Ordinary light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
Coming down from the holy mountain we know
we have not escaped the world’s darkness,
we’ve found how light is hidden here.

It was no different from the rest of our lives;
we just took the time to remove our sunglasses
and see for a change.

Even ordinary light is miraculous and holy.
Christ lives and shines with infinite love and divine glory
in our passing days of laundry
and crabby co-workers and scrubbing the kitchen table.

Give thanks for momentary glimpses
of the fullness of God’s glory,
but don’t stare at the sun.
Know it’s here,
and look for the light where you are.

A little girl waits for the bus,
singing a nonsense song to herself,
and stops, silent, staring at trees.
I swear, she casts shadows.

         
         
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

February 23, 2017  Leave a comment

Transfiguration meditation

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
Jesus said, “If you want to become my followers,
deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”
         Give us grace, God, to follow in the way of the cross.

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John
and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.
         We come to you not by our own design, O Christ,
         but by your loving invitation.

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun,
and his clothes became dazzling white.
         You are our dawn and our light, O Christ.
         Fill us with the light of your love.

Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
         Fulfill your Word in us, not by mere obedience or prophecy,
         not in mere knowledge or lawfulness, but in love.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here;
if you wish, I will make three dwellings here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
         Save us, O God, from our temptation
         to capture and control our lives, your gifts, and even you.
         Give us grace to be alive in the present moment.

While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them.
         O Loving Mystery, overcome our knowledge with wonder,
         that in a cloud of unknowing we may love you.

And from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;
with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
         When you call us to follow in the way of the cross, help us listen.
         In every moment of our lives, help us listen.

When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground
and were overcome by fear.
         We confess our fear of the unknown, fear of the light in us,
         fear of your grace and your presence that overwhelms us.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Get up and do not be afraid.”
         Help us always to know your touch, to hear your voice:
         “You are my Beloved. Do not be afraid.
         You are my Beloved. Do not be afraid.”

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
         Our visions are not of another world, but this one.
         Open our eyes to see you in our daily lives.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them,
“Tell no one about the vision
until after the Human One has been raised from the dead.”
         Help us proclaim our faith, not in triumphal self-confidence
         but in humbly following in the way of the cross,
         trusting in resurrection. Alleluia.

__________________
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

February 22, 2017  Leave a comment

This is the way

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         Jesus began to show his disciples
         that he must undergo great suffering and be killed.
         Peter said, “God forbid it, Lord!”
         But Jesus said, “If you want to become my followers,
         deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”
         Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter
         and James and his brother John
         and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.
         And he was transfigured before them,
         and his face shone like the sun.
         And a voice said, “This is my Son; listen to him!”
         Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision
         until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

                           —from Matthew 16.21-17.9

The transfiguration is not just about Jesus shining with glory.
It’s God’s affirmation of the way of the cross:
the way of forgiveness and love even of our enemies,
the way of solidarity with those who suffer,
the way of deep self-giving,
the way of vulnerability for the sake of justice.
On the mountain Jesus shines with the light of resurrection.
The way of the cross, that dark path, is full of light.

If Jesus is only shining with glory
we won’t have gotten the story right.
Not until we have seen the suffering and the resurrection
can we speak truthfully about it.

Above the way of suffering
there is a brightly lit sign saying “Entrance.”
God help us to see, and to follow.

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

February 21, 2017  Leave a comment

Evergreen

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
In the snowy woods
the branches are all bare, resting.
But here is this little shrub,
green leaves peering out from the snow,
taking in every bit of sunlight it can.

God, I want a little evergreen in my heart,
always open to you,
always taking in your light,
even when I am not thinking of it,
always taking you into me.

Your light pours in
and I become light.
Bless my little evergreen.

__________________
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

February 20, 2017  Leave a comment

Under snow

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
Under the snow there is a path.
I know where it is.
The rest I don’t know.
The trees are bundled
in their many-sleeved white fur coats,
meditating.
Mice do their shopping in tunnels unseen.
Here some tracks appear—
a squirrel—and there disappear.
The sound of a woodpecker echoes,
but I can’t find it.
The brook moves under its disguise of sleep.
The earth is turning,
the season, dressed in white,
making her slow walk down the aisle.
Sitting in prayer, most of what goes on
is not what I can see.
But it is a beautiful thing
to stand in the woods
and let the sun move
and listen to the wind.

