Thanks giving

God, I thank you.        
For this day, freshly created, I thank you.
For the sun, faithfully burning,
for gravity that keeps on working,
for the earth that holds me so securely
and feeds me so abundantly, I thank you.
                  
For all my ancestors,
who saved my life millions of times,
for all the love that has shaped and blessed me,
fort hose who bless me without my ever knowing
for this body, this whole universe of miracles
that live inside me, I thank you.

For every moment, the unfolding of your grace,
for every day, a gift beyond measure,
for every person, a work of your love, I thank you.

For all my troubles, in which you meet me,
for grief and pain, which keep my heart alive,
for all loss and abasement, that move me closer to you,
I thank you, for they, too, are gifts.

May my heart be alive with gratitude,
with your deep, deep “yes,”
with your new-making hope,
with trust that everything is a gift
because you are in it,
everything is a gift,
and I thank you.

______________________
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.

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The way of the cross

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
My denomination has conducted a church trial in which a pastor is being defrocked for conducting his gay son’s wedding. I’ve stated elsewhere my biblical and theological understanding of Christian teaching on sexual relationships. Setting aside that issue for a moment, what interests me is the way of proceeding the two parties in the conflict have chosen—particularly the power dynamics involved in a church trial.

One party has acted to divide: to judge, condemn, remove and exclude the other, separating themselves from him, and separating him from his calling and his community, treating him as an alien, taking things away, creating an exile, a refugee. … The image that comes to mind is a pair of scissors.

The other party has joined: honoring a son’s request, blessing a relationship of faithful covenantal love, creating a family, standing in solidarity with those who suffer. … I imagine a needle and thread.

One party has exercised power, remaining secure within a dominant structure, imposing conformity, making demands, punishing, and condemning and putting others down, for the sake of rectitude. No one in that party has risked or given anything, surrendered in any way, or chosen a course that required courage. … A hammer.

The other party has exercised powerlessness, choosing exposure and risk, enduring retribution, suffering, and paying a price to bless and lift others up, for the sake of love. He has not asked for anything, condemned anyone, or coerced anyone. He is completely vulnerable. … A chalice.

Don’t demonize or deify either party: both parties have acted in faith and made mistakes. And set aside the sexual issue. Look at these two ways of using power. This is what the way of the cross looks like. Which way of using power do you believe God calls you to: coercion or powerlessness, uniting or dividing, judging or blessing? Which one reminds you of Jesus? Which one seems like it will heal the world? How might that look in your own life?

You cannot serve two masters—the Religion of Being Right and the Religion of Being in Love. It will be one or the other. Choose the way of the cross.
         
         
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

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To offer blessing

         

         
God of love,
I Pray for the peace of Christ:
in the face of fear, to trust,
in the face of violence, to be gentle,
in the face of sorrow to be healing,
in all things to offer blessing.

Christ, grant me your peace:
with those who are rejected to stand in unity,
for those who are afraid to offer my hand,
beside the outcast to sojourn in longing,
to those who are cursed to offer blessing.

Spirit of compassion,
be the grace and strength in me
to risk for the sake of justice,
to suffer for the sake of healing,
to give of myself for the sake of love,
to offer blessing, to offer blessing.

__________________
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

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Conspiracy

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Fifty years ago today John F. kennedy was assassinated. “In an instant the world was changed,” or so we say. But don’t be fooled. Few things change the world in an instant. Violence, no matter how dramatic, doesn’t change anything. The world is already full of it, and more of it is just more of it. What actually changes the world is when the violence stops. It’s when the wounds and fears that drive our violence are healed. It’s when people who are bitter or afraid are reconciled. It’s forgiveness, kindness and nonviolence. What changes the world is the slow, quiet, gradual work of mending the human soul.

The Reign of Christ that we celebrate this Sunday is not the imposition of somebody’s political, economic or military will. It is the Imperial Rule of God’s grace, founded on the self-giving love of Jesus. That’s what changes the world.
And it’s not over. God’s Reign of mercy and justice is still unfolding. Every moment we are being changed.

For fifty years people have wondered if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, or was part of a conspiracy. Well, no one acts alone. All of us are part of a web of relationships, hopes and forces. We all choose our conspiracy. Jesus initiated a conspiracy to take over the world with love. He did not act alone. There is already a great cloud of witnesses. All of us in our own small, gradual ways are changing the world with prayer, with gentleness, with awareness, with reverence for all beings. Each of us is a single thread in the mending of the world. You are part of the great divine conspiracy to change the world with love.

