Jacob and Esau

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
Jacob and Esau, you will fight.
Like Isaac and Ishmael before you
and Joseph and his brothers after,
you will contend. This is your lot.
It is our nature.

But it is not your fight.
You were born into it.
You are Isaac and Rebekah’s rivalry,
and they will entangle you in it.
You are two nations.
You are all people.

You “despise your birthright,”
deny your belovedness and belonging,
think you can steal it.
And you despise your brother,
think you can walk away from him,
escape your brotherhood.

But you can’t escape: you’re family.
All the hungry, all the un-belonging,
they are yours.

And why do you struggle?
To find yourself.
To set yourself off from those closest,
to be not-them,

yet bound.
It is to be reconciled, to achieve
that gift that cannot be purely given
but must be wrought, and then received.
You’re not trying to untangle the knot
but tie it tighter with that brother

who after all your wrestling
will fall on your neck,
and kiss you
and you will weep.

         
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

July 8, 2014  Leave a comment

Mending

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
        Go and tell John what you hear and see:
         the blind receive their sight, the lame walk,
         the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
         and the poor have good news brought to them.

                  —Matthew 11.4-5

Healing works its grace within you, unseen.
Justice unfolds in this world, unknown.
Whatever happens, so does healing.
The Beloved is continually mending, mending.

Trust this mystery.
Hear and see with this confidence.

With this mind
you will know
the drawing near
of the Tender One.

         
         
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

July 7, 2014  Leave a comment

Neither good nor bad

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         I do not understand my own actions.
         For I do not do what I want,
         but I do the very thing I hate.

                  —Romans 7.15

“Sin” is not that we’re bad people.
It’s that we don’t know how to love perfectly,
even when we try.

We’re playing hard for the home team
but keep accidentally scoring for the opponents.

In the war between good and evil
we’re on the right side,
but we keep shooting our own with friendly fire.

God understands, and forgives us.
God delivers us from the hopeless battle:
we are neither “good” nor “bad;”
we are beloved.

When we let that grace course through our veins,
let that love move through our bodies,
become the bodies of that spirit,
then it is God who lives in us,
who loves perfectly through 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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

July 4, 2014  Leave a comment

A mediation on Matthew 11.28-30

         
         

Come to me, all you who are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.

                  Christ, I come to you.
                  I lay down my burden.
                  I rest in you.

Take my yoke upon you,

                  I share your burden,
                  your love for the world.
                  I am yoked with you,
                  your life and death and life.
                  I am one with you always,
                  side by side,
                  not running ahead of you,
                  not wandering off,
                  twinned.
         
and learn from me;

                  Each moment I learn from you,
                  watching your eyes, your hands,
                  imitating your movements.

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

                  Yoke of gentleness, lay upon me.
                  Hold me in my anxiousness,
                  guide me in my impatience,
                  bring me along when I falter.
         
and you will find rest for your souls.

                  Rest of Christ,
                  soul’s belonging,
                  nothing required.

For my yoke is easy,

                  Not my worries,
                  but compassion for the world.
                  Not my effort,
                  but yours in me, yoked.

and my burden is light.

                  This burden lifts me,
                  this light.

     
         

__________________
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

July 3, 2014  Leave a comment

The yoke of Christ

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
                  —Matthew 11.28-30

Jesus teaches no doctrine; he extends an invitation.
He preaches no creed; he offers a relationship.
He does not discuss theology; he practices a way of living.
He offers no reward, but his presence.

He invites us into the Great Work of being souls,
the Great Work of loving the world.
He promises to be yoked with us.

He offers the paradox of the labor that is rest,
the yoke that is freedom,
the burden that is light.

His Word is not an order, a threat, a pronouncement,
but a promise, an opening, a desire for us:
“Come to me.”

The burden we bear into the world
at his side
is not heavy; it is light itself, the light of 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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

July 2, 2014  Leave a comment

Stepping on God

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  

All day long I am stepping on God.

I am breathing God,
I am walking under God,
I am hearing God in chatter and in silence,
I am avoiding eye contact with God
in the checkout line.

To be a saint
you don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to
remember.

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

July 1, 2014  Leave a comment

Curious

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
United Methodist clergy appointments usually begin July 1, so this Sunday a lot of people will be hearing from a new preacher. Some folks are retiring, with varying degrees of regret or anticipation. In a couple of months students will enter a new world at college. When we face a new situation our temptation is often to ask, “What do I like?” Do I like this new pastor? Do I like preaching to these people? Do I like this set-up?

Sometimes that’s a helpful question to ask, but usually it just gets us all tangled up in our judgments. It’s always good to ask, ”What can I learn?” From this new pastor, in this new life situation, on this new day—what can I learn? In this moment, like it or not, life is giving me the opportunity to learn more about the universe and about myself, and more of God. I am being given the chance to grow, to deepen my practice of forgiveness, say, or attentiveness, gratitude, litheness or compassion.

Everything is a teaching, a chance to learn and practice. It’s a gift. But only if I stay open and curious. Even if it’s a rotten situation, nine times out of ten curiosity beats misery. Compassion always covers the rest.

Stay curious.
  
         
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

June 30, 2014  Leave a comment

A sword

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Do not think that I have come
         to bring peace to the earth;
         I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
         I have come to set a man against his father,
         and a daughter against her mother.

                  —Matthew 10.34-35

It’s not a sword of conflict or violence.
It’s the cutting edge of making choices,
splitting what you choose from what you don’t choose.
And making your choices will set you apart
from others, even friends and family.
This is the work of becoming your own self.

When your choices upset those around you
it may be because you’re being foolish.
But it may be because you’re making your choices
instead of letting them. It will be like this.
Abandon that owned self, and find your own self.

Listen deeply to God.
Let God alone lead you.
Make yourself available to God
as an instrument of righteousness,
and know that even as you let go of your life
you receive life.

         
         
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

June 27, 2014  Leave a comment

Servant

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.


         Don’t sell yourself out to be used as a weapon of injustice,
         but—mindful that you have been brought from death to life—
         make yourself available to God as an instrument of justice.

                  —Romans 6.2

Holy One, you see through
my pretense of independence,
my illusion of control.
It’s my human nature to be a slave:
bound up by my desires,
controlled by my fears, my habitual wound.
I will be a slave.
So let me be a slave to you.

May I be free of the illusion of control,
possessed by your love,
an instrument in your hand,
a tool of compassion,
a servant of your peace,
present and available for you,
and so utterly free
of the world’s anxiety.

May my freedom be in you,
in the choice to serve you,
to belong to you,
to work for justice;
by your grace in me,
your presence for me,
and this—your astounding devotion
to be my servant.

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.

June 26, 2014  Leave a comment

Psalm 13

                  

God, have you forgotten me forever?
         Do I even matter to you?
Why are you so hard to find?
How long will I argue with myself about you,
         this dark pit in my heart all day long?
How long will this dark adversary
         loom over me?

Give me an answer, God—any answer.
         Let there be light in my eyes,
         not this sleep, this death.
I can hear my adversary now: ” I win.”
         I can see them gloat over my lifeless soul.

But I trust your kindness like the earth itself.
         You rescue me, and I rejoice.
I will sing to you, Beloved,
         because you always so lovingly pick me up.

         
         

__________________
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

June 25, 2014  Leave a comment

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