Eat me

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood
         of the Human One,
         you have no life in you.

                  —John 6.53

Enough of your flimsy, amputated opinions about me. Enough quarantined speculations and ginger adorations, holding up my picture with latex gloves. No more words. Let me pass through your lips the other way.

Eat me. Take me wholly and grossly into yourself. What else do you do with the bread of life, bronze it? Consume me. Get me inside you. Let it be physical. Chew on my words and deeds; swallow my insistent, inescapable presence. Eat me up. Savor the intense flavors of my trust and courage and compassion. Suck in the juices of my gratitude and passion, even the too-spicy ones. Roll my forgiveness around in your mouth and swallow it, all of it. Wash it down with my blood, my throbbing, living presence, the passion of my self-pouring. Have at me. I will become you.

Let my flesh become your flesh, your actual body. Let the nerves of my movements become part of you. Let the muscles of my love and honesty move you. Whatever I say and do, whoever I seem to be to you, take it in. Let my being seep into your thoughts, your organs. Consume me wholly. Let nothing remain of me that is not in you.

Stop worrying about how it looks. Rip free what you can get hold of, slice it if you can, and gnaw on it. Take all day. Like beloved friends at a wedding, eat and drink, toast and feast. Don’t just admire me. Take me inside you.

Don’t you see how God loves you? What mother hasn’t said to her child, “I love you so much I could eat you?”

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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August 13, 2015  Leave a comment

Wisdom

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
         

         God said, “Ask what I should give you.”
         And Solomon said, “Give your servant
         an understanding mind to govern your people,
         able to discern between good and evil;
         for who can govern this your great people?”

                  —1 Kings 3.5,9

“Ask what I should give you.”
God, you give me this power,
to name the request.
Grant me grace to ask wisely.

Give me wonder and gratitude
that you so humbly offer.

Give me a discerning mind to hear
what to ask of you.

I ask not for favors
but for wisdom: to listen.

The truth is neither mine nor yours
but emerges between us.

You ask. You listen. You wait.
I ask. I listen. I wait.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

August 12, 2015  Leave a comment

At the sea

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Travel resolutely to the sea
until it offers truthfully
what signs can only promise:
a salt marsh, a little rise,
a bluff of grassy sand and then—
you are here, now.

Sitting by the ocean,
going nowhere,
breathing in its distances
I am as happy as the sea.

How slippery it is!
How easy to be elsewhere
solving problems
so far removed from what
the waves are teaching me.

Rank upon rank of
monks in blue and green robes
process toward me,
repeating the ancient chant,
and prostrate themselves at my feet.

A lone bird sits still,
gazes seaward, unmoving, then—
flaps, rises, begins.


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

 

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August 11, 2015  Leave a comment

Bless

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Bless this new day whatever it may bring.
Bless my body and my mind
and all in me that is unknown.
Bless these woods I walk in.
Bless the trees and all
who seek shade and shelter there.
Bless these little mushrooms,
bless this dear little yellow one.
Bless the birds that tarry here,
and all the places they travel.
May the ducks on the brook carry
blessing to their farthest journeys
and bless those ponds as well.
Bless this path and all who walk on it.
Bless this road and all who drive by.
Bless the commuter train as it passes,
and everyone inside, and their days,
and their workplaces and all who meet them,
so the blessing spreads throughout the city.
Bless these people I pass on the road.
Bless whoever is beyond the ringing phone.
Bless my co-workers, and the strangers who walk in.
May everyone who touches whatever I do,
even enemies, know blessing.
Bless you, giver of all this blessing.
Bless me, that I may be a fountain of blessing,
a light of grace, all this day.
And at its end may I bless this day,
whatever it has brought,
and let you bless me to sleep.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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August 10, 2015  Leave a comment

Forgetfulness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Sometimes wondering
is the only way to know.

Sometimes letting go
is the only form of mastery.

Sometimes forgetfulness
is the only way to pray.

Sometime silence
is the only precise language.

Sometimes disappearing
is the only way to be here.

