Angels

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         An angel from God appeared to Joseph in a dream.
                           —Matthew 2.13

In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth and the visit of the magi angels win best supporting actors. You might think of angels as people with wings who flap in and talk to you. Once in a while maybe they take that form. I think of an angel as an awareness from God. In Matthew’s story they’re pretty good with specific instructions: “Go to Egypt and stay there till I tell you.” In general God’s angels are mostly good with encouragement. They take the “supporting role” seriously. And like Santa they mostly work in secret.

Think of this wonder: God doesn’t just disinterestedly look on you from afar. God is actually grateful for you. Your life is a gift to God, and God is thankful! It’s hard for us to trust this remarkable good news. It helps when angels tell us.

You can be an angel. You don’t have to be able to fly. Just encourage people. Just let them know how worthy and beloved they are. Just thank them.

I have a friend who early in Obama’s presidency wrote him a postcard thanking him for doing the job. It felt so right the next day she wrote another. She started writing him a card every day. Then she started writing other people who were doing great things for the world, some great big things and some simple little things. It wasn’t much, just a postcard. Then she got some other people to write them with her. Now she has this thing going she calls the Postcard Underground. It’s kind of secret. Once a week she lets us know of a couple people who are doing positive things for the world, mostly for the environment, but including some other things, mostly here in the US but sometimes internationally. And we all write a postcard to one or both of them. Somewhere someone suddenly gets a mailbox full of cards from all over the country, mostly just signed with a first name, thanking them and encouraging them. I think that’s how angels work.

Most of the time people don’t need instructions. But they could use a little thanks. They could use a little encouragement. There’s plenty of cynicism and even criticism for people who do good, who work for mercy and justice. What they need is a good word. Be an angel. Publicly or secretly, thank them. Encourage them. That’s how God’s light shines in this world.

If you’d like to be a part of the Postcard Underground let me know and I’ll pass your name on to my friend. It’s kind of cool to be an angel.

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

January 2, 2017  Leave a comment

Eighth day

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
A blessed eighth day of Christmas to you.

             I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
             for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
             and the sea was no more.

                          —Revelation 21.1

In the early church baptismal fonts were eight-sided
because your baptism is the eighth day of Creation:
God is creating you anew.
How apt that the eighth day of Christmas
is New Year’s Day.
Whether or not you have New Year’s resolutions,
be open to the mystery that God is creating you anew,
new each day,
created not by your effort but God’s grace,
not according to your desires but God’s.
In the darkness and chaos a voice calls out,
“Let there be light.”
You don’t have to work to re-invent yourself,
just let God create you,
give you life, give you purpose,
give you gifts.
Be mindful that God is creating you anew today,
and walk with joy, gratitude and trust
into the new world.
                           

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

January 1, 2017  Leave a comment

The star

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

            In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
            magi from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,
            “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?
            For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
            When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.

                           —Matthew 2.1-3

The star we follow pierces a brittle darkness.
It upsets fearful men in their towers,
it troubles the men hunkered in battlements,
threatens their systems, their powers.
Herod in his private jet rages: he can’t fly above it.
It will arouse the anger of the mighty,
who will slaughter as if to weed out the light.
Its light flows straight through tangled defenses
yet knows how to curve through crooked streets
and find seeking hearts, find souls yearning for light.
This is how God avenges, not with battle
but with light.

The little star will lead us to question powers,
to face down rulers, to follow new roads,
to honor another power, hidden from the mighty.
The star shines day and night, though often
it is only at night we think to look up.
When a new Emperor ascends the throne
we know we have seen him before, and his defeat.
If our night seems thick it is surely
the time of the star.

In the deep night the woods and back roads are alive,
so many escaped slaves are on the move,
so many angels preparing the news.
The little star that leads them will guide us,
if we keep our eyes on the 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

December 30, 2016  Leave a comment

Prayer of the magi


         “We have seen his star at its rising
         and we have come to honor him.”

