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

Miracles

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

      He could do no deed of power there…
      and he was amazed at their unbelief.

            —Mark 6.5-6

 

Not under obligation
to believe what does not come to me,
nor credited with clever faith,

but merely open
to what may unfold
beyond my familiarity,

I watch
for what miracles
you may perform:

this moment, sung to me,
a platter of joy and blessing
produced out of thin air,

the light that fills the eyes I open,
heavenly beings surrounding me,
yes these,

even my wondering,
even my breath,
even myself.

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 2, 2015  Leave a comment

Rage

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

I want to pray in peace,
to pray for justice in this world,
but I think of the the brutalized,
the enslaved, the run-over …
and I am in rage.
I think of the tortured and exploited
and rage rises in me like a fire
and consumes my prayer. It is my prayer.
I do not feel peace. I feel rage at our evil.
Heat, burning.

So I sit with it
so the rage that is powerlessness
burns away from the rage that is love,
so that it doesn’t become mere anger,
mere resentment, even hate.
I let the rage burn in the consuming fire
of the love of God,
the burning bush that called Moses,
the pillar of flame that led them to freedom,
the lamp uncovered on the stand,
the zeal that turned over tables,
the fire of Pentecost that sent the martyrs
out into the flames of their world.

Until the rage becomes light.
Heat, yes, and light.

This candle has ben burning
for a million years.

I will go with a broken heart,
and with compassion,
humility, and mercy.
I will go with courage, I pray,
with passion unfading.
And in God’s grace I will go with rage.

Do not let me have too much peace, God.
Do not let the fire go out.

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 1, 2015  Leave a comment

Justice

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Justice is not an ideal,
far off and longed for:
it is a power within you,
an unstoppable river.

The Empire of God
is among you.

Justice is already,
in the beating of your heart
with others, its leaning
out over the troubled street
to touch them.

The seed sprouts and grows,
you know not how.

Healing is not a future:
it is a flowering now,
a hand opening unseen.

We need not wait for justice:
it is a compassion flowing now,
a courage rising up in you now,
it is who we are already,
the electricity among us all
now emerging, always struggling,
always birthing, always,
now.

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

June 30, 2015  Leave a comment

Fountain of mercy

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

How could they
to whom such monstrous things have happened
forgive so readily, so deeply, with such reach?
A man wanted to start a race war
and they diverted it into an outbreak
of forgiveness.
How did they do this?

Like the response team
rushing toward the burning building,
this is what they have been practicing
all their lives,
to love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
to be light amidst darkness,
to be a fountain of mercy
from the depths, always and no matter what:
to not have to “get to a place of forgiveness”
because you already live there.

They knew your Grace, O God;
it was all they had in their hands,
all they had to give.

God, fill me with your love,
let your mercy flow through me,
and help me to practice forgiveness
every day, every day, every moment,
so that at the time it is most needed
I too will be ready.

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

June 29, 2015  Leave a comment

A prayer for readiness

 

         Jairus begged him,
         “My little daughter is at the point of death.
         Come….” So he went with him.
                    
— Mark 5.22-24

God of love,
you call me to love, to be kind,
to extend your grace to all.
You call me to step out of myself
to care, to forgive, to bless, to heal.
You call me to leave my place of comfort,
even to enter into unfamiliar ground,
the house of the stranger, my opponent’s turf,
to love them.
Deepen in me this day my willingness to go,
my readiness to show kindness to all.

I do not have the power to heal;
it is your power.
I enter into your healing that is present.
Deepen in me this day my awareness of your grace.

I am mindful of those asking for help
and those silently reaching out for you.
May your healing unfold within them.
Deepen in me this day my love for them all,
my ear for their cries,
my openness to your grace.

God of love,
today I would be loving.

__________________
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

June 26, 2015  Leave a comment

What the stone says

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

How can you not see it,
if you stand still enough,
or walk out far enough:
the light shimmering from every leaf,
the actual hardness of every stone?
This stone says something
of humility and presence,
of where it came from, and the belly of stars,
but it stays silent to draw you nearer.
We are, all of us, even the thin geranium
on the back stoop, reaching up
for light, for life, for beauty,
singing out with the great silent voice
of the immense glory of being,
the long, amazing story
and a love story it is.
Without your having to remember—
such a gift, such a gift—
your lungs open to the world
and take in life, each moment.
Who gave you that?
How can you not sing, even in silence?
When we grow afraid we forget,
we wear protective layers
of things to believe, things to do,
so many things to do,
so that we don’t come too near
and catch fire.

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

June 25, 2015  Leave a comment

Stillness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

    You sleep and rise night and day,
and the seed sprouts and grow,
you do not know how.

—Mark 4.27

         He was aware that power
had gone forth from him.

—Mark 5.30

Healing happens without my effort,
without my knowing how,
without my knowing at all.

I recover from illness, from trauma,
from exercise, from life:
by resting, that is all.
Healing and growth come in rest,
the stillness between the efforts.

I protect the stillness
in true Sabbath:
not merely nodding to the shrine
as I hurry on,
not promising to be—though I would—
mindful amidst the swirl,
but free of the swirl,
still,
actually stopped,

without fear or guilt,
accomplishing nothing,
repenting of nothing,
purely here, waiting, being.

In stillness alone
you are here

and in stillness
I am with you,
I receive you
and receive your miraculous grace.

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

June 24, 2015  Leave a comment

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