Dull

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
My morning walk in the woods glows with early sun and the warmth of God. But soon I’ll go to my study in the church basement and its papers and phone calls and a meeting at 9:30. Sometimes things sparkle with glory, sometimes we tingle with the feeling of God’s nearness. And sometimes it’s dull. But we’re not called to experience any particular feelings, but to do the work of love, even when it’s hard, or confusing, or even boring. Because it’s not about us. The point is that the world gets loved, whether or not we are rewarded in the loving. We reach our for God even when all we feel is Absence. We praise even when we’re discouraged. We love even when it’s not satisfying.

The problem is not that God is absent, or glory has withdrawn, or meaning has shriveled up inside itself and left us. It’s not that the world is dull: it’s that our senses are dull. And sometimes we’d rather feel loving than actually act loving. But in faith we love anyway, beyond our senses, beyond our knowing, with or without any thrill or understanding. The good news is, it’s really God’s great love, not our own, flowing through us. Sometimes we are simply clay vessels who neither taste nor appreciate the miraculous wine we bear. But we bear it, and even if we are not caught up in ecstasy, even if we have no way to know, God is pleased, and unknown to us, our lives do shine with glory.

____________________
Weather Report

Dull,
overcast and obscured,
though beyond the clouds
glory still swirls about us,
and within us,
as a vast front of grace
passes through our very lives
unseen.

         
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

September 3, 2015  Leave a comment

Be opened

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Looking up to heaven,
         he sighed and said to the deaf man,
         Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
         And immediately his ears were opened,
         his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

                  —Mark 7.34-35

Ears of clay, throat of music plugged,
voices a closed book,
betraying your only cause,
be opened.

Mind clamped down
on what you know, welded smooth,
pursed lips of praise,
be opened.

Heart pinched by doubt,
hope a locked door,
cinctured corpus, future sealed,
be opened.

Living room of God,
door shut, curtains drawn,
heaven not for people like you,
be opened.

Earth of this life and of this death,
world in green and granite furled,
of dawns and endings, grave of clay,
be opened.

And you— watching, yearning hidden,
hands clasped, eyes cast down
but waiting,
be opened.

The hand of God,
portal between all hearts,
all the universe
is opened.

         
         
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

September 2, 2015  Leave a comment

Crumbs

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

         “Let the children be fed first,
                  for it is not fair to take the children’s food
                  and throw it to the dogs.”
         “Sir, even the dogs under the table
                  eat the children’s crumbs.”

                           —Mark 7.27-28

Better than perfection
         is repentance.
Better than defeating your opponent
         is evoking compassion in them.
Better than waiting for the banquet that may never come
         is feasting on the crumbs before you.

         •

You are not unlike the Anointed One
         who is no greater than you.
Something of a better world to come cannot be
         until you speak it.
God does not hold all the cards.
         We see together.

         
         
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

September 1, 2015  Leave a comment

A lament for mental illness

God of mercy,
someone that I love is slowly disappearing,
a dear one taken away inside themselves,
in the thicket of a tangled mind, a broken heart.

I know the person I loved is still in there,
beautiful, noble and dear.
I look in those eyes for a way in,
to see a way out… there is none.

How strange my grief, to lose them so gradually,
torn away, but still in their body,
their life hollowed out,
an empty, cluttered house that haunts me.

My love is rebuffed, my wisdom is useless..
How can there not be a way?

I search your mind. It is as opaque as theirs.
What can I do, then, patient God?
I place them in your care, and myself as well,
for to you no one is lost, no one far.
You love what we cannot see.
You are present where we do not know
and cannot go.

So you must feel, O God, for all your children,
lost and so slow to come home.

Loving One, bless us and keep us.
Today may we be with you in paradise.

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail,
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

August 31, 2015  Leave a comment

A doer of the Word

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
          Be doers of the word,
          and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

                  —James 1.27

Heavenly Lover,
your Word is neither command nor prediction,
but love, given and received,

Give me ears to hear
beneath the clutter of this world
and the chatter of my mind
your steady love,
your quiet delight.

Give me faith to embody your Word,
to join your love,
to do what increases your delight,
for that alone
increases mine.
Amen.

         
         
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

August 27, 2015  Leave a comment

Loveliness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile,
         but the things that come out are what defile.

                  —Mark 7.15

A beautiful diamond wedding ring
caked with mud
is still beautiful and valuable and precious
to her who wears it.

Your worth and loveliness
God created in you,
and you are adored
because you belong to God,
and nothing can take that away—
no abuse or misfortune,
no imagined “deserving,” no pain.

Only your own choices defile you.
And who can say how much of one’s pain,
and how one has learned to bear it,
is a choice, and how much is simply
what happens to you?

God wants most of all to heal you
of your shame.
Leave off judging,
starting with yourself.
Make choices that do not defile
your loveliness and that of all others.

You yourself are God’s diamond ring,
lovely and beloved,
even in the dark
gleaming on God’s hand.

   
         
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

August 26, 2015  Leave a comment

Everything a gift

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift,
is from above, coming down from the Giver of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

— James 1.17

Beloved, every little thing
is a signed card from you.
Every blade of grass and breath of air,
each moment has your blessing in it.
Each bit and trinket is a gift.
In every thought or feeling, sight or sound,
there is what that thing says,
and what you whisper besides,
and there is you.
Even in the hurts and disasters
there is your voice, your calm hand,
the unfolding of grace.
At the end of the day
my heart is strewn with wrapping paper.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

August 26, 2015  Leave a comment

Wedding feast

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

At a niece’s wedding,
surrounded by extended family,
I marvel at this great web of love.
I talked with a total stranger;
his brother in law is married to my niece,
and now we’re suddenly related.
This is not by our own doing;
Siri and Steve have done this.
The next day, out at the farm,
I watch fields and hills of living things
live together.

God’s loving faithfulness
connects us all,
makes us all one family.
To everyone you meet you are related
by love.
All of life is a work of faithfulness.
Every moment is a feast of joy.

However alone you may feel,
however responsible only for yourself,
you are part of a great faithfulness
and a beautiful celebration.
Vows have been made.
You belong.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

August 26, 2015  Leave a comment

In darkness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that God would dwell in thick darkness.”
                  —1 Kings 8.6, 10-12

I am in the dark places.

Don’t panic: dark is not bad, not sad or evil,
just mystery. Unseen.
The blend of within and beyond.

Darkness is where seeds grow, dreams happen,
love is made, life begins.
It is the only place you can see the stars.

The dark places in your life,
that is where I dwell,
and from there I venture out
into brightness.

Close your eyes. I am the eye.
Dwell in silence. It is my voice.
Practice not knowing. It is my wisdom.
In darkness is my glory.
Trust the dark. I am here.

         
         
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

August 21, 2015  Leave a comment

Hear them, too

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
O Lord my God, heed the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive…. Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land… and prays towards this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you….
                  —1 Kings 8.28-30, 41-43

God, hear the prayers of those I do not hear.

The temple of this world is yours, not mine;
You, not I, are the master of the house of my life.
May all who are foreign to me be welcome here,
and heard and blessed.
Hear the prayers of those who are against me,
the pleas of those who are not of my likeness,
outside my awareness, beyond my tribe.
Let my life be a house of prayer for all people.
Occupy the temple of my heart and pray there:
when I pray for all for whom I pray,
may your Spirit pray for those for whom I do not pray;
even in my secret heart,
hear them too, and forgive and bless them.

         
         
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

August 20, 2015  Leave a comment

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