Shriven under

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
Shrive: to hear a confession;
       to impose penance; to grant absolution.

Shrove Tuesday, our fifth snowstorm
in as many weeks.
In three feet of snow,
plowed shoulder deep beside the roads,
along the driveways,
we confess that we are human,
that we are weary,
the streets lined with quadriplegic cars,
that we are small, dependent, fragile.
The knife wind comes down on us
where we are tender.
We confess our bondage
to the narrow paths we’ve dug,
and keep digging.
Winter swallows our voices, erases speech;
our chanting shovels confess
we are not masters.
The silver sun hears us,
assures us straightening between shovelfuls
that we are not evil,
merely afraid,
and notes how much of our snow
is now in our neighbor’s driveway.
The strangeness so oddly transforming our streets,
the need, the hardship
tempt us inward, swirling winds,
but beckon us to reconcile, to accept,
to bond, to help.
We shovel toward each other.
The crow and the fox
who also shiver bear our absolution:
we too belong, and carry out penance
for being human
in labor and toil.
Shriven under mounds of baptismal white,
we are not judged.
This is not punishment,
just life,
that we must shovel.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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