The heart of it

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         You have heard, “You shall not murder,”
                  but I say if you yell at somebody,
                  you will be liable to judgment.
         You have heard, “You shall not commit adultery,”
                  but I say if you look at someone lustfully
                  you have just committed adultery.

                           —from Matthew 5.21-28

Jesus is not skipping the law,
nor reinterpreting it.
He’s getting at the heart of it:
not a rule you can get around,
but an invitation to love.
He’s drawing us deeper into it,
into actually caring about the other person,
not just making sure we’re legal.

Jesus help me. Guide me.
When I’m embroiled or offended,
help me love that person,
not just contain my anger,
but deeply respect and cherish them,
even as I oppose them.
When my own desires flare up,
help me to see each person
as a precious individual,
not an object for either lust or scorn,
not an object at all, but a soul,
a pilgrim on this journey with me,
blessed, imperfect, and worthy.
Help me speak and act for their sake,
for their sake, in love for them,
as you love me.
Jesus, take me deeper.

+
 

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

February 8, 2017  Leave a comment

God’s field

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         You are God’s field, God’s building.
                           — 1 Corinthians 3.9

Sown or fallow, the field opens to the sun.
A pilgrim wind runs fingers over its skin.
Shadows in the corners, a little.
Some crows visit a while, then move on.
The field looks as if sleeping, but it is dreaming.
Already what is to come
is being made possible.

The building was built by purposeful hands,
the floors and walls, the hooks on the walls,
the tools hanging on the hooks,
purposefully worn and ready.

In the rising dawn a figure stands in the doorway,
silent, then passes into the shadows.
The day is just beginning.

What unnumbered things go on
we cannot know
in the body of God.

_________________
Weather Report

Sun and rain,
both early rains and later rains,
and dry spells,
according higher purposes than yours,
yet not diminishing
the fertility of your fields.

 

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

February 6, 2017  Leave a comment

Righteousness


         Unless your righteousness exceeds
         that of the scribes and Pharisees,
         you will never experience the kingdom of heaven.

                  —Matthew 5.20

         Is not this the fast that I choose:
         to loose the bonds of injustice,
         to undo the thongs of the yoke?

                  —Isaiah 58.6

My child, I desire for you that you be surrounded
         by a world of love and joy and beauty.
I have hidden this treasure in the hearts and lives
         of people around you, especially those
who are despised and oppressed, forgotten and abused,
         the ones whose lives do not matter to the world.
To know this loveliness and nobility, to live in its world,
         you have to set those people free.
You have to undo the chains of injustice,
         and to undo their chains you have to stand with them,
         be near them, be among them, befriend them.

My law is to love. This is righteousness:
         right relationships, just and loving and freeing.
The laws I have given you are the signs but they are not the road.
         The rules are the practices but not the love.
To fulfill righteousness is to break the separations
         between you and them, rich and poor, black and white.
How can you undo the thong of the yoke
         if you do not stand with the slave?

When your righteousness exceeds being good enough
         and becomes love
then you will know this realm I have prepared for you,
         the joy and beauty I promise you,
I who love you, who stand with you,
         who set you free.

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily email
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

February 3, 2017  Leave a comment

Salt

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         You are the salt of the earth.
                  – Matthew 5.13

When the seawater finally evaporates
the pure salt of you remains.

Of the earth, stout crystal,
marvelous in your you-ness,

as first you left the Creator’s hand,
your grain, your truth,

this do not lose or trade,
or meekly become otherwise.

That of you that is purely you,
blood-mineral of life, of tears,

salting not in virtue or deeds
but essence, simply being you,

bringing out in others
their own flavor as well,

offer without apology,
with love and courage,

for God, savoring you so,
has chosen to salt this life with you.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily email
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

February 2, 2017  Leave a comment

Light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         You are light for the world.
                           —Matthew 5.14

You do not need to fetch it or make it.
         It is in you.

The chaos out there roars, so dark,
         but sit still and listen:
         
“Let there be light” speaks in your darkness.
         Let it be.

