Shriven under

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
Shrive: to hear a confession;
       to impose penance; to grant absolution.

Shrove Tuesday, our fifth snowstorm
in as many weeks.
In three feet of snow,
plowed shoulder deep beside the roads,
along the driveways,
we confess that we are human,
that we are weary,
the streets lined with quadriplegic cars,
that we are small, dependent, fragile.
The knife wind comes down on us
where we are tender.
We confess our bondage
to the narrow paths we’ve dug,
and keep digging.
Winter swallows our voices, erases speech;
our chanting shovels confess
we are not masters.
The silver sun hears us,
assures us straightening between shovelfuls
that we are not evil,
merely afraid,
and notes how much of our snow
is now in our neighbor’s driveway.
The strangeness so oddly transforming our streets,
the need, the hardship
tempt us inward, swirling winds,
but beckon us to reconcile, to accept,
to bond, to help.
We shovel toward each other.
The crow and the fox
who also shiver bear our absolution:
we too belong, and carry out penance
for being human
in labor and toil.
Shriven under mounds of baptismal white,
we are not judged.
This is not punishment,
just life,
that we must shovel.

         
         
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 17, 2015  Leave a comment

Shut out

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
        
As new subscribers to the Blizzard of the Week Club we were hit hard enough by the last one that yesterday we held no services at the church building. (Four-foot snowdrifts at the front door, six feet at the back.) But we didn’t cancel worship; we held worship in our homes, united in the Spirit. I was the only one at the church, praying for all our members in their half-submerged houses. And as I did I became increasingly aware of all those who are unable to make it into the holy of holies, who for any reason are shut out. The logical extension of any exclusivity is an empty sanctuary. Heaven with nobody in it.

It’s so easy to stay snug in our little burrows, and to take for granted our inclusion. But we are not whole as a church—we are not whole as the human family— until we are in solidarity with all those who for any reason are excluded. So today I pray for all who are home bound, imprisoned, or homeless; for refugees, for all those who are displaced by war or disaster. I pray for those who are kept out because of who they are—their sexuality, their economic state, their physical condition or abilities, their age or their religion. I pray for those who believe they are just not good enough. I pray for those who are left out of our decision making, kept out of our circles, left out of our stories, all those who are not in the building. Jesus looked at the outcasts, the invisible, the misfits and the scattered, and saw a community. I pray for the coming of the Communion of all Creation.

Pray without ceasing, and put your hands to the shovels of justice. There are deep drifts to clear before everyone can come in, warm and welcome.

         
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 17, 2015  Leave a comment

At the master’s feet

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         
                  
One said prayer
is where you grow wings,
and rise to heaven.

Another said, no, prayer
is where you grow feet and hands,
and serve humbly.

But the angel with beautiful hands
said prayer
is where you grow eyes.
Look.

Then,
not prone to repeat himself,
he said,
Look.

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 unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

February 16, 2015  Leave a comment

Shut out

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
        
As new subscribers to the Blizzard of the Week Club we were hit hard enough by the last one that yesterday we held no services at the church building. (Four-foot snowdrifts at the front door, six feet at the back.) But we didn’t cancel worship; we held worship in our homes, united in the Spirit. I was the only one at the church, praying for all our members in their half-submerged houses. And as I did I became increasingly aware of all those who are unable to make it into the holy of holies, who for any reason are shut out. The logical extension of any exclusivity is an empty sanctuary. Heaven with nobody in it.

It’s so easy to stay snug in our little burrows, and to take for granted our inclusion. But we are not whole as a church—we are not whole as the human family— until we are in solidarity with all those who for any reason are excluded. So today I pray for all who are home bound, imprisoned, or homeless; for refugees, for all those who are displaced by war or disaster. I pray for those who are kept out because of who they are—their sexuality, their economic state, their physical condition or abilities, their age or their religion. I pray for those who believe they are just not good enough. I pray for those who are left out of our decision making, kept out of our circles, left out of our stories, all those who are not in the building. Jesus looked at the outcasts, the invisible, the misfits and the scattered, and saw a community. I pray for the coming of the Communion of all Creation.