                  —Matthew 2.2
                           

God of truth, open my eyes to your light
and give me faith to follow,
to seek signs of your grace, to notice,
in nature, in dreams, in people.
Give me devotion to seek your presence,
to come close to you, to draw near.
Give me faith to forsake all else that glitters
and follow the light of your love alone.
Give me resolve to leave the familiar
and make of my life a holy pilgrimage.
Give me humility to ask directions,
to seek help from other seekers.
Give me steadfastness to seek and not turn back,
despite challenges of distance and strangeness.
Give me courage to stand against Empire
and its desire to use me.
Give me generosity to give of my gifts.
Give me insight to bow to holiness
in whomever I may see it.
Give me wisdom and readiness to go by a new road.
God of love, may this day be a new life,
guided by the light of your presence,
led by wonder, trust and love. 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

December 29, 2016  Leave a comment

Herod

         
The Emperor is always afraid,
his minions always angry.
His Empire is allergic to justice,
terrified of the truth
and powerless over love.
His only hope is fear.

Desperate to replicate himself a thousand times
on coin and tower, monument and shadow,
and in faces etched with fear,
he will pledge to make the kingdom great again
with the usual atrocities.
Unable to be in the same realm
as the Powerless One, the Generous Mystery,
he will abolish grace, as best he can.
He will seek God as diligently as any pilgrim,
with eyes of murder.

The soldiers have their orders, a clean sweep,
to make Bethlehem safe again.
Newscasters have become accustomed now
to the cleansings reported in between the
car crashes and the bad weather,
the latest, breaking from Bethlehem.
The chief of police stretches his vocabulary,
the cameras linger on him
because they cannot bear

Rachel weeping for her children.

Herod is sure of himself
but the Holy One
escapes him.

__________________
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

December 28, 2016  Leave a comment

Incarnation

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         The Word became flesh and lived among us,
                  full of grace, full of truth,
         from whom we have all received,
                  grace upon grace.

                           —John 1.14, 16

Imagine how wrong it would seem
if Jesus would come,
but not believe he was sent
to embody God’s love.
So wrong would it be
for you to not believe
that you are created to embody God’s love.
The mystery of God’s Word
is that it is made flesh.
It is the Word’s nature to be spoken,
not unspoken, to be made manifest,
to be embodied—
in Christ, in all Creation,
and in you.
This day let every moment,
every choice, every action
be an embodiment of God’s love.
And trust this: even when you fail
God’s love is made flesh in 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

December 27, 2016  Leave a comment

Everything that exists

         In the beginning was the Word
                  and the Word was with God,
                  and the Word was God.
         Everything that exists came into being through the Word.
                  Nothing exists apart from the Word.

                           —John 1.1-2

Everything that exists
was created by God’s love.

Everything is from one Source.
Everything is made from the same stuff.

There is One Thing
and we are all part of it.

God’s love does not come to us from afar.
It is the sea and we are the fish.

To love is not to reach across a great abyss
but to return to the rest of ourselves.

May the light of love
shine in me this day.

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily email
write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

December 26, 2016  Leave a comment

Christmas blessing

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         
May the intimate presence of God
draw near to you this holy night.

May the light of God’s love made flesh
brighten this night with hope and joy.

May your heart be lifted in thanksgiving
for the birth of this radiant child.

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

December 24, 2016  Leave a comment

Awaiting birth

         
Awaiting birth
Jesus I am with you
in this warm darkness
in the womb
of Mary Mother of God.
I am held.
I am protected.
I am being nourished.
I am not the captain of my being.
All that I am I receive.
I am your Word becoming flesh.
I am waiting.
I am ready.
Light is coming.
I am coming.
You are waiting for me.
I will be pressed, pushed,
set free,
born in you, God—
light, the life of all beings.
But now,
now, in this warm darkness,
I am held.

__________________
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

December 23, 2016  Leave a comment

Mary can I sit

         
Mary, can I sit with you?
Let me come close to your stillness,
sit in the warmth of your Spirit,
listen with you.
Teach me how to do this,
to be so receptive
to the favor of God,
to the voice of delight.
To admit such life.
To let something in me grow
without my control,
to let God in me swell my being,
change my balance.
To let something in me dilate so greatly,
to be so open to what I receive
and what I release.

Breathe with me,
through the change, through the pain,
through the world shifting within me.
Breathe with me,
with the life birthing itself in me,
the world issuing from me.

Can I sit with you and learn
how to bring forth love
in the midst of chaos and darkness,
how to be so fiercely tender
in a rough place?

Show me how to push forth this love,
how to nurse this light,
how to let this issue of my heart
go out into the world
and smile back at me.

Can I sit with you,
as the love of my love
walks out of my arms,
into this world
toward its cross
and beyond?
Can I sit with you
and learn to say yes?

__________________
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

December 22, 2016  Leave a comment

« older posts newer posts »