A word of hope

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
When it does not go well,
when fear is a metal clamp on the heart,
or self doubt is sand in our veins,
we sometimes only see the dark,
the knot, the pit, and we forget:
this is not where your story ends.
This, this very path,
tangled and tortured and unclear,
this is the way to a beautiful place.

The court proceedings, the chemo drip,
this is a doorway.
In the spring of a faith long frozen
the branch turns green.
In the muck of things gone wrong,
the seed bursts and begins.
On the long road that’s hard,
so hard, and you want to turn back,
remember: this goes somewhere.
Beyond the disaster is a green meadow.
You are going there.

When you take a stand and it’s lonely,
when you bear the slop of people’s anger,
or the hard stone weight of grief,
the Suffering One is with you.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
This is the way. You are going there.

 
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Cast out my fear

      

         There is no fear in love,
         but perfect love casts out fear;
         for fear has to do with punishment,
         and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

                  —1 John 4.18

Holy Love,
         cast out my fear.
You do not punish,
         but only bless;
cast out my will to punish,
         to feed another’s fear.
You love perfectly;
         perfect your love in me.
Find my fear, hiding in its dark,
         my fear, lying in my deep places,
         and replace it with your love.

I breathe in: you touch my fear.
         I breathe out your love, only love.
My fear…
         your love.

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Christ, my vine

      
         
                  
Christ, my vine,
         you are my life.
I am your branch.
         Your life flows through me,
         your love flows through me.
My life is the fruit of your presence,
         my thoughts the vessels of your grace,
         my deeds the movements of your spirit.

I am one with you and with all your branches.
         I receive the life that all receive.
Our life endures
         only in our oneness.

Prune all of me that does not bear your fruit;
         though I cry out, I willingly surrender it.
Bear fruit in me as you desire,
         though I disbelieve or resist, bear fruit.

Christ, living vine, you are my life,
         and I am your living branch,
         your life-giving fruit.
Vine … and branch.
         Life … and fruit.

         
         

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Like a mother

         
                  
Like a mother cradling her newborn,
you love me, God:
with no demand, no expectations,,
no thought of judgment or punishment,
no need for me to be good enough
or to achieve anything,
but simply to be in your arms,
you holding me with devotion,
wonder and delight.

Like a mother cradling her newborn
I love you, God:
with no fear or demands or expectations,
no need for you to be good enough
or to achieve anything,
but simply to be in my arms,
me holding you with devotion,
wonder and delight.

Where would we be
without each other?

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

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight(at)gmail.com.

Eternal life

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
      
         We know that we have passed from death to life
         because we love one another.

                  —1 John 3.14

When we love we give ourselves away;
we leave ourselves and their boundaries.
The flower becomes the beauty, the scent,
the seed becomes the fruit, the taste, the meal.
The lover becomes the love, the beloved.
We rise from our deaths
and enter the eternal life of God.

This is how you know you’re resurrected:
you love people.
Without love you are still dead,
tombed in that hard, dark nut,
waiting to die to death
and love forever.
Loving, you are free,
a rose that never ceases
unfolding with beauty,
infinite and deep,
a spring flowing
from the heart of God.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Earth Day

      
         
                  
Earth, my earth, my mother, my life,
dust of my making, home of my dying,
I honor you; I honor your loving Creator.

Gobi, Denali, Amazon, Serengeti,
steppe and ocean, garden and stream,
herd and hive, flock and forest,
we are one being, one life, one living cell.
May we waken to our unity,
and renew our reverence for you.
Handwork of God, intricate gift,
teach us beauty, creativity and joy.

We say we love nature,
that God comes to us in you;
but still we despoil you,
and so we treat God.
May we repent of our self-serving abuse of you,
honor you in all we do,
and emulate your self-giving.

Earth, our home, our family, our self,
may the grace and glory of God
speak in us as surely as in you.

         
         

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Shepherd me

Shepherd me, Beloved.
You provide all I need. A gift.
You give me belonging in this abundant Creation.
You set me free and hold me safe; I can relax.
You breathe life into me. I receive you.
         Your grace … I receive.

Move me in a path with heart.
I’ll follow you.
Even through fear and danger,
even through death and my fear of it
I’ll follow you, right with you,
your hand on my back,
your peace in my gut.
         Your love … I follow.

Give me peace with those who trouble me;
for we feast at your table together,
my enemies and I, your beloved.
         All of us … your beloved.

Your blessing fills me up;
your grace overflows from me.
Your gentle, loving mercy surrounds me
like this air, holds me like this earth.
I am in you.
         Forever … in you.
         

                  —April 21, 2016

Patriots Day

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
               
Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts (and Maine, which—go figure— used to be part of Massachusetts). It commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War with the “shot heard round the world” on April 19, 1775 some eight miles from here. It’s thought of as the “birth of liberty,” though it wasn’t so for the guys who got killed. Also occurring these days here is the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. We’re contemplating the death penalty, supposedly making that awful thing better by adding one more killing.

Sad, isn’t it, that we can’t imagine how to be free without killing somebody? Human history is full of human sacrifices on altars, crosses and battlefields. But none of the slaughter seems to have actually set us free, has it?

Meanwhile, on Patriot’s Day we run the Boston Marathon, a race in which everybody cheers for everybody. Everybody wants everybody else to do their best. True, only one person “wins,” but nobody feels like that. In the wake of the bombing two years ago it was even more like that: in the face of violence everybody helped everybody in their distress. What a beautiful way to live.

We always have a choice whether to make demands or offer blessings, to take life or give it. We can fare well without making others fare poorly. We can be free without making somebody else pay for it. We can forgive and not blame, aid people in their challenges and distress, and help everyone do their best. We can live in the Spirit of the one who healed and did not hurt, who blessed and did not curse, who gave and did not demand, who won and did not make anybody lose, who truly set us free on that other spring morning long ago, making the sacrifice heard round the world.
         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Psalm 4

O Love, when I cry out in silence,
         you are the One Who Hears.
Between the rock and the hard place,
         you give me room.

I have carried the stone of shame too far,
         as if opinions could give me life,
         as if human judgment is not a lie.
But you, Beloved, hold me close,
         and know who I truly am.
When I am disturbed I am still yours.
         I soak in this grace, silent,
         letting it seep into me.

I surrender everything to your love.
         Help me to trust this with my life.
I ignore the cynics who don’t see
         your blessing in everything,
         your face beaming at me.
You are a gushing spring of joy in me,
         my jackpot, my victory dance.

In your peace I can stop. I let go.
         I lie down.
In your peace I can sleep.
         I am safe. I am yours.
         

         
         

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

My child, my Beloved

         See what great love we are given
                  that God would say, “You are my children.”
         …When God is revealed, we will be like God,
                  for we will see God as God truly is.

                           —1 John 3.1, 2

My child, my Beloved,
you cannot see this now
but you are like me,
and one day this will be revealed.
Trust this, and let it cleanse you of all fear.

My love, breathe me in.
Breathe me out.

For your anxiety I give you my peace,
for your weariness, my rest,
for your sin, my forgiveness,
for your sorrow, my comfort,
for your struggles, my fortitude,
for your brokenness, my healing,
for your not knowing, my patience,
for your struggles, my blessing.

My child, my Beloved,
I give you my love,
I give you my beauty,
I give you my grace,
I give you myself.

My love, I am with you always,
and within you always.
Go in peace; do not be afraid;
and overflow with my love.
Breathe me in. Breathe me out.

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

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight(at)gmail.com.