Cry out

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         A voice says, “Cry out!”
                  And I said, “What shall I cry?”

                           —Isaiah 40.6

Anything.

Deepest hope,
favorite song,
moan of secret grief.

Glottal stop of Ferguson,
strangled cry of Syria,
rage of Palestine, the border fence.

Rising tremolo,
beyond sad or glad,
of slaves already singing.

In your throat, your gut,
little pieces, syllables,
one or two, of alleluia.

Let the cry out of its cage,
your silence roar,
what was muffled, speak:

oceans beneath your voice,
tongues beneath your tongue,
ages longing to be heard,

while grasses fade,
and our horrors pass,
that voice that was always here,

always crying out,
voicing through closed throats,
opening the way.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

December 5, 2014  Leave a comment

Repentance

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness,
         proclaiming a baptism of repentance
         for the forgiveness of sins.

                  —Mark 1.4

You don’t have to construct a perfect life.
God already has.
You are Mary, great with yourself,
gift of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
God is doing this in you,
becoming,
already perfectly forgiving.
Let this wonder unfold within you.
How will you live, knowing you are chosen
to bear the divine presence into the world?

Love that child,
care for yourself as if her life depends on it,
prepare for his coming.
Like a room you fearlessly remodel
and decorate with long, tiring effort,
you make of your life a new place
for holiness to be born
in you.

Let the Coming One
grow 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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

December 4, 2014  Leave a comment

A way in the wilderness

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
                  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
         and cry to her that she has served her term,
                  that her penalty is paid,
         that she has received from the Lord’s hand
                  double for all her sins.
         A voice cries out:
         ”In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
                  make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

                           —Isaiah 40.1-3

The promise of God comes to exiles and refugees:
from regimes that haunt you, whatever walls you in

or out, from gangs patrolling your heart,
you shall be released.

Through the impassable you are given a way
to a place of belonging.

Your passage to freedom has been prepared.
The Companion is ready now.

A tender hand reaches out to you
to accompany you on the way toward wholeness,

through the desert, the wild places,
through strange and difficult places,

a wilderness way across borders, under fences.
The path of healing is also the path of pain.

The journey will be dangerous, on the run.
You will depend on strangers. Carry water.

Share mercy with the others on the secret road
through the desert. You will find sanctuary.

Sister, listen to the gentle Word: O comfort…
Take the hand, and begin.

         
         
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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

December 3, 2014  Leave a comment

Prepare your way in me

      
         

                 
Prepare your way in me, Lord,
         prepare your way in me, my Lord.

Make my rough places smooth,
         the crooked make straight, my Lord.

Lay your hand at my root,
         that I may bear fruit, my Lord.

Come and empty my heart
         of all things but you, my Lord.

Guide my feet in your way,
         fill me with your peace, my Lord.         
                 
Prepare your way in me, Lord,
         prepare your way in me, my Lord.

         
[This is available set to music.]

         
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 unfoldinglight3(at)hotmail.com

December 3, 2014  Leave a comment

O longing, my light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
Down the last long nights
toward the winter solstice
a way opens through the dark,
lit by longing that gleams,
a path that is hope for a path.

This wound is not a flaw, but gift:
my hunger not for morning,
not again, but at last,
a changed Creation,
a being only hinted at.

In the dense solitude
that heals its arms around me
I am not alone.
The Mystery draws me closer,
pulls me forward.

O Darkness,
how could you want me so?
O Silence, how can you
enfold me, consume me
with such tender delight?

O Longing, by what grace
are you my light in this world,
by what grace am I yours,
this silence in me another’s voice?

O Hope,
dawn rising in me,
how is it you shine brighter
the deeper my yearning,
my tears like stars in the night?
How is it my merest prayers
near despair
are your birth?

         
         
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 unfoldinglight5(at)hotmail.com

December 1, 2014  Leave a comment

Blacker Friday

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         
                  
You may seek a place in this day of acquisitive frenzy
but it will not be home.
There is room for you in a Blacker Friday,
a day of more profound darkness and brighter stars,
of shorter lists and deeper desires,
where there is something not checked off the list,
something you are still waiting for,
something you can’t buy but can only be given,
which, if it is for you, is for everybody,
not a one-day offer but an eternal promise,
waiting for you, not disappearing off shelves
but gestating, ripening toward you from the future,
from the heart of God, from within us all.

