No place to lay his head

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests
         but the Human One has no place to lay his head.

                  —Luke 9.58

Among God’s creatures every one belongs.
But in our city we make sure to leave some out,
and God, well God’s the One We Have No Place To Put.
We dress Christ as a prince disguised as a pauper,
but there is no such secret, no difference.
We’re sure he’s on a mission trip to the slums,
not that he is born and dies there.
But the poor are not symbols of Christ, but Christ.
We can’t separate them from our forgiveness.
The cross is not so strange, just a cardboard box,
a mat under a bridge, a dark back room.
Christ survives amidst our offal, sick and dying,
picking through our wreckage unnoticed,
the Wandering One, a castoff among castoffs,
refusing our comfy middle class crown, our power,
our being right, being normal, being like us.
Only the lost and unworthy understand him,
his grace, his tattered holiness, his absolute embrace.
Our insiders’ religion of Fitting In,
the idolatry of privilege blinds us.
He is on the other side of the Wall.
We give him handouts and send him on his way.

To follow him you will agree to lose more than you gain:
your place, your entitlement, your assurance,
your protection from being an outsider,
the familiar ease of walking into a room,
the certainty you won’t lose more.

But you will,
because his gentle voice comes to you
from those dark rooms in you,
her voice from beyond your own Wall,
the one in you who has no place to lay her head.
The unacceptable in you, the unknown solitary,
the offender, the homeless orphan, the derelict,
the misfit looks out at the world in trembling uncertainty,
and in her voice you hear the holy,
in whom you long to touch all the others so.
You are known, and in your very unbelonging
loved for no good reason at all,
and that is enough, that is everything, that is all.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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