Another view on Judgment

God’s judgment is always that you need more love.

We live (as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed) in “the communion of saints.” In the communion of saints our teachers, our encouragers, our sources of inspiration are both unbound by time (i.e., they are the living and those who have died) and unbound by geography, culture, language, or any other boundary we may encounter in our earthly journey.

One of my teachers (a contemporary) is a retired Methodist minister living in Maine. Steve Garnaas-Holmes has a way with words shaped by his experiences of God’s unconditional love. I encourage you to check out his daily reflections on Unfolding Light. Here is a sample from his post today (February 10, 2022).

Before God judges you
       God loves you.

Before God sees your sin
       God sees your wound.

Before God sees how you thrashed in the world
       God sees what you are fighting off.

Before God sees you steal
       God sees your hunger.

Before God sees the awful things you do to survive
       God wants you to survive.

Before God punishes you
       God protects you from further hurt,
because God never punishes,
       but wraps gentle arms around you.

God’s judgment is always
       that you need more love.

Judgment” on Unfolding Light, a daily reflection posted by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (dated 02/10/2022).

Against the brutal urge


As day dawns in California details continue to emerge about the brutality of yet another mass shooting in our nation. The lament that this is becoming too “normal” is gaining volume. When will our leaders hear the lament?

Prayers multiply. Action to reign in gun violence by gun control has yet to reach the ‘tipping point’ and yet it is the hope and the work of many more each day: to be the voice, to join the work, that begins to control the proliferation of arms in our neighborhoods and communities; it is the further hope of many to be the voice and join the work of nurturing dignity, respect, and peace in our neighborhoods and communities.

How about you, what do you hear? What is the movement of the Spirit within you?

Here is one Pastor’s Response:

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Against the brutal urge
only a mass of gentle people
will be effective.

Against the deep night
which is not bottomless after all
only light will bring release.

Read the entire post on Unfolding Light, the blog of Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes. And, listen for the Spirit.

What do you hear?

If you’ve not encountered  (Pastor) Steve Garnaas-Holmes yet, let this be your introduction. Upon hearing these words from Luke…

Prepare the way of the Lord, make a straight path for God. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. —Luke 3.4-6

… Steve heard a prayer and shared it:

God of love, take my heart and change it.

Take what is rough in me and let it become gentle.

Take my fear and let it become wonder.

Read the entire prayer

And you, what do you hear?

Visit Steve’s Blog: Unfolding Light


Wind Chimes: 28 Feb 2013

Just then some Pharisees came up and said [to Jesus], “Run for your life! Herod’s on the hunt. He’s out to kill you!” Jesus said, “Tell that fox that I’ve no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I’m busy clearing out the demons and healing the sick; the third day I’m wrapping things up.

Luke 13:31f in The Message

Sometimes the sound of the chimes is baffling. I wonder at both the beauty and the ‘terror’ of the sounds. How about you? What do you hear?

From the Gospel (Luke 13:31-35) of 2 Lent in Year C (RCL)

Warned, Jesus nonetheless continues on to Jerusalem, Herod, enemies, and death. And at the same time offers one of the most tender images of who he is and what he wants to do.:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings… Luke 13:34 NRSV

Once again, I quote Steve Garnaas-Holmes on Unfolding Light as he opens this vignette and invites us to enter more deeply into the life of Jesus:

Jesus, my man, my hope, my strength,
why did you have to go and say that?
Why don’t you be a lion,
roaring over her cubs,
why not a mother bear
nobody wants to mess with?
Why not be mighty? Why not last?
Why tell that fox, that fox,
his bullying eyes, his greedy teeth,
why tell that fox you want to be
a mother hen?

Please, read his entire meditation, You tell that fox, on Unfolding Light—I believe you will like the ending; I did.


Image: L.Kenzel on Wikimedia Commons

Wind Chimes: 19 Feb 2013

On Sunday (2/17/13) we heard about the Temptation of Jesus. Periodically that same tune plays through the chimes we hear. What does such a tune stir up in you?

Temptation. A reflection by Pastor Steve.