The only doorbuster is one that set you free long ago.
There are no long lines here, no rush,
but solitude and silence and a purposeful slowing,
and the deepening of your longings.
There are throngs—find your place among them—
who sit and wait, who know each other by their songs,
exiles bound by a memory that weaves all geography,
prisoners waiting, dreamers who dare to yearn
for what others have abandoned
for the love of good deals and shiny things.
Sit in stillness and wait with them,
cry out and march with them, work quietly with them.
Perfect your hope for the Advent of the Loving One,
the light that spills from divine hands,
the new world that blossoms where we live.
Enter the breathing darkness, live in the hoping world,
let your eyes be opened.

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.

November 28, 2014  Leave a comment

Practice gratitude

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

For most of you readers around the world this will be easy: practice gratitude.

For those of you in the US, it will be harder: tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time of weary travel, bad weather, overeating, too many relatives, aggressively bad advertising, fierce shopping and football games in which half of everybody loses. Practice gratitude anyway.

Gratitude is not a feeling; it’s a practice. It’s a relationship. You can be thankful for something, but you’re grateful to somebody. Gratitude is an appreciative receptiveness, a willingness to be present to blessings given to you that you can’t create yourself. Since blessings are always present you can be grateful even in bad situations. When you bump your head, be grateful you have one, and that you can feel. When you don’t feel grateful is when you need the most practice. No matter what happens, say thank you, and practice gratitude until you discover what you’re grateful for.

In gratitude for family and the gift of being able to visit, I’m taking tomorrow off. What do you say?

You’re welcome.

_____________________
Weather Report

Grace,
floods of gifts.
showers of blessing,
piling up in drifts
until you’re six feet under.
Get out your shovel.

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.

November 26, 2014  Leave a comment

Let your heart oeverflow

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
Practice gratitude.
For the Gift, the Mystery,
the Presence, give thanks.
For the marvel of Creation
and your belonging,
gravity’s eros and time
writings its music in you,
practice gratitude.
For love you have received,
known and unknown,
the river that never runs dry,
let your heart overflow.
For the wonder of your flesh,
your body’s working and its wisdom,
for sight and touch,
for taste and tune,
give thanks.
In tragedy, hilarity,
when struggling or confused,
let gratitude flow out from you.
In grief give thanks for what was treasured.
In pain rejoice for heart and nerve.
In darkness be already grateful
for what will one day be disclosed.
In each affront there is a blessing,
every disappointment hides a gift;
say “Thank you” and seek the grace.
Even our woes are part of the great Gift,
the mystery of Life.
In every moment we are held,
accompanied and blessed.
Practice gratitude.

O Generous One,
You Who Are,
for you
and for your giving of yourself
I flow with gratitude.

         
         
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

November 25, 2014  Leave a comment

Kicking leaves

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
Dead leaves crackle and shout their praise,
shake their shakers and noisemakers,
applauding in gratitude
for all the green that has gone,
all the life, the breathing in and out,
the shade, the birds sheltered
and bugs fed, air cleansed,
the nations healed, the earth renewed.

Give thanks
for the gifts offered, the things we leave,
the mistakes made, the afternoons spent.
Give thanks for the nights
when even the leaves rested.

Give thanks for ourselves, finely veined,
the chewed edges of grief, love given,
our letting go and arriving.
Kick the leaves.
It was good, it was good.

Give thanks for the welcoming earth,
receiving life and death with open arms,
making of our words and hands
a compost for others.
Give thanks that it all settles
into the dark, into the moist mystery,
already, under scumbling clouds
devoted to the green rising.

Kick up for joy the heart’s dry husk,
this blessed sackcloth, future’s bones,
the peace of doing without,
this rustling flesh, this loss.

The white oak, the red oak, the hickory,
the maple, the beech, the ash, all praise,
the grasses, the dry grasses praise.

         
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

November 24, 2014  Leave a comment

O Love, be my Sovereign

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.
      
         Christ is above all rule and authority
                  and power and dominion.

                           —Ephesians 1.21

O Love, be my Sovereign.
Rule my world. Control my life.
I subject my freedom
to your absolute mercy.

I pledge my allegiance
to your dynasty of justice,
the tyranny of your grace,
your mercy that will not be overthrown.

Exercise dominion
over all my rules and powers,
my fears and attachments,
my grasping ambition.

O Love, direct my life,
every moment, every choice,
the leanings of my heart,
the secret movements of my will.

I live to serve you,
in trust and gratitude
to carry out your will
in all I do and say and intend.

O Love, I am your loyal subject.
Overpower my defenses;
do with me what you will.
O Love, reign entirely in me.

         
         

__________________
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

November 21, 2014  Leave a comment

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