Friday, September 3, 2010


Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Too much awe
       strips off our skin,
              too bright a glory terrifies.

Too deep a wonder churns our guts,
       like heights.
              The numinous disturbs.

The infinite unsettles things.
       The miraculous can only mean
              that we were wrong.

The tragedy of wasted love,
       a river's unrequited generosity,
              the vertigo of forgiveness,

the heartbreaking tale of a certain
       rise in the earth or a green branch,
              given without explanation,

the disorienting presence
       of the kid in a dirty t-shirt who could be
              trouble, could be the Messiah—

oh, so much that's out of our hands
       could overrun our hearts.
              It's all too much.

When once you rowed your little boat
       over the surface of the great silence
              and looked through the gathering depths...

—well, not again.
       Though the saints only appear to be
              in grave danger on their tightropes,

and they never fall—still,
       we avert out hearts. You could slip
              forever into the unfolding rose,

so we don't go near. You could be
       consumed by wonder, awestruck
              so hard you can't regain control.

Too much will hurt, we say, a surfeit
       of divine presence—lurking in the ordinary—
              burns. So we don't look at all.

It's ouranophobia, the fear
       of heaven. We avoid
              too much splendor, mystery

or love. We fight it without knowing.
       We flee the moment. We wish.
              We understand. We keep talking.

And God gently, grandly returns
       again and again, dawning irresistibly,
              drawing us toward the edge,

the sudden, helpless, glorious fall,
       gut-floating and irreversible,
              through those unyielding pearly gates.

No— before you even open your eyes,
       count the cost. Something close to worship
              will steal your mastery, your deserving,

your life. Love and wonder
       will devour you. You'll have nothing left
              but that.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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