In our Sunday handout I included this meditation. For those of you not able to be around the table in real life (= irl), I share the beginning of Steve’s meditation here:

Dear Gentle God,

I am not tempted to turn flint into rye, to be able to fly—or even drift nicely—or to bow down to some guy in a red suit and a tail so the kingdoms of the world worship me. Jesus knew he couldn’t do magic, defy gravity or make people like him. But I do want to have power and to be in control of my life, to avoid suffering or struggle, and to manage what other people think of me. I am tempted to make of things something that they aren’t. I’m tempted to take the comfortable route. I’m tempted to expect that you should protect me from difficulty. And I really want to make people like me.

In this sere land of desire, God, rip these idols from my hands.

You’ll want to read the rest; you can find the complete meditation here: Temptation by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, February 15, 2013, on his blog, Unfolding Light.

Image: Leo za1 on Wikimedia Commons

Wind Chimes: 4 Dec 2012

Good morning

As a new day dawns the chimes sound in greeting and joy. What do you hear?

Preparing for a guest

In this Advent season we prepare outwardly for Christmas: we hang lights and put up decorations, we bake goodies and wrap gifts. How will you prepare inwardly? The coming of Christ means that God will be incarnate: embodied, lovingly present, in the flesh in your life. Christ is coming into your life, into your heart, in a new way. Advent is a time to prepare a way for that to happen. God enters our lives without our planning or arranging; yet there are ways we can open the doors, and as the carol says of Jesus, “prepare him room.”

Imagine that Jesus were actually coming to live with you. What would you want to do to prepare? READ the rest of the “Prepare the way” meditation on Unfolding Light

Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.”

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar


God help us to be …

God help us to be honest
so our children will learn honesty.
Help us to be kind
so our children will learn kindness.
Help us to be faithful
so our children will learn faith.
Help us to love
so our children will be loving.

Marian Wright Edelman in
Guide My Feet, (1995).

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Children’s Defense Fund — “a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for nearly 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children.”

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

divider line

Photo: Nao Sakaki on Indian Country Today Media Network

Wind Chimes: 6 Nov 2012

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NRSV

I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
And so with unfailing love,
I have drawn you to myself.

Jeremiah 31:3 CEB

No matter who “wins” today, God’s faithful presence and love will neither be diminished nor enhanced; it will be the same at the end of the day as it is right now. Cast your vote and then rest in God’s love today—and tomorrow and always. ~dan

Cacophonous might best describe the sounds in the chimes today. What do you hear?

Vote in love

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

My prayer is that you will vote
in love, not in fear,

that those who govern
will act in love, not fear,

and that you will make every choice,
large or small,
every day, all your life,
not in fear, but in love,

for this alone can heal the world,

and I believe it shall.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

A post by Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light

A prayer for today

Let nothing disturb you;
let nothing dismay you.
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
They who have God find they lack nothing:
God alone suffices.

An oft quoted prayer (and favorite prayer of mine) from Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). Thank you Christin Coffee Rondeau for reminding me/us of this prayer on Election Day.

Image: Rice County, MN Election Information Page ~dan

Unless I see the marks « Unfolding Light

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,and put my finger in the mark of the nailsand my hand in his side, I will not believe.” —John 20.25

Just before we leave the Second Week of Easter let us take one more look at Thomas. Steve Garnaas-Holmes is a United Methodist minister who writes daily. I am grateful for his insights and his willingness to share.

Here, I have excerpted his meditation  “Unless I see the marks.” You will want to read the entire meditation (more than once). It has opened my eyes to see Thomas in a different light.

Oh, Thomas was no doubter.…

”Oh, more, not less than all the rest,
Thomas believed in love, and how it bled. …

He didn’t ask to see his smiling face,
[his] famous, radiant eyes;
he didn’t hope to see him break the bread
the way he always did.
No, he asked to see his wounds,
the marks of love, the wounds of one
who weeps with those who weep,
who has walked with us through the valley
of the shadow of death.

Oh, Thomas, I’m with you: …

Read the entire meditation: Unless I see the marks « Unfolding Light.

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