Vacation

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
—Mark 6.30-31

We’re all coming and going, flush with our successes, full of compelling stories complaining about how busy we are, and the Teacher just interrupts us without any congratulations or sympathy and says “Come away.” As if to say, “Get out of there. Back away.” He knows how addicted we are to our busyness. It’s not good.

Jesus invites us into “a deserted place,” a place where there’s no one else to judge us, need us, threaten us or define us. He invites us to let go of our desire to control, to prove ourselves, to identify ourselves by what we have contributed.

In stillness we enter the mystery of Sabbath: we cease working and trust that our life does not come from our own effort but is the gift of God. We are like an infant in it’s mother’s arms, with no power, no gift, no claim to worth other than our being, and our mother’s delight. That is enough. We simply rest in her loving gaze.

When we go “on vacation” we don’t just vacate our workplace. We ourselves become vacant, empty, with nothing to show for ourselves, with infinite space for the holy to unfold in us. The vacant places in you are sacred.

So I will go. I’m heading out for a couple of weeks of vacation. I’ll see you again in early August.

Meanwhile, be well. Be still. Be empty enough for God. You are enough.

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

July 16, 2015  Leave a comment

Being the person

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

 

 

The stone beside the pond
owes nothing

is being a stone
the stone beside the pond

Not seeking purely being
the turtle sits on the stone

that holds the turtle
that sits in the light

All eternity passes though them
Purity of being solid as stone

created
given

Every creature flows
from its stillness

The stone perfectly here
the turtle absolutely now

It is best not to leave
until you have become

the person beside the pond
your belonging given

and then in the next place
there too

 

 

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

July 15, 2015  Leave a comment

Come away

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         “Come away to a deserted place
         all by yourselves and rest a while.”

                  —Mark 6.31

Leave the marketplace
of having to get, having to give.
Leave the roadway of needing to be
somewhere you’re not.
Abandon the screen
of being someone you’re not.

Come away to the place of solitude,
solely you, a soul.
Come away to be your self.
No striving,
nothing to earn or prove or be forgiven.

Here the tools, the costumes,
the armor, the nets are of no use.
No bills, no credits.
Only your soul matters,
and its holy flesh
and your holy rest.

To be born again you must return again
to the womb of solitude.
Nothing is required.
Everything is given.
You are held.
It is enough.

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

July 14, 2015  Leave a comment

Clearing it out

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

I wonder, walking in these woods,
along stone walls so purposefully laid,
what it was like to clear the land,
by hand and oxen, long ago,
and pry the stones out, lift
the smaller ones, and heft them up,
the bigger ones with tools and
chains and wheels, with all
their solid weight pushing down against
you, against your hands, your will,

stone after stone,
to clear it out.

How right and good it must have seemed
to see the walls set out,
the fields enclosed.

How hard and fine, and no less work
to lift away my bitterness, my fear,
and clear an open, gentle space.

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

July 13, 2015  Leave a comment

After last night’s rain

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

After last night’s rain
the woods breathe gently on me,
soft radiance of green,
oak and beech and pine and vine
all in their own way
reaching for the light,
shedding on me the grace of life
received and given,
breathing out what I breathe in.
New mushrooms sprout,
these little friends, these humble workers.

They who scrub the air and tend the soil,
who shade and shelter life,
are not the only ones.
The whole world breathes the blessing,
life grown in soil’s dark womb,
in fists of mountains, lap of seas,
last night’s rain stretching back
those eons of blessing.

Just be among the living
and breathe deeply of the blessing,
song of bird and wind,
blessing pooled in puddles
along the path,
wrapped in small packages
in every passing soul on the road.

Breathe deeply of it all this blessed day.
It lasts.
In a breeze the limbs above
shower me.
Last night’s rain began
before the world,
will never end.

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

July 10, 2015  Leave a comment

Dance

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         David danced before the Lord with all his might.
                  —2 Samuel 6.14

         When his daughter Herodias came in and danced,
she pleased Herod and his guests.

— Mark 6.22

Music is playing,
music with an aim, produced,
music of collusion and desire,
insistent and sexual.
Hard not to move with the music.
Hard not to fall into the rhythm,
seduce and be seduced.
But don’t slip on the blood
on the floor.

Other music plays,
silent, within.
Different feel, different band.
Music of a beating heart,
melody of tumbling water,
lullaby whispered for a lifetime,
song of hearts set free.
The Beloved cuts in.
“May I have this one?”

