Binding & loosing

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
         and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
         Where two or three are gathered in my name,
         I am there among them.”

                     – Matthew 18.18, 20

There is power in your choices,
in what you “bind” and “loose,”

what you require of others
and what you forgive,

what you hang onto
and what you let go of.

You are given power
to oppress and to set free.

Don’t worry about such power
put in your wild, immature hands.

The Gentle One is there with you,
between you and each other person.

Treat them so, and your power
will be well used. You yourself

will be loosed from temptation,
bound to the One

from whom
you will not be loosed.

Deep Blessings
Pastor Steve
______________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

September 5, 2014  Leave a comment

Free to love

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         This is the passover of the Lord.
         I will pass over you,
         and no plague shall destroy you

                  —from Exodus 12.11, 13

         Owe no one anything,
         except to love one another;
         for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

                  —Romans 13.8

You have been set free.
From all your guilt and shame,
from all the debts you thought you owed,
all obligations and duties,
you have been set free.
From fear of death,
from the power of your brokenness
to define or control you,
you have been set free.

Now everything you do may be an act of love.
Even a requirement, even the strictest law,
even what you do not choose,
do not as a duty but an act of compassion.
Let love be perfected in you.

You are free to love,
and so to become your truest self,
to wield your greatest power,
to live your greatest 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

September 4, 2014  Leave a comment

We seldom hear

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  

We seldom hear the voice of the Holy One
who is, after all, fearsomely immense,

who sits, enthralled, perfectly still as a bird
watcher, saying nothing, offering only

the merest whispers, hidden in this world
so cleverly as to seem natural,

so as not to frighten us
away.

         
         
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

September 3, 2014  Leave a comment

Open palm

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

      
         
The woodpecker works the dead branch.
He knows something’s in there.

Under the roots of things
a river flows, a heart empties.

A thread, a movement, a doorway,
a breast with milk in it.

Sometimes the path is long
and bears much following.

But still, the world
is an open palm.

         
         
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

September 2, 2014  Leave a comment

I AM

      
         
                  
At the burning bush Moses said,
“But who are you? What is your name?”
And the voice said, “I BE.”

I don’t have a name, a “handle,” a nickname,
a way to get your mouth or your mind around me,
a way to talk about me instead of to me.

I am not subject to description or categorizing,
to qualification, comparison or familiarity.
Whatever you think I am, I am not that.

There is no vocabulary for me, no metaphor.
I am this. I am within. And within that.
And beyond. I am unnameable. Unpinnable down.

I be. I be being. I am the very being of being.
Being is me. Your being, your enemy’s being,
the toad’s being, the star’s being, that’s me.

I am the living process of being: I am;
and therefore I am becoming: I will be as I will be.
I am becoming myself, eternally becoming.

You may call me “Yahweh,” which may sound like
“Yeah, wow,” or “Oh, yeah,” or “Oh, well.”
Or Allah. Or Om. Or One.

You may quibble over “him” and “her” and “it” and “they,”
or Father Son and Holy Ghost,
but you are arguing about which lie is the real one.

There is no dignified way to speak of me,
no language that is not awkward or ungainly,
making you feel so ineptly human in my presence.

You can’t speak about me without talking to me,
because I am here. You and your hearer are in me.
Honestly all you can call me is “Thou.”

Or even simply speak of me in silence.
Don’t worry,
I will know what you mean.

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

September 1, 2014  Leave a comment

The One Who Hears

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         Then the Lord said,
         ”I have seen the misery of my people who are in Egypt;
         I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters.
         Indeed, I know their sufferings,
         and I have come down to deliver them.

                  —Exodus 3.7-8

You may say, “I feel your pain,” but you cannot.
You can only know your own, and imagine another’s.
But God knows your sufferings, for God is in you.

You may feel that your cries go unheard into the darkness,
but God hears, allows your cries into her heart of hearts.
They echo in the mind of God day and night.

