The gospel

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
                  —Galatians 1. 6-7

Beneath the theological theories and complicated explanations, the truth is simple. God is love. At the heart of everything is the mystery of God’s infinite, embodied, indwelling love for all Creation. You are Beloved, you and everyone else equally, and love beckons to you live in love. Christ shows us how to live in love, shows us the power of love. Love is the gospel. Everything else is a footnote. All doctrine, all orthodoxy, all religion, all beliefs and practices, laws and and obedience, insights and traditions are all mere reflections upon the miracle but they are not the miracle. The love you give and receive, that is the gospel. Don’t bother with another gospel. Don’t fight over the details. Don’t give your life to a footnote. Live the love, the whole love, and nothing but the love. Root your life deeply in the gospel of compassion, the mystery, the gift, the wonder, the grace of God’s love for us and in us. Let love be your being, your breathing, your consciousness, your actions. Let compassion for all living beings be your life. Let yourself become Christ, the embodied love of God, in the spirit of Jesus. Beloved, love deeply. That is everything.

         
         
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

Authority

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

The centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go,’ and he goes, and to another, “Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this,’ and the slave does it.”
                  —Luke 7.6-8

God does not try.
God does not wish,
or command from afar
and hope we obey.
God says, “Light,”
and the word shines.

God wills life.
There is no command, no obedience,
nothing conveyed from there to here.
Trees put forth leaves,
earth turns green, living things blossom.
What God wills is what is
and what is most deeply becoming.

The saints live in harmony with God’s energy,
trust it unfolding,
even as we will otherwise.
The healing you yearn for,
the wisdom, the peace,
these God has already spoken.
They have already begun to become.

You yourself are a word God has already said,
a word of grace,
grace that was, and is, and ever shall be.

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.

A spring of blessing

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
O Infinite Blessing,
a forest of your grace rises in me,
a sea of blessing caressing every shore,
a desert whose light and air are blessing,
a city in me, a million blessings living there.
In me your blessing is a spring
welling up to eternal life.

Like light I radiate your blessing today
on all whom I meet, friend and stranger,
this moment and the next, blessing,
blessing the ones I love and who are hard to love,
blessing those on the street and in traffic,
blessing peoples far away and foreign,
blessing those who suffer and those who toil.
Each moment today will be a moment of blessing,
asking of me only compassion
and an offering of good will for all living souls.

And if I should tire,
if I should doubt my calling or weary of my task,
I will rest in your blessing
like a spring welling up
until it overflows agin,
flowing out from me,
out into the desert,
giving joy to thirsty creatures,
turning parched things green.

O Blessing One, O Cherishing Love, this day
may I shine with the light of your blessing.

         
         
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

Spring moments

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  I

         Getting there

Morning sun.
On the hubcap
a spider in her web.
Ah, I think today I’ll walk.

                  II

         Washing windows

If only I had earlier seen
how much what I saw
was inside,
how much I didn’t see.

                  III

          Winged seeds

So many little bits
floating down from trees,
spores, seeds, threads of life,
whole trees within—
all of us you send
out into the world.

         

         
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

Memorial Day

         
         
                  
O God of Eternity,
on this day we remember those
who have died while serving
in armed forces for their country.
For their service we humbly give thanks.
For their courage and self-sacrifice
we offer our praise and honor.
For the lives destroyed and the families grieved,
we pray for healing.
For asking them to bear such loss on our behalf,
for sending them into war with such ease,
for placing a human cost on our security,
we repent and ask forgiveness,
and pray for a change of heart.
May we never forget the price of our choices.
We pray that we, too, may serve as they have:
with courage and self-sacrifice,
with devotion to those beyond ourselves,
with discipline, purpose and unity,
to serve the cause of peace and the well being of all,
to dedicate ourselves and our very being
to healing, non-violence and justice,
to give our lives for the sake of peace.
God of Peace, we give thanks,
we open our hearts, and we ask your blessing. Amen.

         
         

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

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

That Thou art mindful of us

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         When I look at your heavens,
                  the work of your fingers,
                  the moon and the stars that you have established;
         what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
                  mortals that you care for them?

                           —Psalm 8.3-4

My sister has finished her long journey of healing from lymphoma, through chemo and laughter and agony and drudgery and pain and wonder and prayer and shingles and friends, lots of loving friends, and here she is, healthy and whole. It’s pretty splendid. Meanwhile my wife is back in North Dakota going through her sister’s belongings, the little sister who died suddenly at Christmas and really ought to be alive. It’s pretty sad.

What do we say, that God has chosen this one and not that one? Or that God is not paying attention, that God is too busy spinning galaxies to notice our little lives and we’re on our own, good luck? No, the mystery is that the Holy One who holds the universe in strong and gentle hands also holds us, and cares for us, and accompanies us. The Beloved is with us. In death or life, joy or sorrow, the Compassionate One walks with us, breathes in us, suffers with us, and gives us the life we have. And that life, that amazing gift, is holy, precious and worthy of our wonder, no matter how long or pretty it is.

Our range of vision is so often limited to our desires— how fully we manage to cling to what we want and avoid what we fear— that we can’t see our lives from the perspective of the heavens: the sacred Oneness that our lives rise out of, the holy miracle of life in each moment, the magnificent mystery of which each of us is a spark, a blossom, a note. The promise is not that your life will be long or easy, but that it will be holy.

