Day is near

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         If the owners of the house had known
         at what time of night the thief was coming,
         they would have kept watch
         and would not have let the house be broken into.
                  —Matthew 24.43

         It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.
         For salvation is nearer to us now
         than when we became believers;
         the night is far gone, the day is near.
                  —Romans 13.11-12

Every year Advent begins with talk of the “end times” but recent events make it seem unsettlingly apt this year. Not exactly encouraging, is it? But maybe this isn’t about seeing farther into the future, but deeper into the present. “The moment to wake” is always now. The night is not about us but within us. Our eyes are full of sleep. God comes among us like a thief in the night but we don’t see it coming.

The day is not drawing nearer in the future; it’s rising right inside the present. God is breaking into our lives right now. Can you see? The night of not seeing is far gone. When you first began to care it seemed a long way off. But now you’re more mindful of it. Life is a continual awakening to the dawning of God within us. By this light we become light, and transform the night around us.

God, awaken me to your coming.
Even in the night around me
open the eyes of my heart
to the rising light of your presence.

 
 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 25, 2016  Leave a comment

Grateful

                  
I breathe.
I wake.
         I am grateful.

I see, I feel.
There are things to see and feel.
         I am grateful.

There are these that I love.
Some easy to, some hard.
         I am grateful.

There you are, hidden,
reading this, listening.
         I am grateful.

We are held in a great light,
larger, more gracious than us.
         I am grateful.

We are borne in a river of grace
that leaves nothing untouched by blessing.
         I am grateful.

Not minding the outcome, for this moment,
for its many generous pockets,
         I am grateful.

To You, Giving One,
who only give and only bless,
         I am grateful.
         I am grateful.
         I am grateful.

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

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

November 24, 2016  Leave a comment

Armor of light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         Lay aside the works of darkness
                  and put on the armor of light.

                           —Romans 13.12

You need no stout defense,
no armor to shield you,
no iron bars to separate you,
neither silence nor harsh words
with which to push others away.
They are only a prison.
You need no weapons
that grow like thorns
from dark places in you.
You need only the light
that is in you,
the light of your belovedness
that holds you, unfailing,
the light with which you love
even those who can’t see.
Put on the light
and you become pure light.
Nothing can harm you.
The light of grace alone
will guard your heart and mind
even from the harsh stones
of bitterness and fear.
Put on the radiant armor
of the light of God
and walk fearless into the breach.

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 23, 2016  Leave a comment

Plowshares

         They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
                  and their spears into pruning hooks.

                           —Isaiah 5.4

I bear them into conversations, my swords.
I hide them in my dark.
I launch them at the news, these spears.

Find them among me, God of Peace. Take them:
my bitterness, my defensiveness, my need to win.
Find the hidden swords, the secret spears I cling to.

Make them red hot in the furnace of your forgiveness.
Hold them in the tongs of your truth.
Beat them with the hammer of your love.

Take the hurt I mean to project, the defeat I wish others.
Free me of the swagger of hurtfulness.
Bend my righteous little swords into tools of life.

Let me stand before enemies with pure love,
prepared to break soil, to prune branches,
to do the hard work of growing peace.

For I will need stout tools to work this rough land well,
to bring fruits of justice out of this rocky earth,
to tend the muscular trees of mercy.

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

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

November 22, 2016  Leave a comment

Offering

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

 

         
For all who are discouraged
I make a place in my heart.

For all who are despairing
I offer my hope.

For all who are silenced
I lend my voice.

For all who are troubled
I open my ears.

For all who are in fearful
I hold out my arms.

For all who are threatened
I stand with you.

For all who would harm
I stand in your way.

For the mending of the world
I give myself.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 21, 2016  Leave a comment

Paradise now

         “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
          “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

                  —Luke 23.42,43

“Not another time and place,
but here and now, today
you are with me in paradise.
In darkest times I give you my presence.
In deepest suffering I join you.
Paradise is not the world out there,
but our love shared
even through pain and terror, even death,
my love for you, my love in you, our oneness.”

Jesus, remember me.
Make me again a member of your realm.
Make me part of your healing of the world.
Take me in.
I surrender to your absolute love.
Take me in.
In your hope for the world take me in.
Even in your suffering, take me in.
In your entering the pain of the world, take me in.
In your love, take me in.

