

So I will not tell you the secret part,
only that her mouth is a river I kneel and drink from,

her love makes dawn arise in me,
her voice is like rain.

         
         
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

September 30, 2014  Leave a comment

Even later I am here

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  

Early morning, I walk in the woods.
I grow roots, my lungs are green.
After I return I am still here.

I sit in prayer.
I become my candle, light slipping out.
After I rise I am still here.

I rest in your presence.
You overflow in me.
Even when I forget, I am still here.

In the meeting, in the city,
under the fluorescent lights,
I am still with you,
overflowing with you,
bathed in your light,
sheltered by trees.

         
         
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

September 29, 2014  Leave a comment

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