If you knew

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

You would gladly travel great distances in rain,
arriving at dark in foreign places.
You would eagerly await the news, every call
a promise, in invitation.
You would hold your loved ones, feeling them
in your hands even from far away.
You would have a story to tell of gratitude and grace.
You would already be thinking of a new name for yourself

if you knew God’s love were being poured into your life
like a newborn on the way, a grandchild
you have not yet seen.

__________________________
Weather Report

Birth,
arriving at all hours,
requiring you to do the same;
with periods of intermittent labor and hope,
precipitating in showers of joy and wonder.
There will be shifting patterns,
and a one hundred percent chance
that Things Will Be Different.

Deep Blessings
Pastor Steve
______________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

March 31, 2014  Leave a comment

Do you believe?

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
Jesus asked him, “Do you believe in the Human One?”
He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.”
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.”

                  —John 9.35-37

When you struggle to believe, or doubt your belief,
don’t waste time looking at Jesus’ papers
to see his credentials,
or bother checking on his job description.
No opinion, however pious,
will save you when you are drowning
or overflow in love of neighbor.

Just wonder: what have you seen?
How have you been touched?
When might the Hidden One have walked beside you,
spoken to you, healed you?
That experience of light or warmth,
that opening of your heart like a door,
that inexplicable gift,
that unseen hand holding yours in the darkness—
might that have been he?

Whatever it is that makes you feel one with others,
that gives you uncreated love for them,
that offers hope where there is none,
that has brought you this far,
whatever it is that gives you your hunger for Life,
and then gives you Life, gives you this next breath—
believe in that.

The eyes that are opened are within.
If you can’t believe in spring, believe in this one daffodil.
No matter what you think you beleive,
close your eyes, remember, and give thanks.
It will be the Holy One speaking 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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 28, 2014  Leave a comment

Sleeper, awake!

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

         The eye is the lamp of the body.
         If your eye is healthy,
                  your whole body will be full of light.

                           —Matthew 6.22

         Once you were darkness,
                  but now in the Lord you are light.
         Live as children of light.

                           —Ephesians 5.8

The healing of blindness is not a correction
         but an opening.

Repentance is not improving
          but opening your eyes.

Seeing is not judging
         but letting the light in.

In the dark chaos of the deep
         let there be light.

Whether or not your eyes see it
          your very being is the light of Love.

You are the lamp;
          the Beloved is the flame.

You don’t need to birth fire,
          just become transparent.

Awake; open your eyes.
          The dawn has come.

         Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead,
                  and Christ will shine on you.

                           —Ephesians 5.14

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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 27, 2014  Leave a comment

Blind trust

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,
this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned;
he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”

                  —John 9.1-3

God, help me to trust
that with you there is no deserving,
no punishment,
no imprisonment in the past;
only grace,
and the the opportunity to receive it.
Open the eyes of my heart,
that whatever my circumstances
I may see your grace,
trust your unfinished work in me,
and know that I was born that your love
might be revealed in me,
and that, unseen,
you stand beside me
ready to heal.

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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 26, 2014  Leave a comment

Expecting

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Next week Beth and I expect to become grandparents. Right along with our son and daughter in law we are patiently, joyfully Expecting. And so, I might add, are you.    
               
In our literally minded tradition this day, March 25, nine months before Christmas, has been observed as the day of the miraculous conception of Jesus. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will have a child, she consents, and at that moment, apparently, she conceives. It’s an odd blending of faith and biology, but let’s go with it.

Our faith is imbued with a deep sense of the sacredness of time even more than space. History is not just a string of events but the unfolding of a blessing. Each moment bears a promise. No matter what difficult struggles we face, Love has provided for our salvation, and the salvation of the world, long before. Faith is simply expecting that.

The seed of future grace is hidden in the present moment, buried in the world around you, planted in your life, emerging within you. Today God is creating something wonderful in you that you will not see come to fruition for a long time, that you can’t even be sure of for a while. But it’s there. Something holy, something promising—something promised. It’s not random or impersonal; it comes from somebody, from the Beloved. Because it is the Beloved, God’s presence within you. It will grow slowly. Some pain and labor will come before your joy is complete. There will be times when it is difficult, and maybe even times when you wish it weren’t true. But grace is unfolding within you. That’s a promise. Hope is not wishful thinking, but Expecting—like Mary, consenting to a promise.

Rejoice, beloved. The Lord is with you. You have found favor with God. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore what is within you will will be holy. Say, then, with Mary, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 25, 2014  Leave a comment

The pain of the world

         

The pain of those who suffer
         I hold in my heart.
The discouragement of those who struggle,
the despair of those who see no hope
         I hold in my heart.
The weariness of the poor,
The loneliness of the refugee,
         I hold in my heart.
The fear of the abused,
the sorrow of the condemned
         I hold in my heart.
The weight of the cross
         I hold in my heart.