And God goes about God’s passionate work: to deliver,
to set us free from oppression, from fear, from death,
from all that holds back our love from its freedom.

No matter your struggles, your gifts, your hopes,
there is this great energy of deliverance
moving in this world, already at work to set you free,

you and all who hope, who suffer, who are oppressed,
who long for freedom, for peace,
for the arms of the One who Hears.

And you, what burning bush have you seen?
What work are you doing, what energy are you following?
How have you taken up your cross and followed

the One who knows our pain,
the one who hears,
the One who delivers?

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

August 29, 2014  Leave a comment

Take up your cross

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         “If you want to become my follower,
         deny yourself
         and take up your cross and follow me.”

                  —Matthew 16.24

The Christian faith is not a set of opinions about Jesus.
It is a life of following him, practicing his self-giving love.
To follow Jesus is to enter the suffering of the world.
The cross is not an annoyance, a burden, an injustice.
Your “cross to bear” is not the overbearing aunt.
It is the fear of the abused, the tears of the deported,
the rage of the dismissed, the weariness of the exploited,
the despair of the condemned, the loneliness of the forgotten.
It is bearing in your heart—perhaps even in your flesh—
the suffering of others, and their infinite worth,
to act for the sake of grace in their lives,
to be in solidarity with the poor for the sake of justice.
It is to embody God’s grace amidst human failings.
It is your grateful choice to suffer for the sake of love.

Lay down the sword of doctrines and arguments,
the shield of your separate self, your privileged security,
and take up the the cross of Christ,
the risk and vulnerability of the Gospel,
the courage to confront injustice and embody healing,
the love of God, weak, naked and tender in this world,
and more powerful than a hundred armies.
         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

August 28, 2014  Leave a comment

Burning bush

      
         
                  
Oy, what I had to go through—
morning breath, in and out,
the desert bird song,
the look in the lamb’s eye,
either a sinking or a rising feeling
in the stomach (neither one worked),
the abiding blood of that Egyptian,
the quaver in a stranger’s voice,
the cry of an anguished mother,
a longing the shape of desert air,
an emptiness greater than Egypt,
injustice at the well, and a woman,
a stunning sunrise, love and despair—
it went nowhere.

I finally had to light a damn bush on fire
to get his attention.

         
         

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

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August 27, 2014  Leave a comment

Aurora

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
Morning light, green shoot,
door quietly opening,

what dawns upon you
that hadn’t before,

pilgrimage toward this moment,
first step at the Red Sea,

so much left behind,
and what abides,

and who,
and what is not yet,

what you have and
what will be provided,

divine promise,
its keeping yet to come,

new, and yet from of old
prepared, awaited,

led into the room
already set for you,

without your being able to know
what blessing is in store,

how you are needed here,
what grace is about to unfold.

First day of school.
Let there be light.

         
         
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

August 26, 2014  Leave a comment

No justice

         
         
                  
God of mercy, why is there no mercy?
The poor are robbed, the hungry wait,
prisoners long for the welcoming hand.
The powerful wield their weapons day after day.
Refugees walk in their long lines toward you
and never arrive, never find home.
The laborer used, the child abused, wait
for no announcing angel, no welcome rescue.
The lonely and condemned weep without answer.
God of justice, why is there no justice?
Living Word, why your silence?
Exiled by race, enslaved by greed,
crucified by gunshots,
your children cry to you.
Why, O Loving One, why do you not speak?

You do not hear, my Beloved, for my voice
is wrapped in the cry of the poor.
My tears are there in the prison cell,
my glory with the disappeared.
You do not hear me because
I am whispering to them.

Holy One, we enter your silence as a temple.
May we hear your cry in our heart.
May your song rise up in our throat
as we lift our voice for your justice.
May we bear your mercy in our hands
as we labor for your will.

God of mercy, I will be your mercy,
for you are my hope.

__________________
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

August 25, 2014  Leave a comment

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