 

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

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

November 18, 2016  Leave a comment

Prophet of forgiveness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
                  for you will go before our God
                  to prepare the ways of the Promised One,
          to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people
                  by the forgiveness of their sins.
         By the tender mercy of our God,
                  the dawn from on high will break upon us,
         to give light to those who sit in darkness
                  and in the shadow of death,
                  to guide our feet into the way of peace.

                           —Luke 1.76-79

You’ve been given a gem to give away,
a lantern in your chest that lights the path for others.
It’s not the dark stone of what’s wrong with them
but the bright key to their prison door,
the key that is light, the light that is the truth
that the door is not locked, that there is no door,
that they have nothing to fear from God,
that they are forgiven.
Only free from that cage can they live
without fear, in holiness before God.
Only that light will lead them through their darkness.
Only when they have received mercy
can they love mercy and do justice
and walk humbly with God.
It will not be easy to be such a prophet.
But you are free, and have nothing to fear.
The light is in you. Go.

 

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 17, 2016  Leave a comment

I will raise up shepherds

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter
                  the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.
         I will raise up shepherds over them
                  who will shepherd them,
         and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed,
                  nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.

                           —Jeremiah 23.1, 4

Ancient Israel was satisfied to trust that God appointed kings.
We aren’t so naïve.
It’s our choice.

Then what might this scripture mean for us,
who have chosen a shepherd,
and see a lot of destroying and scattering going on,
a lot of fear and dismay,
and some missing, or threatened with it?

Jesus shows us: the shepherds won’t be kings.
They will be the humble but courageous
who speak and act for justice and mercy,
who receive power not by coronation
but by the anointing of the Spirit.
We won’t look to the powers to save us.
We will look to one another to tend us.

And God will give might to their compassion,
and fill their shepherding with power.
God will dwell within their struggle for justice,
and speak in their voices.
God will raise up shepherds who set free the oppressed
and bind up the brokenhearted—
in their wounds and to each other—
who resist those who destroy and scatter,
who tend to those who are fearful or dismayed or missing.
God will anoint them and raise them up
and they will be the shepherds who heal the people,
and justice and mercy will rule.

The prophet’s cry is not a promise of comfort.
This is a call to action.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 16, 2016  Leave a comment

Rescued from the darkness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         Joyfully give thanks to the Holy One,
         who has enabled you to share in the light
         all God’s beloved ones inherit.
         God has rescued us from the power of darkness
         and transferred us into the realm of the Beloved,
         in whom our sins are forgiven
         and our lives are made complete.

                           —Colossians 1.12-14

The darkness is real.
But we are rescued from its power.
Light shines in us, shining in that dark,
light we do not earn and cannot keep,
but passes to us like the color of our eyes,
shining from the Beloved within us,
forgiving our darkness by filling us with light,
light of Creation that gives life.
In the night the light shines.
In the darkness the light rules.
In the deep darkness we give thanks.

We are not to generate the light
but to receive it.
We are not to vanquish the darkness,
but to shine in it.

We see the darkness without flinching.
We look the darkness in its dark eye,
and we are true to the light,
the light within us.

We pray that we may lead lives
worthy of our light.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 15, 2016  Leave a comment

A different kind

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.

         The soldiers also mocked him,
         coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,
         “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
         There was also an inscription over him,
         “This is the King of the Jews.”

                  —Luke 23.36-38

An unrecognizable Ruler, this one,
whose power is hidden in defeat,
who lives in the Land of Not-Oneself,
who knows the secret kingdom of grace
and its magical powers.

We didn’t expect this kind of Mighty One,
who walks through the machine of this death
and emerges, new and invisibly victorious,
without army or court or political victory,
whose throne is powerlessness,
whose palace is human suffering,
whose power is not domination
but to draw us into resurrection.

We still don’t quite get it,
chastened by our losses,
fearful of our destitution,
that this is the greater power,
Not-Ours, from the beyond within,
given, not seized, not even held,
not standing over us
but flowing through us;
that forgiveness is victory,
that giving life is life,
that love is actually immortal;
that even in this rough world
we are loved from beneath
to be of a different kind.

On our knees, stripped of our powers,
empty handed, we awaken
to this vast might, to our royalty,
and our waiting subjects.

 

Deep blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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

November 14, 2016  Leave a comment

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