Emmaus

When the morning reached out its dawning hand to us
when we had thought there could be nothing but night,
when a fellow traveler walked with us in our sorrow,
a stranger even, who was willing to listen,
when someone helped us find wisdom in our losses,
when something in us, unnoticed until it spoke,
called out to another to come in, to share a life,
when we ate together, embraced one another’s
hunger and gratitude, bore one another’s craved blessing,
when we stood in the definite, unnameable presence like rain
that followed us as intimately as our breath,
when a Word spoke to us from inside things,
things as plain as bread, broken open for us as a gift,
when the world was not alone of us, but one, and gathered,
when we walked along, and the road received us,
and the real and ordinary was enough for us, blessed and given,
didn’t our hearts burn within us?
 

 

Newborn

Little one, my Beloved,
my dear newborn infant,
I hold you in my arms.
You can’t form words for me;
you hardly know that I am.
But I love you.

There is nothing you have to do
to please me. I am already pleased.
You don’t need to be “good,”
in fact you often aren’t.
You cry in my arms.
You are entirely self-absorbed.
You cause me great trials.
You spit up on me.
You eat and breathe and poop,
and that is enough for you.
And it is enough for me.
I love you.

When you are cranky I feel for you,
though I can’t always soothe you.
When you fuss I do not scold,
I just keep holding you.
It is most beautiful when you are at peace,
surrendered, in my arms.

You are working so hard, becoming,
growing, becoming aware.
It will happen all your life,
mostly within, without your knowing,
this new life.
And I will continue to birth you,
invite you to die and be raised
into newness.

You are beautiful.
Accomplishing nothing, you are beautiful.
I can’t wait to see your gifts unfold.
I can’t possess you or control your future,
but I will go though it with you.
I can’t promise good fortune,
but I promise you love.
In fact, I will suffer with you,
I will die for you.
I will be with you, for you are mine, and I love you.

You can’t comprehend my love for you,
or the vast blessing I surround you with.
You never will.

You will pray to me, not knowing
that I hold you in my arms.
You will always be my delight,
and I will always love you
simply because I am your Father,
your Mother.
This is my Covenant. Forever.

 

Flowering prayer

         
         
Holy One, Resurrecting One,
as different as the flowering tree is
from the seed,
so transformed may I be today:

I shed the habits and fears that bind me,
set free by your grace.

All the desires and attachments
that prevent me from loving perfectly
are swallowed up in death;
and in the dawn of your new day
a new person comes forth in me,
full of loving kindness toward all beings.

With each breath I draw your eternal life:
not the life of my making and managing,
but life that is pure gift.

May my small, self-bundled self die,
and the soul of your creating be born,
tender and fragile and wondering.

Re-create me today as a merciful person,
flowering with your infinite grace.
         

         
         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Thomas speaks

I didn’t want evidence.
What would I do with that?
I didn’t want proof.
I wanted my friend.

It was grief, not doubt.
It was unfulfilled longing.

What came to me
was not evidence,
but my Beloved.

What he said was not
“Think this, not that”
What he said was
“No longer hold yourself back,
but trust you have me.”

And you, are you so free of sorrow
that there’s no one you need?
So free of guilt
that you care about opinions?

Here is the miracle:
in your deepest loss, your darkest evil,
out of every awfulness, out of death itself,
to you—you yourself, calling your name,
comes not a fact
but the One you long for,
who bears your broken heart in his heart,
your forgiveness in his wounded hands,
the new life in his wakening voice.

He is not asking you think a strange thought.
He is letting you fall back in love.

A living hope

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.


In great mercy God has given us a new birth
      into a living hope
      through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
      kept in heaven for you.
Through faith you are being protected by God’s power,
      for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while
      you have had to suffer various trials.

            —1 Peter 1.3-5

God of great mercy,
you who raised Christ from the dead,

grant me steadfast hope
in the resurrection?

though I cannot see it?
hidden in my life.

Give me trust to endure my trials
and to love without fear;

may everything I do
act be an act of hope,

knowing that in your great mercy
you will raise me up

to the life you promise,
life that is full of you. Amen.

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.

I believe in the resurrection of the body

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
In the beginning
the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.

What mother would withhold a kiss?
What lover would prefer a thought
to a lover’s body, flesh to flesh?

Yet frightened by our hunger for it—
for the body is the body of God—
a fussy child, we pushed it away,
punished flesh as if it were to blame
(How dare God come to us
so alluring, arousing and fragile?),
crucified it—humanity cutting itself—
and flung the flesh of the Word
back into the darkness.

And in the dark and chaos, again
the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.

