Hell

The flames of perdition are not in hell.
God does not punish.
Punishing serves no purpose.
Punishment is about the past,
but God is in the present.
However, God does not protect us
from the consequences of our choices.
God asks us to see, confess, and repent.
Maybe these heat waves
aren’t “waves” that come and go,
but the state of our collective denial
of our part in climate change.
Maybe the real forest fires are inside us.
For once—for real—
we can stop complaining about the weather
and actually do something about it.
God forgives and waits for us to repent;
until then we swelter.

________________
Weather Report

Hellish
as the friction between our ego and reality
generates heat.
The vortex between our selfishness
and the rest of the world
will create storm conditions;
expect widespread destruction.

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

No score

What if we are playing with God
and there is no score,
no winning or losing,
only playing with God?
Oh, the play is serious:
justice and healing and the mending of the world.
But what if God doesn’t want us to perform well,
but only to play?
What if it’s not about being good enough
but being with God?
Forget the score and play.

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

Erased

           God forgave us all our trespasses,
           erasing the record that stood against us
           with its legal demands.
           God set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
                           —Colossians 2.13-14

The good news is that everything is forgiven—
everything.
All you thought was demanded of you
is actually an illusion.
There is no account,
no thought of how “good” you are.
Only love.

Does the sun judge the tree,
or punish it for growing poorly?
No, it only shines.

How hard it is to trust
that God is pure light, pure delight.
How we want to hang onto judgment—
but it is crucifixion.
From Cain onward that has been our sin:
to judge and to expect judgment.

Salvation is not “qualifying” for something.
It’s trusting you don’t have to.

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

Rooted

           As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Beloved,
           continue to live your lives in them,
           rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith,
           just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
                           —Colossians 2.6-7


You are not a potted plant,
dependent on your little cup of dirt for faith.
You are planted in Christ, the roots of your soul
tangled with the roots of a thousand saints,
like the million hands of a whole tribe’s memory
grasping deep earth, roots like a lover’s arms
reaching down into that love,
drinking water from underground springs
gushing up, roots wound like lovers’ legs
in fungal webs of trade and alchemy, each
providing what the other lacks, holding hands
beneath all that can be seen,
deep in the the earth of Christ.
You pray and praise with branches of the Spirit s hands,
passing news from bird to bird,
and life from sun to little mouths that sing.

Rooted in Christ you are not a tree.
You are a forest,
abounding.

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

The Prayer of Jesus (The Lord’s Prayer) — A Paraphrase

Oh, Holy Mommy, Mommy,
Unimaginable but Here,
may our hearts revere you,
our lives name you who are Unnameable.
Your delight—unfold!
This world—be as you intend!
You are our life in this breath… and this one, and this one.
You who cancel our debts, real and imagined,
help us let go of everyone’s:
no one owes anyone anything. It’s all a gift.
Steer us past our desires and attachments;
save us from our selfishness.
Beloved, you are the only power;
you are the whole world;
you are the beauty of everything.
Wow.
Amen.



[Here is a collection of ten paraphrases of the Lord’s Prayer.]

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

Picking Strawberries

You will not find the best from above.
Kneel in the bread-colored dirt.
Bow down among the weeds.
Draw your face near to the earth.
Lift their green hands, from beneath,
where they hold their offerings.

Let the smell enter you.
Let the wind lay its hand on your face.
Let the sun wrap its arms around your back.

Earth has no need to give you
what is not yet ripe, or already past.
Look for the pure red heart;
feel the gentle firmness.
You know you touch the light
of the first day of creation
slowly deepening in each little red sun.
Hear the soft “yes” as the stem snaps.
Like a child the fruit rolls into your hand.

This moment is really no different from all others.

They come to you one by one.
Imagine who might give such a gift.
In the silence of your own ripeness,
venerate the gifts on the altar of the afternoon,
genuflect with wine-red hands,
and receive your morsel.

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