No one to impress, only to offend.
No one to dance for, only with.
Dance.
Let joy move you,
even in the face of evil,
let love move you.
Before the guns,
behind the prison bars,
on the gallows, dance.
Dance on your own grave.
When they threaten you, dance
the other dance that at last
will consume them as well.

Unseen, though you know within,
the Beloved takes you in steady arms.
Dance.

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

July 9, 2015  Leave a comment

Ephesians 1.3-14

            A paraphrase

Blessed be God, who birthed real love among us in Christ,
and in that love has given us the blessings of heaven itself.
Since before Creation, in this love, God intended
that we would be holy, loved, and loving,
God’s own dear children.
In this love, so generously lavished on us,
we are redeemed, and all our wrongs are forgiven.
Stop and wonder at this grace, and give thanks!

If God gives us any wisdom or insight
it is to know that it is God’s delight
to always be gathering everything in Creation
into Christ, into the body of love.
This is is our destiny, God’s will, which is always fulfilled:
that we, who began by hoping in the Love that Fills the World,
would ourselves live lives that radiate that love.
When first heard this wonder, that you are part of the world’s salvation,
when you first opened yourself to this love,
it poured into you. God’s Spirit changed you.
Now you yourself are part of God’s promise.
The Spirit in you is the first bit of God’s redemption of the world.
That is God’s glory. Doesn’t it make you want to praise God?

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


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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 8, 2015  Leave a comment

Not afraid

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         When Herod heard [of Jesus' disciples
         healing and casting out demons]
         he said, ”John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

                  —Mark 6.16

Herod has it all: cynicism, selfishness, lasciviousness, sexual abuse, cruelty, violence and the abuse of power. He uses people, even his daughter. But. He’s actually afraid. He likes to listen to John the baptizer—for entertainment, not for transformation. Maybe he’s attracted because John speaks with such power. All the more necessary, then, to have absolute power over John. Yet in his power he’s trapped. He’s afraid of his guests, afraid of his wife, obligated to his daughter, even afraid of the corner he’s painted himself into. And even after he has killed John, Herod realizes that he’s also still afraid of John, afraid of some power that transcends his own, that transcends even death.

That’s the context of our ministry, the context of resurrection. Resurrection isn’t about the happy reunion with your loved ones in the afterlife; that comes later. Resurrection is God’s answer to fear and violence in this life. We either live by the rules of Herod—the rule of fear and violence, and the necessary devaluation of others—or we live by the power of resurrection, the power of love, which transcends not just mortality but violence, cynicism and fear.

God sends us to do the work of healing, to cast out out demons of fear and violence, demons of cynicism, domination and racism, demons of the love of money and power. In that work we will suffer the anger of those powers. Those who work for justice will be silenced, punished, jailed, and worse. Our prayers go out for all people who are political prisoners, who are tortured, who are used, who are silenced. But they, and we, are sustained by a greater power. Even in our powerlessness and suffering our love is raised up into an infinite blessing. We know resurrection. God energizes us with love to confront the powers and even to suffer injustice and answer it with resurrection, with love that transcends fear and violence, and even suffering and death.

With all his power, Herod is afraid. But in the spirit of the Crucified and Risen One, we are not afraid.

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

July 7, 2015  Leave a comment

Gifts

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

The bee
backs out of the blossom,
blessed with nectar,
touched gold with pollen.
Another smiles,
secretly grateful for the exchange.

You do not know what blessings
the Beloved gives to you,
what blessings the Beloved
receives.

___________________
Weather Report

Gifts,
accumulating through the day,
as a warm front of grace
moves through your life,
resulting in downpours,
heavy at times,
of giving and receiving
unbeknownst to you.

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

July 6, 2015  Leave a comment

Resistance

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         He called the twelve
        and began to send them out two by two,
         and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

                  —Mark 6.7

Yes, you will face the demonic—
evil, injustice and oppression
in all its pleasant disguises.
And often you will shake
their dust from your sandals.

But don’t be afraid.
The joy of the Beloved
is poured into your veins
from a pitcher larger
than the world.

No depth of darkness
can put out the candle.

The sheer mass of blessing
in you
fear can’t budge
no matter how hard it trembles,
a small island
in the great sea of grace.

Don’t worry about the darkness.
Let there be 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

July 3, 2015  Leave a comment

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