As we share the burden
         shoulder to shoulder
I feel the hands of Christ on mine:
         such love, such love.
I hold the heart of Christ in mine,
         and my own burden vanishes.
The tears of the sorrowful I bear,
         and I am borne.

         
         

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

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 24, 2014  Leave a comment

No bucket

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         “Sir,” she said, “you have no bucket
         and the well is deep. Where do you get
         this living water?”

                  —John 4.11

He came to you tired and thirsty,
a stranger without a bucket.
Needing something. Asking.
He came from away, foreign,
plenty of reason not to fit in.
You met there at that well, great
hole in the skin of the earth, deep
wound, you without honor or friends,
he without a bucket. Through the scrim
of class and race, flesh and spirit,
you both reached, you with your bucket,
he his perfect thirst. You talked of God,
he named the great river flowing in you,
and you named his. There at the bottom
of the well of the world the two of you
tapped the holy spring, dripping.
Water from that rock.
And then: you left your jug,
ran into the town, your condemning,
your weakness, your unbelonging.
And there you met them, you without
a bucket, without your jug, with only
your perfect thirst for God.
And there you named theirs,
and they came running,
you our first evangelist.
As the Lord comes, gushing, so do you:
an undocumented immigrant, a stranger,
asking, in thirst and need, vulnerable,
without a bucket.

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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 21, 2014  Leave a comment

Spring equinox

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  
Earth has had a fever of cold,
twisting in her sheets, her clammy hands
in the dark restless, white blankets
disordered, hard and damp. The burial
cloths unwind so slowly, threading
through the grey woods. The icy path,
all pocked and punched with the past’s
old footprints, is no help now. You stagger,
or go slow. You don’t see any crocuses.

In dim light, ice and mud, beneath
an asphalt sky, the yard depressed,
half-stripped, the houses dripping without
hope, before all storms are past, or all
is softened yet, the equinox
slips in and whispers something.

Long before the actual greening, or even
sense at all, but in the pit of loss, the dark
of turmoil, or its lingering regret, before
the tears have dried— the earth has turned
already. Trees in the woods are dripping
quietly. It will take some time, but in
your devastation is a voice, still trembling
from its own weeping, calling, ”Lazarus,
come out.”

___________________________
For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere:

Weather Report

Today is the autumnal equinox,
like every other day, unpredicting.
Without regret for what is not yet lost,
take in this day and let tomorrow be.

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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 20, 2014  Leave a comment

Fountain

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
          He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar,
          and tired out by his journey, sat by the well.

                      – John 4.5-6

       
Sister,
five-times thrown-away woman,
shunned and shoved to the edge,
to the back, to the other world
of muddy, fouled waters, alone,
named a tramp for being used,
when only others have the power
to marry and dismiss like that,
and even now used but not claimed,
sister,
forced out by privilege,
fenced in by fear, silenced
by everybody’s need to not be you,
cisterned in a deep, private place—

the Beloved comes to you,
walking through walls,
thirsts with you for that deep place,
where in darkness the real life,
welling from infinitely deep within,
gushes up and can’t be taken,
can’t be stopped or plugged or dried,

and in that place falls into sharing
deep and holy things with you.
In the village of your heart
there is a conversation going on
out at Jacob’s well. Listen.

As you thirst together with your Love
a deeper spring bursts forth in you,
a Word, a call, a strength, a truth
that others haven’t heard but will,
a witness powerful enough
to wake a town of doubters,
a new spring gushing up in you
that bathes away your shame,
that bids you leave your jug—
you will be back— and go,
go, sister to this deafened,
hardened world and sing,
and they will listen—yes!—for now
you have been raised to this new life
and given voice and have become
yourself a prophet.

You won’t know now, but later see
how this fountain in your heart
even the bucket of your thirst,
satisfies your tired, parched Beloved,
how he is fed by what he gets
from 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 unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

March 19, 2014  Leave a comment

I come to you weak

         
         
                  
God, I come to you weak and empty;
          my prayers are thin and dry.
My heart is hardly awake, nodding off,
          my mind, divided and wandering.
You receive my feeble, wayward prayers,
          as if they are perfect and whole:
“Beloved, your presence is all that I seek,
          your presence alone my delight.”

O Steadfast One, my faith is fragile some days,
          so easily traded for easy assurance,
or even the sleep of not caring.
          And you hold me as a newborn.
“Beloved, your presence is all that I seek,
          your presence alone my delight.”

O Mystery, some days it just is too hard,
          to listen, to hear, to obey.
And yet this cry in me, my very despair—
          is your voice, your aching for me,
your closing your hand about mine, weak and trembling,
          your spirit embracing my own.
“Beloved, your presence is all that I seek,
          your presence alone my delight.”

My Lord, I do not know how to love,
          but yours is the love that will save me.
I do not know how to pray at all,
          but I can sit in the light,
and let your presence enfold me and hold me,
          and let you answer me:
“Beloved, your presence is all that I seek,
          your presence alone my delight.”

__________________
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

March 18, 2014  Leave a comment

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