Don’t be distracted by the instant flashes. Keep your eyes on the long road, rest your hand in the hand of your companions, and stay your heart in God. The Holy One is not done creating this world.
         
         
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

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Crown of thorns

         
         

I kneel before you, Sovereign,
your rough-hewn throne,
         your crown of thorns.

Power above all others,
authority and might,
         your crown of thorns.

Your abject poverty,
your suffering our suffering:
         your crown of thorns.

Your imperial judgment
of condemnation and violence:
         your crown of thorns.

Champion of the poor,
vindicator of the lowly,
         your crown of thorns.

You conquer my pain, my sin,
my death, my shadow:
         your crown of thorns.

My sacrifice, my victim,
my masterpiece, my savior—
         your crown of thorns.

Ruler of the Universe,
your robe is all Creation,
         your crown of thorns.

I bow to your majesty,
Prince of Peace,
         your crown of thorns.

I seek no glory
but to bear your name, your love,
         your crown of thorns.

         
         

__________________
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

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King of mercy

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
         There was also an inscription over him,
         “This is the King of the Jews.”

                  —Luke 23.38

This is the king of humility,
the absolute monarch of love.
This is the sovereign ruler of forgiveness,
whose reign is over life and death,
whose might is compassion,
whose power is in his willingness
to suffer with the lowly
and dignify the outcast,
whose glory is mercy,
who makes no demands upon his subjects
but only showers them with blessings,
who passes no law and wields no sword,
who threatens no violence but only suffers it,
and redeems those who suffer,
whose army is those who humbly love,
who utters no commands but one.

And I am his loyal subject.
I obey his law of love.
I honor his sovereignty over my life.
I serve in his army of gentleness.
He and all those with whom he suffers
are above me.
I belong to him. I love him. I serve him.
I surrender to him wholly,
join in his suffering and his love
and dedicate myself to his mercy.
And he receives me and says:
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

         
         
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

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A song of gratitude

         
         

O Womb of the Universe,
for your reign of generosity
and this great, boundless gift of earth,
this miracle of life, I give you thanks.

Heavenly Lover,
for your compassionate Rule,
your Empire of grace and Forgiveness,
and the loving command you give us
in one another
I give you thanks.

O Lord and Master,
for all that blossoms still,
unfolding by your grace,
and all that shall be,
I am overcome with amazement,
swept up by gratitude,
moved with generosity.

O Crucified and Risen One,
may your complete self-giving
become mine.
Let all my living be my thanks.
Here is my whole life.
Take it, and let it be
a fitting adornment
in paradise.

         
         

__________________
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

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A prayer of light

         
         
         
Holy One,
It’s hard for me to be honest with people,
and therefore hard to be honest with myself,
about myself—who I really am—
because I’m afraid of it,
afraid of this dark, rotten part of me,
afraid that there is some judgment it incurs.
But your judgment is light
and I am light, all light:
even the dark rotten parts
are made of light
by your grace
and they are all part of my being transformed
by your grace
from light into light.

Let your light shine in me.

Christ is the light of the world.
I am the light of the world.
Christ is the light of the world.

Let your light shine in me.

         
         

__________________
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

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When you hear of wars

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify.          
                  —Luke 21.9-13

Horror and anguish, casually voted on
and brought to the floor,
electricity to the bone,
blood on pavement and stainless steel,
grains of rice stashed in Wall Street banks,
water for the few, AIDS for the many,
used laborers, wrong color, hustled off in darkness
and more brought in,
the nervous sweat of the addict,
the crimes he’ll commit for the shaking needle
of oil, seas rising and raging, while
people build their beach houses….

It is not fantasy. It is the difficulty.
To not be shaped by terror.
To live differently than those about you.
To stand up to The Way It Is.

Do not be shaped by terror.
I will be in you,
my gentleness strengthening you,
my hope sharpening the sword
of your willingness. My peace
breathing in you.
In the fury, speak love,
and the world will change.

         
         
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

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Rain

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
       

  

         
         
Loving One,

I am the cloud of your mercy,
a thunderhead of your grace.

Fields are thirsty,
the river is dry.

Let it go,
let it go.

         
         
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

Published
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