Survival

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
Last week’s heavy snow bent young pines down
then froze their tops to the icy ground.
Most have come free and have straightened up,
that mysterious life force raising us up,
never punishing, always raising us up.
There are some whose trunks split,
or were uprooted. Some will not survive.
Even now some are still bent and bound.
Most will survive. Some will not.
In any storm not all survive,
not all of us.

But take courage Beloved.
You are not a tree.
You are a forest.

 

_________________
Weather Report

Mixed,
as both life and death blow through us.
Storms will both strip things bare
and water the earth.
High and low pressure areas will develop
in isolated areas,
but you belong to something larger.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 24, 2017  Leave a comment

Today

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         We must work the works of the One who sent me
                  while it is day;
         night is coming when no one can work.
         As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

                           —John 9.4-5

This is your day, your life.
Night will come, when you are no more.
But today you are God’s light in the world.
This is the time to shine,
to love, to forgive and ask forgiveness,
to speak for justice, to give yourself
to the mending of the world.
This day.

The coming of night need not frighten you.
But let it keep you awake
while it is day.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 23, 2017  Leave a comment

You are light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         Once you were darkness,
                  but now in Christ you are light.
         Live as children of light—
                  for the light shines
                  in all that is good and right and true.

                           —Ephesians 5.8-9

You don’t need to seek the light.
You are light,
light of God’s Word,
light of Gods love,
shining in your being.

Meditate on this light,
glowing from within.
Trust this light,
given, not made.

Don’t worry to shine the light;
it already shines.
Simply be mindful.
Open the shutters of your heart,
and let the divine light radiate.

You are light.

+

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 22, 2017  Leave a comment

So we may become blind

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         “I came into this world for judgment
         so that those who do not see may see,
         and those who do see may become blind.”

                           —John 9.39

The ninth chapter of John tells a story hilarious with irony about Jesus healing a blind man while all those about him can’t see the truth. They are not ready to see the man healed, because it contradicts what they believe. For them truly believing is seeing. They don’t believe; so they are blind to the miracle in their midst.

How like us. We have things figured out. We have people pigeonholed. We have our ideas about God. We have our opinions. And of course—lucky for us—we’re right. Prejudices, judgments, beliefs: delusions, all. They keep us from really seeing.

Sometimes I know the woods so well I don’t have to look. I don’t see them. Sometimes we see people the way we’ve been conditioned to see them, and in our eyes they can’t change. It is not God who is absent. It is we who are blind.

Jesus told us parables to confuse us, so we would start over. “If your eyes causes you to sin, pluck it out.” When what you’ve seen keeps you from seeing anew, blind yourself.

Blind to our judgments, unknowing, perhaps we will really see for the first time.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 21, 2017  Leave a comment

Hope

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
Today, the first day of spring,
is a door still closed.
Woods still in the ice trap,
pine saplings still bent,
their tops bound to the icy snow.
My fingers ache from my walk.
They feel no different from deepest January,
tut the sun is moving,
rising to the right of the trunk
where it rose yesterday.
Earth is leaning. I can hear it.
New birds sing.
I hope in spring, not because I wish
but because I know.
I trust what’s beyond the door,
even before it opens.
The grace of God, and free forgiveness,
and the treasures that lie within,
a heaven that comes like breath in my sleep,
do not ask proof.
Today is the first day of autumn
for my friends Down Under.
I stand on greening earth.
The door is within.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 20, 2017  Leave a comment

Water from the rock

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         “Take in your hand the staff
                  with which you struck the Nile, and go.
         I will be standing there in front of you
                  on the rock at Horeb.
         Strike the rock, and water will come out of it,
                  so that the people may drink.”

                           —Exodus 7.5-6

Moses didn’t know what he was doing,
hitting a rock with a stick.
He trusted the Holy Mystery.

He couldn’t see the rock had water in it,
the staff had power in it,
his own heart held such faith.

And you, who stand before that rock,
what spring hides within it?
What courage waits in your heart?

What is that staff in your hands?

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 17, 2017  Leave a comment

Woman at the well

         John 4.5-42

In a culture where only men can initiate marriage or divorce
she’s been thrown away by five husbands,
and now is used by one who won’t commit to her.
In a culture where women draw water in order of social status,
she’s there for her morning water at noon. She’s a pariah.
He’s a Jew and she’s a Samaritan; he’s a rabbi and she’s a woman.
She has no reason to expect an exchange at all, let alone respect,
and certainly not an engaging theological discussion.

