Violence

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
I cast my suffering away and bind it onto you—
or so I think.
But pain is a thick cord, a sticky strand,
a thread spun deep within that does not break.
The web, once woven, only joins.
Every act of cruelty or blame, every thought
that someone deserves some pain,
every permission given for one to suffer
for another, secretes another thread,
a stronger cord, and weaves a thicker web.
I cast the lines, and they wholly bind me.
Anger winds me in its sheets.
I am matted together in one mass
with all whom I have rejected or hurt.
I am covered in my own life-sucking cocoon,
unable to move, to breathe, to imagine,
doomed never to change from life into life —
until, because we are wrapped together,
I see my victim, my neighbor as myself,
and in the burning anguish of my seeing
dissolve the binding ropes, and then
come out, so fragile and small,
and willing to be wounded,
finally free.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

April 7, 2014  Leave a comment

Go and die with him

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Let us also go, that we may die with him.
—John 11.16

Christ, let me come and die with you.
To you who do miracles, but not always,
I confess that I want you to fix things,
make me an exception, excuse me from pain,
save me from darkness, keep me from death.
But you do not go that way, do you?
You walk through the valley of shadows,
the weakness, the loss, the regret.

No escape is required. There is no blame.
It is the valley where we live, this light
and shadowed place, the life we have,
a journey of surrender, every landmark
a gravestone. Yet here, in this darkness,
you are present, loving, and listening,
You make a holy space for my grieving,
my anger, my doubt, my fear.

And in that holy space you make a door
and walk through it, and bid me come,
to let go of all I cling to, all my old life,
all that’s crushed by grief and ruined by loss;
not to avoid death but to be transformed,
not to stay happy but to die and be raised.
You bid me come, be Martha, empty handed;
be Thomas, willing and self-giving;
be Christ, weeping for love, weeping.
You bid me come, be Lazarus, wrapped
in the bands of my self, my little life,
settled in my tomb and the death of my powers,
hearing your voice,
“Come out!”

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.

April 4, 2014  Leave a comment

Prophesy

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

The spirit of the Lord brought me out
and set me down in the middle of a valley;
it was full of bones.

—Ezekiel 37.1

Can you prophesy to the dry bones?
Can you go down into the dark valley
and tell the bones that life will come,
that they will rise?
Can you tell the slave bones,
the Holocaust bones, the Hiroshima bones?
Can you go down to the slum,
down to death row and tell them?
Down to the shabby streets where they breathe
the poison from your factories,
the meat packing houses where they work
until you deport them, can you tell them?

Can you prophesy to the wind,
to the breath of God, can you speak to hope
and tell it to come to these people,
speak to life and tell it to rise up in them?
No to command life, but to let your life
be a shout of hope?

Can you prophesy to your own bones,
or is there no breath with them, no Spirit?
Go down into that valley and watch and wait
until you know—and don’t come back
until you know, for you will know—
and plead,
and stay
until you know.

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.

April 3, 2014  Leave a comment

Lazarus, come out!

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

There is no birth without pain.
There is no life without suffering.
There is no love without surrender.
There is no struggle without hope.
Though we would cry out to God
to save us from all hurt—
“Lord, if you had been here
this wouldn’t have happened”—
God won’t shield us
from the blessed demands of our own lives,
from the living that is given to us
enfolded in what is required of us,
the birth pangs wrapped in pain.
Each new gift or challenge invites us
to become new, to be born again.
The Beloved walks our boundaries;
when we meet, it opens something new,
a spring in us gushing up with life itself.
People may ask, “Is this the same person?”
and we will insist, “I am the one!”
But we will be changed, and leave behind
what once we had clung to.
Our grave wrappings are swaddling cloths,
in our travails the voice of the Beloved,
crying out to us in our tombs,
“Lazarus, come out!”

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.

April 2, 2014  Leave a comment

Birth day

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Dear,
she whose womb is dark
but for the stars and moon
has labored hard
to bring you into the new life.

           Come, let us hold you.

                      +

How can you possibly know
how beautiful you are,
how joyfully awaited,
how beloved?

           All you need to know is how
           it calms you to be held.

                      +

Your deepest wisdom trusts
that you can’t know the unseen world
that encircles you so close, so wide,
any better than a newborn.

           Just breathe in, breathe out,
           open your eyes.

                      +

You have a great life within you
not of your own making,
whole and gifted and destined for love.

           Give birth to it,
           or it will kill you both.

                      +

Hold a newborn grandchild in your arms:
no requirements or expectations,
just love, delight and wonder.

           Now you have a glimpse
           of how God feels.

                      +

All that you have been through
is a birth canal.
There is always someone waiting for you.

           Happy birth day.