God, who still can’t resist the carnal embrace,
comes to us embodied,
resurrected in the flesh—
Thomas made sure—wounded, but holy,
and so the body restored, all flesh redeemed:

not angelic light-bodies,
but this good thing, chosen,
the ordinary body, the real,
too old, too fat, bad hair,
the body that knows how to give,
how to weep, how to tremble,
yes, the body hungry enough
to grasp what the mind cannot,
yes, yes, the very body
sitting there
reading this.

         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Earth Day

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
God created the earth and called it good (Gen. 1); therefor we honor it.

God gave us the gift of Creation for our sustenance (Gen. 1.29); therefore we receive God’s gift with mindfulness, with praise and thanksgiving.

Creation is a form of the Word of God—“The heavens are telling the glory of God” (Ps. 19.1-2) and is a source of wisdom; therefore we approach it not with selfish greed but with reverence.

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Ps. 24.1) and it is not ours; therefore we do not presume to take it for ourselves.

As God is our “keeper” (Ps. 121), God charges us with tending the earth and “keeping” it (Gen. 2.15), not exploiting it or using it up; therefore we care for Creation and preserve it.

We humans are created from humus, the dust of the earth (Gen. 2.7); therefore we treat it with humility.

Just as we are branches of the vine of Christ (John 15) and members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12) we are one with all of life; therefore we extend compassion to all living things and love our neighbor—even non-human ones—as ourselves.

Like Christ we have been sent “not to be served but to serve” (Mk. 20.45); therefore our work is not to “conquer” nature but to serve it.

“You have defiled my land,” says God (Jer. 2.7), and we are under God’s judgment for our destructiveness (Jer. 1.10); therefore we take seriously the evil of our destructiveness.

“The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants” (Isa. 24.5), and suffers because of our injustice, and bears the grief of our evil (Jer. 12.4); it also rejoices at our good and celebrates justice with us (Isa. 35.1); therefore we weep with the land and its ruin, and repent of our evil and seek to restore the earth and our reverence for it.

God says, “I have set before you life and death; choose life” (Deut. 30.19).

God, help us to to choose life: to show reverence for all life; to honor, protect and serve Creation; to resist exploitation and destruction in whatever forms they present themselves; to live gently on the land; and to rejoice in your Creation with humility, gratitude, curiosity and praise. Amen.
         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Out of the Ordinary

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
Out of darkness, light.
Out of chaos, Creation.
        This is not the sequel to previous episodes.

Out of the dust of the earth, humans.
Out of slavery, freedom.
        All explanations are a frantic ruse.

Out of death, life.
Out of the grave, Christ, living.
        Proof is dust and darkness, not light.

Out of order, a mystery.
Out of the realm of possibility, a hidden grace.
        What your mind can grasp is not the mightiest.
        
Out of bounds, boundless blessing.
Out of body, a body.
        What is given is greater than what is seen.

Out of desperation, forgiveness.
Out of your wreckage, beginning.
        God can say “Let there be light” more than once.

Out of your grave, a door.
Out of reach from death, the life of love.
        Let your self go; only the love of God remains.

Out of your past, a new thing.
Out of the ordinary, glory.
        Do you believe God can change you?

Either this, or nothing.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Good Friday

                  
You, my love, my victim, my mystery,
so close to my splinters,
so faithful to my nails,
bleeding my blood, crying my
                  silence,
all of my aching for,
all of my running from,
my suicide foisted,
my horrid, ruin, my anguish, my
                  sorry,

you, my grief, my trembling, my can’t,
my hollowing sorrow, my lonely, my
                  dead,

you, our excuse, our cursing, our blind,
our using confusing abusing,
our that’s bow it goes, our system,
so fit of our shadow, so form of our fear,
our prey, our failure to
                  pray,

how can I face you,
wearing my face,
how can I see you,
being my stranger, my other, my
                   us,

with these eyes so broken?
this anguish so whole? this heart so
                  un?

Yet you, so emptied of fear, of self, of have,
so poured out, so vacant of all of it
                  but God,
cleaned out in forgiveness, dying for love,—
you are so here, so yes, so alive,
so far beyond death’s reach, so surely already
                  risen.

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Wash my feet

         
         

Christ, my Lord,
my Supreme, my Master,
my slave on your knees,
wash my feet.

Let me chafe at the wrongness of it,
and wonder at its grace,
eternally confounded.

For my request,
and for my failure to request,
be gracious to me.
At my feet come between me
and my pride and self-hatred.

Bathe me in your mercy,
wash away my judging mind,
baptize me in self-emptying,
cleanse me with forgiveness.

That which I withhold in shame
make beautiful.

Christ, for you
who wash the feet of the despised,
who serve and honor your Beloved,
I accept my place.

In every moment of my day,
for every person I meet:
no greater than my master,
may I kneel.

O Christ my Slave,
my Savior,
wash my feet.

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

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