But he sees her—her, not people’s judgment of her.
He sees her as she is, and accepts her without judgment:
she is not immoral; she has been used.
He sees her wound. And he sees the truth in her.
He sees her not as someone flawed,
but someone gifted.

He talks theology with her,
longer than with anybody else in the Gospels.

Then she leaves her water jug,
not out of forgetfulness but because she knows she’s coming back.
She goes into the village,
and the former outcast becomes the first Christian evangelist.
She brings people to Jesus.

Something happened in her that changed her.
What was it?

Imagine this: Jesus comes to you
in the dull midday heat of your ordinary life.
You are bound by judgments of how good you are.
And he sees through that. Sees you. You. Your soul.
He sees your wounds, sees your giftedness.
He sees how your wounds inhibit your gifts…
and yet can propel your gifts.
And in his knowing he sets you free.

Leave your water jug.
What is the news in you to tell?
What will you do? How will you tell it?

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 16, 2017  Leave a comment

Bent over

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
Yesterday’s blizzard brought heavy, sticky snow
that weighed down the trees in the woods,
bent them double, and froze their upper branches
to the ground. They covered the path.
I had to free them to pass:
to pull the tops from the icy sow,
release the needles from heavy globs
and straighten the tree back up,
pressing against the snow’s grip, the set shape,
the bank of ice around the tree’s ankles.
My morning walk took twice as long as usual.

I am bent over, “weary and carrying heavy burdens.”
I am bowed down by wounds and habits,
held in place by frozen hurts.
It diminishes me, and gets in other people’s way.

Christ comes and straightens me.
Pulls me out of what clings,
releases what weighs me down,
loosens what is stiff and crooked,
opens me up from being bent in on myself.
I can stand tall, face the sun, bear fruit.

I am the bent over woman.
“When he laid his hands on her,
immediately she stood up straight
and began praising God” (Lk. 13.13).

When something presses on me,
challenges my stance,
perhaps it not my enemy,
but the hands of Christ,
come to straighten me up and set me free.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 15, 2017  Leave a comment

Spring of life


         The water that I will give
         will become in you a spring of water
         gushing up to eternal life.

                           —John 4.14

O Love, thou spring of life,
well up in me.
Gush up from deep within,
receiving, glad, and overflowing,
giving life, the breath of God
that mortal life nor heart cannot contain,
life rooted deep beneath the earth,
above the stars.
Run deep, pure water of your grace,
pure flow of living energy,
that I may flow with love
each day, each breath.
O Love, thou spring of life,
well up in me.

+

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 14, 2017  Leave a comment

Fasting

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

          Those who drink of the water that I will give them
          will never be thirsty.

                           —John 4.14

Fasting is a traditional spiritual discipline, especially during Lent. It’s not about self-punishment, but a host of other things. Fasting is a form of prayer, a way to pay attention to God. There are many forms of abstinence—people give up lots of stuff for Lent (and for medical reasons some people shouldn’t fast from food). But there is something powerful, something visceral, about fasting from food, something that touches our soul’s embodiment.

You might fast for a few hours, most of a day or longer. If you do, here are some things I experience when I fast. Ponder them and let them lead you deeper into prayer.

Hunger: I am led to inquire of myself what I most deeply want. I discover my hunger for God.

Obedience: I confront the demands of my ego and set them aside, and in humility fast simply because God asks me to, and for no other reason.

Discipline: I practice conscious, intentional choice making, and allow God to mange my will.

Detachment: I let go of desire and the need to fulfill it, and turn my desires over to God.

Weakness: I experience the limits of my powers, my dependence on God, and willingness to turn to God alone.

Slowing : I am not able to be so active. Fasting from food leads to fasting from hurrying. I am not able to be so driven, so bent on justifying myself. I have to adopt a more sabbath-like pace.

Simplicity: I practice contentment. I practice accepting what is instead of wishing it were otherwise.

Suffering: I find I can experience discomfort and still place my attention on God.

Compassion: As Jesus suggests in Mt. 6.16-18 I don’t usually let people know I am fasting. I bear it silently. I know anyone I meet may be enduring secret burdens and struggles, and I can be more sensitive and compassionate toward all people.

Justice: I am more aware of the poor and hungry, and I am more able to be in solidarity with them in prayer and action.

Transformation: I let God change my hunger for food into a hunger to let God’s love flow through me.

Grace: I am more mindful of receiving what I can’t control, and trusting grace.

Delight: I’m more aware of food, the gift of taste, the delight of eating. I get over taking things for granted.

May God bless your fasting; God bless your prayer.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

March 13, 2017  Leave a comment

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