_____________
Prayers of rejoicing and bidding God’s grace
for Tanner Michael Holmes,
born late Sunday night,
and all those who enter the new life.

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.

April 1, 2014  Leave a comment

If you knew

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

You would gladly travel great distances in rain,
arriving at dark in foreign places.
You would eagerly await the news, every call
a promise, in invitation.
You would hold your loved ones, feeling them
in your hands even from far away.
You would have a story to tell of gratitude and grace.
You would already be thinking of a new name for yourself

if you knew God’s love were being poured into your life
like a newborn on the way, a grandchild
you have not yet seen.

__________________________
Weather Report

Birth,
arriving at all hours,
requiring you to do the same;
with periods of intermittent labor and hope,
precipitating in showers of joy and wonder.
There will be shifting patterns,
and a one hundred percent chance
that Things Will Be Different.

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.

March 31, 2014  Leave a comment

Do you believe?

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
Jesus asked him, “Do you believe in the Human One?”
He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.”
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.”

                  —John 9.35-37

When you struggle to believe, or doubt your belief,
don’t waste time looking at Jesus’ papers
to see his credentials,
or bother checking on his job description.
No opinion, however pious,
will save you when you are drowning
or overflow in love of neighbor.

Just wonder: what have you seen?
How have you been touched?
When might the Hidden One have walked beside you,
spoken to you, healed you?
That experience of light or warmth,
that opening of your heart like a door,
that inexplicable gift,
that unseen hand holding yours in the darkness—
might that have been he?

Whatever it is that makes you feel one with others,
that gives you uncreated love for them,
that offers hope where there is none,
that has brought you this far,
whatever it is that gives you your hunger for Life,
and then gives you Life, gives you this next breath—
believe in that.

The eyes that are opened are within.
If you can’t believe in spring, believe in this one daffodil.
No matter what you think you beleive,
close your eyes, remember, and give thanks.
It will be the Holy One speaking to 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

March 28, 2014  Leave a comment

Sleeper, awake!

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

         The eye is the lamp of the body.
         If your eye is healthy,
                  your whole body will be full of light.

                           —Matthew 6.22

         Once you were darkness,
                  but now in the Lord you are light.
         Live as children of light.

                           —Ephesians 5.8

The healing of blindness is not a correction
         but an opening.

Repentance is not improving
          but opening your eyes.

Seeing is not judging
         but letting the light in.

In the dark chaos of the deep
         let there be light.

Whether or not your eyes see it
          your very being is the light of Love.

You are the lamp;
          the Beloved is the flame.

You don’t need to birth fire,
          just become transparent.

Awake; open your eyes.
          The dawn has come.

         Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead,
                  and Christ will shine on you.

                           —Ephesians 5.14

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

March 27, 2014  Leave a comment

Blind trust

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,
this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned;
he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”

                  —John 9.1-3

God, help me to trust
that with you there is no deserving,
no punishment,
no imprisonment in the past;
only grace,
and the the opportunity to receive it.
Open the eyes of my heart,
that whatever my circumstances
I may see your grace,
trust your unfinished work in me,
and know that I was born that your love
might be revealed in me,
and that, unseen,
you stand beside me
ready to heal.

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

March 26, 2014  Leave a comment

Expecting

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Next week Beth and I expect to become grandparents. Right along with our son and daughter in law we are patiently, joyfully Expecting. And so, I might add, are you.    
               
In our literally minded tradition this day, March 25, nine months before Christmas, has been observed as the day of the miraculous conception of Jesus. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will have a child, she consents, and at that moment, apparently, she conceives. It’s an odd blending of faith and biology, but let’s go with it.

Our faith is imbued with a deep sense of the sacredness of time even more than space. History is not just a string of events but the unfolding of a blessing. Each moment bears a promise. No matter what difficult struggles we face, Love has provided for our salvation, and the salvation of the world, long before. Faith is simply expecting that.

The seed of future grace is hidden in the present moment, buried in the world around you, planted in your life, emerging within you. Today God is creating something wonderful in you that you will not see come to fruition for a long time, that you can’t even be sure of for a while. But it’s there. Something holy, something promising—something promised. It’s not random or impersonal; it comes from somebody, from the Beloved. Because it is the Beloved, God’s presence within you. It will grow slowly. Some pain and labor will come before your joy is complete. There will be times when it is difficult, and maybe even times when you wish it weren’t true. But grace is unfolding within you. That’s a promise. Hope is not wishful thinking, but Expecting—like Mary, consenting to a promise.

Rejoice, beloved. The Lord is with you. You have found favor with God. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore what is within you will will be holy. Say, then, with Mary, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

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

March 25, 2014  Leave a comment

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