This is also true
for God.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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August 7, 2015  Leave a comment

Back to work

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Returning from a couple weeks of vacation I know now I’m supposed to get back to work. I’m supposed to jump back into the busyness and noise and anxiety we call normal. But the sea still chants in my ears; the lake still holds me in its soft hands. The purpose of a vacation, or sabbath, or a lunch break, is not to gather steam for the next chore. It’s to be fully alive. This is the purpose of life, and attempting anything else harms us.

So I will return to this setting where I work, but I won’t speed up, get anxious and identify with my accomplishments. I will be fully present here, just as I was swimming in the ocean, feeling the dance of the waves. I will be as attentive as I was floating on the lake, listening to loons and watching the clouds. I will be as immersed in the holy amid phone calls and program planning as I was underwater in the lake in Maine. And at the end of the day I will quit and go home and be there, too.

Of course I will often lose focus and forget my purpose and start to identify with my work and try to be in two places at once, or try to be someone I’m not by doing something I “ought to.” So I will stop now and then to remember. I will come back to my prayer seat over and over to keep practicing. Whether I’m hither or yon, the point is to be here, fully and deeply present. After all, holiness is everywhere; the divine enfolds us every moment. All we have to do is go slow enough to pay attention.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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August 6, 2015  Leave a comment

Vacation

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
—Mark 6.30-31

We’re all coming and going, flush with our successes, full of compelling stories complaining about how busy we are, and the Teacher just interrupts us without any congratulations or sympathy and says “Come away.” As if to say, “Get out of there. Back away.” He knows how addicted we are to our busyness. It’s not good.

Jesus invites us into “a deserted place,” a place where there’s no one else to judge us, need us, threaten us or define us. He invites us to let go of our desire to control, to prove ourselves, to identify ourselves by what we have contributed.

In stillness we enter the mystery of Sabbath: we cease working and trust that our life does not come from our own effort but is the gift of God. We are like an infant in it’s mother’s arms, with no power, no gift, no claim to worth other than our being, and our mother’s delight. That is enough. We simply rest in her loving gaze.

When we go “on vacation” we don’t just vacate our workplace. We ourselves become vacant, empty, with nothing to show for ourselves, with infinite space for the holy to unfold in us. The vacant places in you are sacred.

So I will go. I’m heading out for a couple of weeks of vacation. I’ll see you again in early August.

Meanwhile, be well. Be still. Be empty enough for God. You are enough.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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July 16, 2015  Leave a comment

Being the person

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

 

 

The stone beside the pond
owes nothing

is being a stone
the stone beside the pond

Not seeking purely being
the turtle sits on the stone

that holds the turtle
that sits in the light

All eternity passes though them
Purity of being solid as stone

created
given

Every creature flows
from its stillness

The stone perfectly here
the turtle absolutely now

It is best not to leave
until you have become

the person beside the pond
your belonging given

and then in the next place
there too

 

 

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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write to me at unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

July 15, 2015  Leave a comment

Come away

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         “Come away to a deserted place
         all by yourselves and rest a while.”

                  —Mark 6.31

Leave the marketplace
of having to get, having to give.
Leave the roadway of needing to be
somewhere you’re not.
Abandon the screen
of being someone you’re not.

Come away to the place of solitude,
solely you, a soul.
Come away to be your self.
No striving,
nothing to earn or prove or be forgiven.

Here the tools, the costumes,
the armor, the nets are of no use.
No bills, no credits.
Only your soul matters,
and its holy flesh
and your holy rest.

To be born again you must return again
to the womb of solitude.
Nothing is required.
Everything is given.
You are held.
It is enough.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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


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July 14, 2015  Leave a comment

Clearing it out

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

I wonder, walking in these woods,
along stone walls so purposefully laid,
what it was like to clear the land,
by hand and oxen, long ago,
and pry the stones out, lift
the smaller ones, and heft them up,
the bigger ones with tools and
chains and wheels, with all
their solid weight pushing down against
you, against your hands, your will,

stone after stone,
to clear it out.

How right and good it must have seemed
to see the walls set out,
the fields enclosed.

How hard and fine, and no less work
to lift away my bitterness, my fear,
and clear an open, gentle space.

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 13, 2015  Leave a comment

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