Treasure this gift of life. Notice the marvelous gift of breath and thought, love and beauty. Whether you are at ease or in pain, relief or grief, the Creator of the Universe is your intimate partner, giving you life, holding you in love. Whatever struggles you have, whatever brokenness, imperfections and even evil you suffer, it is the Beloved who gives you each breath, who carries you each moment, who pours love into your heart no matter what.

From the view of the heavens, all our lives are vanishingly short, but graciously given, magnificently beautiful, infinitely precious and mysteriously blessed. Whether long or short, hard or easy, your life is holy. Your life is a gift. And you are not alone. You are Beloved. Be in wonder, and give thanks.
         
         
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

How do you spell

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

How do you spell
the sound you make
when you have an orgasm?

         Now you see the difficulty of poetry.

Take a scale and calibrate it
to exacting standards, and tell me
which weighs more: Mozart’s requiem
or your feelings when your mother died?

         Now you see the problem with art.

Tell me: what did God mean
in creating the sea?

         You see, don’t you,
         the temptation of prayer,
         and its pure and holy uselessness?

People say, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”
as if that explains something.

         The Spirit said to me:
         “Understanding is a pair of sunglasses.”

What then can we do,
but pray without ceasing,
and write poetry until our eyes close?
What can we do but lay down our shovels
and come home?
What can we do but touch
the children we love as if for the first time,
and lay our hands and eyes tenderly,
like newborns, upon this world,
until all that we know of the world
disappears into the world,
and God escapes our imagining,
until we are raised from the tomb of certainty
into the glorious rainbow light of awe?

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

Poured into our hearts

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         God’s love has been poured into our hearts
         through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

                  —Romans 5.5

Loving One,
I breathe in your love,
and breathe your love into the world.

It is not I who love,
but you who love in me.

I do not despair even of loving my enemies:
it is you who love them;
I merely draw near.

I pour out the pitcher of my heart
so you can fill it with your love.
         
         

A humble bee,
with the pollen of your love on my legs,
I seek the perfect nectar of this life,
and by your grace alone
leave behind the grace that has clung to me,
and the world blossoms.

         
         

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

The Holy Trinity

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
“I am in the Father and the Father is in me…. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever, the Holy Spirit, who abides with you, and will be in you….. My Father will love you, and we will come to you and make our home with you”
                  —from John 14.10-23

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. The Holy Trinity is no debatable doctrine: it is an icon, a window to God. It is a koan, a parable, a paradox that invites us to let go of mere thought and behold the mystery of the Divine.

The Holy One is the Holy Many;
         all things are in God,
                  who is greater.

The Holy One is not a single, but the All;
         diverse and infinitely unfolding,
                  and even, unseen, more.

What you find of God
         always hides what you have yet to see
                  and what you can never know.

God is not individual, but community.
         God is love, which is relationship;
                  God is the Loving and the Beloved.

Source of All Being, God is Eternal Mystery.
         Living Word, God is Loving Presence.
                  Spirit of Life, God is Unfolding.

God is both Father and Son,
         this and also not this;
                  and also none of these.

God is both Father and Mother,
         male and female, parent and child.
                  God is family.

God contains the universe, and is infinitely greater.
         God is in the teacher and in the stranger.
                  God comes and makes a home with us.

God is infinite and unknowable, beyond us.
         God is revealed, Word made flesh, beside us.
                  God is in our hands, indwelling, within us.

God is Creator, immortal, unchanging.
         God is Companion, suffering, loving.
                  God is Spirit, intimate, waiting.

God is absolute, and reigns over us.
         God is vulnerable, and invites us.
                  God is servant, and depends on us.

God is other.
         God is us.
                  God is neither.

God is Mystery.
         God is this that is before you.
                  God is yet to be.

God is the Giver.
         God is the Gift.
                  God is the giving and receiving.

God is more than you think,
         more than can be thought.
                  There is no right answer, none.

Open your eyes and you see God.
         You must look carefully to see God.
                  You cannot see.

God is One,
         and also Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
                  and also not that at all.

When your understanding fails
         and you can’t know but only wonder
                  then you behold the truth.

God is love,
         and the Beloved,
                  and your loving.

In the name of the Mother, Son and Holy Spirit
         may God’s grace be with you,
                  grace that already is.

         
         

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

A certain way of thinking

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         
I don’t like litter.
I don’t like bird poop on things.
I don’t like people being mean to old folks.
I don’t like tyrants.
I don’t like Brussels sprouts, lima beans, raisins,
         mint, mustard, pickles or strawberry ice cream.
I don’t like the torture of children,
         the suffering of war, or smoking in public,
         or sleet. Or sand in my socks.
I don’t like tragedy. It refuses to negotiate.
I don’t like rain, because it messes things up.
I don’t like sunrises because they come too early.
I don’t like sunsets because they end things.
And they keep coming. It’s annoying.
And pleasant days, like everything, can without warning
         turn worse.
And you know how joy is always either compromised
         or cut short.
I don’t like poetry, because there’s never enough.
I have my standards.

____________________
Weather Report

Weather today will be as pleasant or un
as you anticipate, with some variation,
as reality and expectation collide at upper levels,
clearing only when you choose
this and not something else.

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