9/11 + 15

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Fifteen years after 9/11
what is worth remembering?

How fragile we are.

How deeply we need each other.

How little our differences matter.

That in our vulnerability
we are most human.

That we can always respond to violence
with violence or with peace.

That violence begets violence.

That in danger, chaos and trauma
we can choose to come together.

That you always have a choice
to contribute to the world’s hurt
or its healing.

That we are one.

That entering into the world’s suffering
is divine.

That the world is not ending yet.

How beautiful it is
when we care for each other.

         

         
         
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

September 12, 2016  Leave a comment

Not hard to get

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         
Yes, God is mysterious as fog,
but please, don’t give me that stuff
about God playing hard to get.
She is so into you
I can’t believe you don’t see it.
She’s flagrant about it.
She writes you the steamiest letters
in the colors of sky and leaf,
in stone and sea and child,
her hands are all over you,
she has moves that—admit it—
make you blush.
He’s in your dreams,
whispers to you when you aren’t listening.
You think those scriptures are some dry text
but it’s him, fawning all over you,
saying your name.
She wears the most revealing outfits,
struts her stuff, begs for attention.
They’ve always been like that.
Going on singles cruises,
trolling the skankiest bars in town,
hoping for luck.
She has no shame, no holding back.
I’d take her aside and talk to her
about decorum and such,
but golly,
I can’t even get in the same room with her
without her climbing all over me.
She’s yours, mate.

Yeah, it’s a little wild. Razor’s edge.
I get why you pull back.
But listen.
Secretly, so in the dark you don’t even know,
it’s your own heart that’s flirting
with everything that moves.
She’s the one
who’s holding you quietly, calmly, murmuring,
“Easy. Easy. I’m right here.
You’ve got me. It’s OK.”

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.

September 8, 2016  Leave a comment

Looking

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         What woman having ten silver coins,
         if she loses one of them,
         does not light a lamp, sweep the house,
         and search carefully until she finds it?

                  —Luke 15.8

In the dark must, the dingy back alleys,
under things, in dust, She is looking for you.
She knows where to find you,
even in the waste and scum of the city
of all your plans gone bad,
in the tumbled, shattered desert
of your loneliness and exile,
in the tangles and brambles of your shame,
among the slot machines of your distractions,
in the dense fog of your not even looking
she knows where you are.
         
You are not some dull penny for spending.
You are her dowry, her treasure.
You are worth your worth,
and she will not give up on you.
Always she is looking, always she is finding.
The light you walk by is her lamp.

When, unthinking,
an unsayable joy enters your heart
it is her, having found 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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com
                  

September 7, 2016  Leave a comment

Lost and found

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Having a hundred sheep and losing one,
         you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness
         and go after the one that is lost until you find it.
         When you’ve found it you lay it on your shoulders
         and rejoice.

                  —Luke 15.4-5

You must leave a lot behind
for your life to become whole.

What the Beloved lets go of
to have you!

If there were a hell
God would always be there
carrying people out.

There is a flock that is not well
without you.

When you think you’ve run away,
proud of your independence,
you’re really just lost.
You need each other.

All of life is God’s party
at having found you.
Or maybe, today, another.

Don’t be ashamed to be brought in
on the shepherd’s shoulders:
you got lost in the best possible way,
looking for God.
         
Remember each of the other ninety-nine
came the same way.
         
         
 

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

September 6, 2016  Leave a comment

Labor

         
         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

For those who labor, God, grant rest.
For those without work, grace.
For those too privileged to work, humility.
For those who do forced labor, liberation.

God of mercy, give us the gift of gratitude
for those who contribute for our sake,
who by their hands have built our world.
God of justice, keep us mindful
of those who sew our clothes, pick our fruit,
bear away our trash, clean our rooms for us.
Keep our faith honest, that we may labor
for justice for those who labor for us.

Give us what work we best may do
with our hands or our hearts,
for the sake of your Empire of Grace,
and grant us the Spirit to do it.

We pray to you, Holy One
who labors each moment
to give us life.

         

         
         

__________________
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

September 5, 2016  Leave a comment

Mighty wind

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

        
                  
A mighty wind blows
that penetrates everything,
makes everything lean,
topples some things,
blows things away,
sometimes stands upright
what was prone
but in a new place.
A mighty wind blows.
Yet this little candle
in your hands
never goes out.

____________________
Weather Report

High winds
within and without
as the pressure in the atmosphere
meets the force
in your heart

 

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.

September 2, 2016  Leave a comment

The cross

         Unless you carry your cross and follow me
         you can’t be my disciple.

                  —Luke 14.27

What if I went through this day as if
I were not wearing a cross but bearing one?
What if I went through the day with my hands in the air?

What comfort do I cherish more than you, God?
What security do I need to renounce?
What privilege do I need to confront?
What do you call me to surrender
for the sake of love and justice?
Not Jesus’ cross, but mine? what is it like?

I ready myself today
to enter people’s suffering,
to stand with the poor and outcast,
to hurt with the hurting and risk with the vulnerable,
to share in powerlessness
and find power there.
To trust you alone.
You alone.

Set my hands on my cross,
my shoulder under its weight.
Let it lift me,
the cross alone lift me.

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

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

September 1, 2016  Leave a comment

The turning

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Whoever comes to me
         and does not hate father and mother,
                  wife and children, brothers and sisters,
                  yes, and even life itself,
         cannot be my disciple

                  —Luke 14.26

From the tug and tangle of family,
the arms and laps, the hugs and slaps,
the blessed hooks and havens, you must go.
The comedies and tragedies of mistaken identity,
the cages and pedestals you must quit.
Your first love, your deepest loyalty,
your honor’s fountain you must abandon.
Leave them, your family since you were born,
for another you’ve had even longer.

To serve God and horrify your mother,
to obey your calling and not your father,
to turn from your beloved to the Beloved,
to claim the earth as your children,
to cut that umbilical knot,
this is how you are born.
Until you can betray their will for God’s
you have none of your own.

Beyond the temple, the cradle, the table,
the monument on the battlefield
that says who you are, you must go.
Go to the top of the hill where the path splits,
and choose a harsher grief,
a deeper belonging, a wider freedom.
Only turning on the hill,
walking down the far side unseen
can you come to yourself, come to God,
come to those you love in 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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

August 31, 2016  Leave a comment

Apology, no apology

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

For being hurtful or thoughtless,
you should apologize.
For having your opinions or feelings,
you should not apologize.

When your fear or racism or selfishness
fly unchecked, apologize.
When you hurt someone—
even unintentionally—
apologize.
When you do your best and you fail,
when you are honest
and others are uncomfortable,
when you disagree and people are upset,
do not apologize.

Apologize for being hurtful.
Don’t apologize for being who you are.

 

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

August 30, 2016  Leave a comment

Above the ground

      
         
                  
Above the ground after a brief silence
they resume their war
before they are even out of the graveyard,
climbing over each other
trying to save their own lives,
clawing at some unseen soil above them,

while beneath he rests in peace,
where, after all, we each long to be,
borne to our resting ground,
cherished and at peace,
soon and very soon.

Could I slip beneath the grass
of my battlefields and travel there?
Can I find a way to live
without that combat,
rest without that death,
to grant to the wicked
the eternal peace of the living?

God, bury me
beneath the feet of my anxieties.
Let them go on without me, arguing.
Let me be a ghost of grace,
untroubled, unbound,
interred in love.

         
         

__________________
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

August 29, 2016  Leave a comment

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