Pray without ceasing, and put your hands to the shovels of justice. There are deep drifts to clear before everyone can come in, warm and welcome.

         
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 16, 2015  Leave a comment

Maybe enlightenment

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         When they looked around,
         they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

                  —Mark 9.8

Sometimes you forget to think,
to analyze and compartmentalize,
and instead you just gaze,
and finally you really see,
see the glory hidden in the ordinary,
the light in the stone,
the angelic being
in the person next to you.

Maybe righteousness
is not moral perfection
but seeing clearly,
with the delight and wonder
with which God sees,
seeing with eyes for holiness,
seeing the divine in people
and treating them so.

Maybe faith
is not certitude
but seeing what is truly before you,
seeing the bud in the bud,
the child in the child,
and remembering
even when you do not see.

Maybe enlightenment
is not understanding
but seeing the light
as if for the first time.

Maybe wisdom
is not knowing
but looking.

         
         
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 12, 2015  Leave a comment

Snow grave

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
You sleep in sheets of snow,
blankets of snow, pillows of snow,
deep and cold,
until you are still
and your body turns white
and the wind moans
over your icy grave,
the song of the earth
over the silent earth.

And then in the morning
you are raised like the sun,
yellow and warm
and miraculous,
the splendor of heaven
beaming out from you
over the blue and white fields
with their birds, astonished,
who are no more entitled than you
to this radiant breach.

______________________
Weather Report

Light, unwarranted,
falling through the darkness.
Expect closures
of business as usual as citizens
deal with the accumulation
of resurrection.

         
         
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 10, 2015  Leave a comment

In deep snow

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
Walk past people sealed in their houses,
silence piled up on their roofs,
into the palimpsest of the woods,
thigh deep in the smoothness,
the substance of silence,
the weight of the light.
Snow in the trees, beneath the trees,
branches bowed with the bulk of heaven.
In the open field the white
spreads like a calm sea.
The brook admits you;
beneath you know you are walking on her back.
At the far end of the frozen marsh
stand among the falling constellations
until it is possible
to belong in the cold and quiet,
to be erased and redrawn,
to be a flake in this drift of silence,
blanketed by the softly falling presence,
covered in God.

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 9, 2015  Leave a comment

The mending of the world

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         Jesus said, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
                  —Mark 1.38-39

The Empire of God has no headquarters,
nor will there be a Final Battle.
God’s desire is more than saving selected souls:
it is the healing of the nations,
the mending of the whole world.
But there is no Situation Room
from which this campaign is directed.
The Spirit of healing and compassion,
the work of redemption and justice
is done in every little village and town.
Every heart is the center of the movement.
Every life, every act—your life, this day—
is where Christ works.
It is for this that you were born;
“that is what you came out to do.”
You don’t need to do great miracles.
The world is transformed in very small bits,
village by village, one moment at a time.
You are the message.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

February 6, 2015  Leave a comment

While it was dark

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

        In the morning, while it was still very dark,
        he got up and went out to a deserted place,
        and there he prayed.

                  —Mark 1.35

Very dark.
In mystery. Not a puzzle but
the presence beyond our minds.
The infinite gathers around you.
This is where prayers speak to each other
like stars in the dark sky
though we do not hear them.
Our prayers become us in the night.

A deserted place.
Solitude, where you are a soul,
nothing else. None to judge,
to interpret you, to revise.
You are in God
as the silence is in the night sky,
the deep silence in your heart
heard as clear as a white moon.
We are all alone together.

Our prayers move beyond us.
In the openness,
like an eye in the dark,
not a feeling—too dark for that—
a presence beneath.
In the silence, the space between,
no words, not an answer…
a yes.

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.

February 5, 2015  Leave a comment

Healing Hands

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever,
         and they told him about her at once.
         He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up.
         Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

                  —Mark 1.30-31

How straight the energy flows
through his healing hand,
through her hand reaching out to him,
to her hands serving them.

How smoothly God draws us
into this dance, taking our hand:
Yes, you are broken,
yes, I seek you,
Yes, you are needed,
you have gifts to offer.

We who are barely mended
are one with the little man
with holes in his hands:
we are his hands now,
our wounds his wounds in us.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

February 4, 2015  Leave a comment

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