The younger son’s prayer

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         There was a man who had two sons.
         The younger of them said to his father,
         “Father, give me the share of the property
         that will belong to me.” So he divided his property…

                  —Luke 15.11-12

Beloved, I ask for blessing,
for good things,
but not for you.

Desperate, in a “far land,”
apart from you,
my mind wanders, forgetting.
My heart wanders, hungry.
I am not evil; I am lost.
Where do I cry this loneliness?

Coming to myself—
befriending my soul,
becoming myself—
I belong to you.

I come back—
still asking not for you,
but for forgiveness,
for myself.

You wrap me in a robe of generosity
and still I have yet to find
language to thank you,
to love you, to want you.

I am still coming to the party,
still lost, still coming home,
to love you,
for our sake.

 

 

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Ice out

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Ice on the lake,
wind in the trees.
Wind with winter’s muscle
but oddly warm, this early.

In the circle people wrestle with angels:
am ill-fitting religion,
the scar of abuse,
a shade that still stalks in the heart.
A fear, a wound, a distance,
a heart seized up but willing,
a longing finally named.

A warm wind blows through the room,
a book with a promise uncovered
like a secret pried from under the floorboards.
Why has no one ever told them this?

The ice gives.
Under the wind’s steady breath
the ice of a whole lake
splits and shifts and shatters,
piling on the shore.
Open water,
and in the little bays
a million crystal chimes
ring with joy,
even in February,
with storms yet to come,
singing praise.

+
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Pretending

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
When we come forward
for this little morsel of bread
we are only pretending
to be hungry,

for there are no words,
no knowledge, no inkling
of how hungry
we really are.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Repentance

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         The owner said, “I look for fruit on this fig tree,
                  and I find none. Cut it down!”
         The gardener replied, “Let it alone for one more year,
                  until I dig around it and put manure on it….”

                           —Luke 13.6-8

What if the task before you
is not to mine some vein of regret,
not to subtract or amputate,
not to punish yourself
or squeeze yourself into a shape

but to allow a gentle gardener
to dig around your roots,
to gift you with manure,
to trust in fruits
you don’t yourself yet see,
to wait for hidden beauty
to emerge, grace
that is already there
to flower?

Can you leave your fear of the axe?
Can you let go long enough
to imagine blossoms?
Can you bless your blest, bare branches?
Can you let the gardener dig?

Can you hold still?

+
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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The stone the builders rejected

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         The stone the builders rejected
                  has become the cornerstone.

                           —Mark 12.10

Close your eyes to the earth you walk on.
Disregard the humming beneath you.
Do not look at that moon, unfailing.
It will help to find reason to fault.

Pay no attention to the magnificence
in the laborer on the street, the divine
glory pounded into the silver bowl of him.
Practice condescension, then oblivion.

Veil your fear of the divine approach,
your terror at heaven’s abject humility,
in simple disdain, pleasant obsession
with the addictive veneer.

Look away from the holy in that tree,
the man hanging there—so marred
is his appearance—no, only the calm
wheels of deserving, and our smart outfits.

The Beloved’s kiss, the hand that saves you
wrap themselves in the contemptible,
in the despised and condemned.
Blessed are the pure in heart.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Perfect your love in me

         

         
God help me to see myself truly
with your eyes of love.

                  •

Let me see all in me that is of love,
and give thanks.

                  •

Let me see all in me that is not of love,
and allow you to heal it.

                  •

I trust your complete forgiveness,
your perfect grace.

                  •

God of love,
perfect your love in me.

Amen.

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

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I want to see

         

         
Lord, I want to see.
Heal me of my resistance
to seeing what is before me.

Help me behold what is
without the veil of judgment,
the distortion of fear.

Help me see your glory
in every person,
especially those in whom it is hidden.

Help me see myself with your love.
Help me see your grace in all things,
your hope in all things.

Let me see with the wonder of a newborn.
I ask knowing that as I see
it will re-create me.

I will no longer go my own way:
I will follow you, and stay near,
keeping you always in my sight.

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

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Stand firm

         
         Some Pharisees said, “Herod wants to kill you.”
         He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me,
         ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures.’”

                  —Luke 13.31-32

         When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—
         my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.

                  —Psalm 27.2

         Stand firm in the Lord.
                  —Philippians 4.1

         Do not bring us to the time of trial,
         but rescue us from the evil one.

                  —Matthew 6.13

God,
you have given me the great power
of refusing to let other people’s energy
determine my own. I am free.

Help me resist the adversaries
of other people’s expectations,
my foe, my desire to fit in.

I have joined a gang: it is Christ.
We live his ways, not other people’s ways.
Help me stand firm.

Help me be gentle when others are violent.
When others yell, remind me I don’t have to.
When others blame I can listen.

When the culture is violent and unjust
and resists opposition,
I can stand for healing and justice.

You have taken me into yourself.
Why should I be afraid, even in a cruel place,
to stand firm in love?

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

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Fox and hen

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         

        Some Pharisees said,
                “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
        He said, “Go and tell that fox,
                ‘I am casting out demons and performing cures
                today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.’…
        Jerusalem, city that kills the prophets!
                How have I wanted to gather your children
        as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!”  
        
                  — from Luke 13.31-35

The fox prowls,
the hen spreads her wings.

The fox will kill,
the hen give life.

The fox will live,
the hen will die.

The fox knows what he is doing
but not as well as the hen.

The fox too will die,
his killing unfinished.

But on the third day
we will see what it is

to choose
to be the hen.

+
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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A prayer

Loving God,
let me die in your arms.
I am your child;
take me up in your loving hands
and wash me clean of all that I have been,
so that I may be made new.
In your love, I shed my illusions;
I surrender my desires,
I offer you my broken heart.
Forgive me and heal me.
Draw me close to you and hold me
where I can truly become myself.
Create in me a clean heart, a newborn spirit.
Write your love on my soul.
I die in your mercy: I surrender my life to you,
so that I may have your life alone,
and rise to bear the fruit of your love.
Open my lips, Beloved,
and my life will sing your praise.
Amen.

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

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