Free to begin

         Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?”
         They answered him, “No.”
         He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat,
         and you will find some.”

                  —John 21.5-6

No doubt
I have some habit
and you will come along today
and show me a new way.

No doubt
I am locked into a familiar being,
some unquestioned self,
and you will appear,
risen and freed from what used to have to be,
and invite me into
a new self.

Give me grace to set aside my expertise,
become a beginner,
even at being,
and discover.

You are free from my past;
give me grace to die and rise with you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 30, 2019

See you

         Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach;
         but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus

                  —John 21.4

How often in my labors,
the must and the can’t and the so what of it,
does the Changed One appear,
glory of heaven crammed into the ill-fitting
costume of a passer-by,
and I fail to see?
I’ve read poems like this, so I know—
and still
I look and think,
“No, not that one.”
And my nets remain empty.

open my eyes
to see

   —April 29, 2019

Blank page

The day before you is a blank page.
There may be lines on it for coloring,
but it is for you to color in.
You can fill it with wonder and gratitude.
You can make it a picture of love
in colors of your choosing.
If you are bearing pain
it can be a drawing of healing and trust.
If you are fearful it can bear the lines and colors
of reaching out and seeking help.
It can be the shape of courage.
No one can make you use any color, any shape.
It is your choice.
No one is judging what you put on the page.
There is no right or wrong,
just something to look at.
Each moment you sit with the Divine,

   —April 26, 2019

Go therefore

         “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…
         teaching them to obey
         everything that I have commanded you.
         And remember, I am with you always,
         to the end of the age.” 

                  —Matthew 28.19, 20

Jesus, by your grace
may I live with the trust you have taught me;
may I embody resurrection today
and love as you have loved me;
for this is your only commandment.
To trust God and serve the world,
may this be my purpose and my life,
today and every day.

I trust you are with me,
yoked with me, living in me,
loving through me. 
My body is yours this day.
Your will be done. Amen. 

   —April 25, 2019

Mark of the nails

         “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
         and put my finger in the mark of the nails
         and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

                  —John 20.25

You want to see real resurrection,
not its paperwork. You want to touch it.
And you know where to look.
Ignore your packaged and trimmed doctrine,
don’t even look in your slick success stories.
Look in your wounds.
Reach out and put your hand in your losses,
the mark of your shame.
Where is it empty?
Where does your failure flop out of its costume
and bleed all over the floor?
Go ahead. Touch it.
Put your hand on your inadequacy.
The deepest wounds go deeper than you.
Sit a while with the corpse of yourself.
Wait there.
Wait for what you can’t wait for, can’t ask for.
Let that great emptiness open up in you.
Let it be as vast as God,
the wound divine,
your anguish and your Beloved: one.
There, where it’s hopeless,
that’s where the hope is. Go there.
Listen for the voice.

   —April 24, 2019

Already risen

         You have been raised with Christ.
         You have died,
         and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3.1, 3

Live as if you are risen.

The fear-tombed, nay-saying, people-pleasing
prisoner of scarcity, shame and threat—
that one has died.

The stone of Outcomes has been rolled away.
The linen grave-clothes of Consequences
are lying abandoned.

You are free.
Forgiven, accompanied, love-enabled,
miracle-powered, you are a member
of the risen body of Christ.

You are those hands with holes in them
Jesus shows, and says, “Peace.”
You are the flesh the Spirit moves
to do her next wonders.

You’v already died and gone to heaven,
no mere flesh now, but pure love,
unafraid of death and its useless threats,
with unshakable courage,
nothing to lose, everything in your hands.

Don’t live as if you’re afraid to be crucified.
Live as if you’re already risen.

   —April 23, 2019

Earth Day

You are the earth,
a little bit of it.

You are a microcosm of it,
all earth’s life and beauty and hope,
right in you.
By yourself you are nothing,
but you are not by yourself,
you are all the rest of it, too.

There is one thing,
and we are all it.

Wonder deeply, thank freely,
serve humbly and do justice boldly.
Above all, simply belong,
and let our joy be in you.

   —April 22, 2019

Holy Saturday

         On the sabbath they rested
         according to the commandment.
—Luke 23.56
Mysterious One,
I am at peace here,
in this in between place
where most every present moment is,
where neither the moving nor the seeing is given,
bearing the pain without yet its blessings
Sabbath interstice
between the dying and the rising:
only letting go of the world’s wheel
can I wait
and trust that it is you,
and you alone
who have already begun—
who are— the rising
I can’t yet see.

   —April 20, 2019

The cross

The trembling heart pierced
by the jagged torn edge
of the heart.
Life most traumatically against itself.
Evil strikes at the tenderest scandal
of God, to be embodied
in each, and subjects the body
to the horror of its denial.
We murder ourselves
slowly, viciously, in the soft places,
in the papers every day.
We are torturers and can’t pretend
otherwise. And so profoundly other-
wise you are our victim
and victor, for in your love before
you climbed this hill you climbed
into us, wrapped yourself in us,
and in love will not leave that home,
though it be pierced and battered,
brutalized. You bleed, we are not
satisfied, we kill again. You bleed
pure love. There is no other hell
than this, no higher throne for you,
no greater evil you overpower.
You choose no other place to live,
no lesser love to bear than to occupy
our self-mutilated souls and fill them
with yourself, your love, your peace,
until your light transforms all darkness,
hell’s unmade, and fear itself is
euthanized, till each of us is a failed
emperor, powers spent, with memories
of sin, now dead, forgiven, buried, ready
to be raised.

   —April 19, 2019

Simon’s prayer

         As they led him away, they seized a man,
         Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country,
         and they laid the cross on him,
         and made him carry it with Jesus.

                           —Luke 23.26

Jesus, I am not a brave disciple.
I was merely going my way, and was here compelled.
Oh, the horror—to be humiliated with a criminal,
to be led to a death not far from my own!
The shame—to know I aided in laying this death upon you.
The fear I felt to seize such suffering in my own hands,
to bear the pain of one who bore our whole entire wound!
I shrank. I wanted to cease to be. But then I was compelled—
but not by the centurion:
it was your eyes.
Wounded and bloodied as they were, they beckoned me.
They spoke of grace even there, hope even then.
Burdened so, they moved with gratitude
that I would share the journey with you. With humble love
they invited me even through pain and suffering toward life
I could not imagine before I shared your sorrow.
Your splinters pierced me,
a wreath of thorns around my own heart.
The life they sought to wrest from you, you gave so freely.
For a moment I glimpsed what it might be
to bear the pain of the world
and not despair,
but love,
born of a life that swamps all death.
In that awful brotherhood step by step my burden lightened
until it was pure gift. How could there be joy in such anguish?
It was truly you alone, Beloved, who carried all the weight.

Now in all my troubles I feel your cross upon my back,
your arm around my shoulder, your breath on my neck,
your mournful, hopeful eyes, still gentle, holding me.
I am glad to be here. You speak to me:

           “Come to me, all you that are weary
           and are carrying heavy burdens,
           and I will give you rest..
           Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
           for I am gentle and humble in heart,
           and you will find rest for your souls.
           For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

                          [—Mt. 11.28-30]

   —April 18, 2019

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