Let it become you. Fill you.
         Ageless, it claims you.

Calm, unworried by what it falls on,
         it radiates peace.

Let it shine in you,
         a simple lamp by the window,

before you bear it
         out into the world
         that needs it so badly.

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

February 1, 2017  Leave a comment

Hope

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
The Emperor shrinks.
His world is tight, walled in.
He is always shrinking,
every day a new closure.
The constricting pressure
squeezes his fear out into the world.
His darkness descends on them.

But followers of the Risen One
have seen the grave burst,
have seen the world enlarge,
light ever expanding into the darkness,
their hope radiating,
their world always opening, opening.

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

January 31, 2017  Leave a comment

The rest of us

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
We are one,
all of us,
ends of the same wire thrumming,
all fingers of one hand,
needing each other.
What is this strange lurch within,
this weight of unease,
what is this ache of dread and sorrow,
this fire, this hope,
but the cry of the rest of us?
The imprisoned and detained,
the maimed, defamed and misnamed,
the faces on the other side of the wall,
they are not strangers at all,
but the rest of us.

What is it in us
that wants to cut off ourselves
from ourselves?
Only they can save us,
our own secret selves in the dark.
Their suffering and their energy is ours
when we take to the streets to find them,
when we tear down the walls
and unbind them.

Pray for those whose lives are broken
by our brokenness.
Pray, and reach out,
until we become each other,
and are whole.

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

January 30, 2017  Leave a comment

Praying the beatitudes

         
You comfort me and snuggle me at first,
your blessings like a warm embrace,
a womb of sorts,
assurance of your peace and consolation
in poverty and mourning,
in hunger and powerlessness.
And then you stand me up
and put a hand on my back,
expecting purity of heart,
still hungering for justice.
And you usher me out the door
to be merciful among the unmerciful,
a peacemaker amidst violence,
knowing it gets worse,
accepting persecution.
This is what it is, this birthing,
to do justice, love mercy
and walk humbly with you,
out of the softness into the street,
all the while trusting you
and thanking you for your blessing,
your blessing,
your blessing.

__________________
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

January 30, 2017  Leave a comment

I will stand

         

Beloved, by your grace
I willingly accept my poverty of spirit;
         for you bless me with your Realm of love.

I honestly mourn,
         for you bless me with your comfort.

I will be gentle,
          for you bless me with the gift of the earth.

I continue to hunger and thirst for you,
         for you fill me with yourself.

I will show mercy,
         for you shower me with mercy.

I seek to be pure in heart,
         that I may see you.

I will be your peacemaker,
         for I am your child.

I will accept persecution
          for you bless me with your Realm of grace.

I gladly accept that justice and peacemaking
         attract persecution and resistance,
         for so people treat all those
         who do justice, who love kindness,
         who walk humbly with you.

In my poverty I will stand unbowed,
         for in your grace you bless me.

__________________
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

January 26, 2017  Leave a comment

Do justice

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         What does the Holy One ask of you,
         but to do justice, to love kindness,
         and to walk humbly with your God?

                           —Micah 6.8

Somewhere, nearer to you than you think,
is a man on death row who does not want special favor;
he only wants to to justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with his God.

Somewhere, nearer to you than you think,
is a trans woman of color who does not want special favor;
she only wants her gifts to be appreciated,
and to be able to be kind without fear,
and to walk in peace.

Somewhere, nearer to you than you think,
are refugees who do not want special favor;
they only want to be able to contribute,
to receive kindness, and to be faithful to their God.

Somewhere, nearer to you than you think,
is a girl who has been trafficked and abused,
who does not want special favor;
she only wants to know her power, and her loveliness,
and her partnership with God.

And what does God want of you
for the sake of these God’s beloved?
What can you do for their sake but to do justice
that will be more bold that you have thought,
to love kindness that will be more challenging,
to walk more humbly that you expected, for their sake.

 

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

January 25, 2017  Leave a comment

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