 

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

February 16, 2017  Leave a comment

Purify my heart

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

  
         You have heard that it was said,
                  “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
         But I say to you, if anyone strikes you on the right cheek,
                  turn the other also.
         You have heard that it was said,
                  “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
         But I say to you, love your enemies
                  and pray for those who persecute you.
         Be perfectly loving,
                  as your heavenly Abba is perfectly loving.

                           —from Matthew 5.38-48

God, fill me with light,
that I may resist evil not with anger but with light.
Keep me mindful that I am your salt,
not needing to prove my saltiness,
but only to be myself, even in the face of evil.
Give me light even to love my enemy,
salt to turn the other cheek.
Help me resist evil and injustice
as one who is poor in spirit, gentle,
mourning, and hungering for justice.
Help me show mercy as you show mercy.
Purify my heart of all but love,
that I may be purely loving as you.
Give me strength and perseverance
to be a peacemaker despite persecution.
When an evildoer strikes me give me grace
with meekness and purity of heart
to turn the other cheek,
and so with love to stand in their way.
For nothing but the cross will undo evil.
Help me to bear it, for the sake of the world.
Amen.
+

__________________
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

February 15, 2017  Leave a comment

Beggar child

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Look at the birds of the air;
         they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
         and yet your heavenly Abba feeds them.

                  —Matthew 6.26

You have driven all the way to the Grand Canyon.
Why won’t you get out of the car and look?

Why do you come to the royal banquet
with that little tin cup of yours?

Don’t be like those who put on beggar’s rags
to cry for a handout and then go home to riches.

Every moment is a tour of the royal palace.
It’s a giveaway. You can have what you want.

The dishes, the paintings, take them all.
Because it’s already yours. This is your home.

The forgiveness, the grace—it’s yours, all of it.
The stars and sunsets belong to to you.

Little child, why would your Mother not let you live here?
Why would your Heavenly Lover withhold anything?

Forget possessing. Ignore getting and keeping.
It’s already all yours.

         

         
         
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

February 14, 2017  Leave a comment

Full moon, shoveling snow

         
Late night, no lights, full moon,
shoveling snow.
The white snow poured out over everything
as if poured out of the silver moon,
making everything into one,
a single white mass.
How can the darkness be so bright?
Knee deep in light,
I can’t tell where the snow ends
and the light begins.
Only blue shadows tell me
where the driveway ends
and the yard begins.
I dig down through the light
to the black pavement,
heave moonlight off the driveway.
It sparkles in dark air,
blending with the sparkling stars,
their hot flame bundled in the black sky
like me in my black coat,
warm in the cold night.
Some of the stars stay in the sky;
some fall in the yard,
beauty falling like snow.
Light piles up around me in the dark.
I am the thrower of light,
enlightening the world.

Now let me live this way,
everything made one in light,
wonder piled up around me.
Let me live sowing light,
so you can’t tell
where I end and the light begins,
until that day
when I end
and the light begins.

__________________
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

February 13, 2017  Leave a comment

Chose life

         I have set before you life and death,
                  blessings and curses.
         Choose life
                  so that you and your descendants may live.

                           —Deuteronomy 30.19

         You have heard, “You shall not murder,”
         but I say if you are angry
         you are out of tune with God’s mercy.

                           —Matthew 5.20-21

God me help to truly love:
to let go of getting my way,
to let go of being right,
let go of my agenda
even to be just and righteous,
to satisfy you…
and instead to love people,
to choose life— not for me
but for them.
Share with me your love
that I may live for others’ sake
and all my choices be
for the sake of their life,
their deep and free and abundant life,
trusting that you have already chosen life for 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

February 10, 2017  Leave a comment

Offering

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  

Holy One,
I lay upon your altar a stone, maybe,
      or a feather, a cup,
      some rain, some words, or some earth.
I set on your table a bowl,
      an unlit candle, a window,
      a fish still swimming in the sea.

These are my struggles, my joys,
      my gifts, my weaknesses, my sins.
They are my gratitude, my sorrow,
      my shame, my wonderings, my light.

I offer them to you.
Receive them with love,
      bless them with grace,
      and use them according to your delight.

The sun shines in onto the table.
I hear the silence, and something in it,
      your offering to me.
I hold it in myself,
      like the sun on the table.

+

 
         
         
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

February 9, 2017  Leave a comment

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