Memorial Day

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

God of life, on this day we honor those who have sacrificed in the service of their country in the military. Bless their gifts, and bring healing to those who have suffered and comfort to those who have lost loved ones.

We honor those who have sacrificed in the service of their country by working for peace, nonviolence and reconciliation. Bless their gifts, and bless us that we may receive the spirit of peace, the spirit of Christ.

We honor those for whom there is no national day of remembrance: for civilians who have suffered from war, and for the soldiers of other nations, who have also served their countries, who, but for fleeting circumstances, would be our friends.

We confess our collective sin of war, and lament our participation in actions that have caused suffering and loss. We repent of our violence, and ask you to nurture in us a deeper reverence for life. We confess our failure to speak out against war, violence and coercion; our willing participation in injustice for our own protection comfort; our failure to live nonviolently.

We pray for peace, for the healing and reconciliation of all peoples, and for the coming of your reign of mercy and justice according to your promise. In the spirit of those we honor today, those who have bravely served their country with arms, who have given of their time and hearts and bodies and lives, grant us deep reverence for life and your spirit of peace, so that we may serve the human community with courage and gentleness, in hope of the day when all people and all living beings will live in peace as you have intended. Amen.

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

The quiet one

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?

Proverbs 8.1

When the Spirit of truth comes,
she will guide you into all the truth.

John 16.13

But you won’t hear her at first
because you were expecting a man,
someone in charge, someone who would
tell you what to do, how to think,

not the quiet voice of a woman
who’s already given and lost so much

without regret that she’ll let you
ignore her, without ceasing to love you,

someone who’s given birth enough to know
to let go and never let go, to care
and not to care, to hide her secret
in the strange language of your guts.

But sooner or later you give in
and learn to wait while she stares
into the stirring pot of your eyes
and listen long enough to hear

as well as she does, listen with
the tuned drum of your heart,
the wisdom of your pulsing cells,
the body of God in you,

vibrant and yearning and at peace.
Knowing where her joy lies in you,

sensing what it longs for, how it feeds you,
when it stirs, when it rests, you wait

not for a command but a touch, an unspoken
connection, the looks that dance between
you and your confident sister,
your close companion, the Quiet One.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

Secret power

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

I carry my secret power through this world,
hidden, so that you will not see it
unless you harm or confront me directly;

though we who share the gift recognize each other—
the look in the eyes, the manner of presence.
Once you’ve seen it you can’t miss it.

It never tires or errs or fails;
it prevails in public or in secret,
with a single one or a whole clan.

It does not protect me or hand me success,
but it always triumphs, always lives,
though often I will suffer for it, but only a bit.

I draw on the secret power
poured out into me, welling up,
unending, from the dark spring within.

It streams from my heart at all whom I meet,
but they seldom know it was me,
since it takes effect so slowly.

I walk through the market, I read the paper,
I watch the dryer repair man, the grocery clerk,
people who drive, who walk, who yell at me,

secretly radiating the gift that I have been given,
seldom speaking of it, but letting it flow:

Blessing.” “Blessing.” “Blessing.”

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

Runner’s medium

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Most days I run about four and a half miles. I don’t experience a “runner’s high” very often; it’s more like a runner’s medium— maybe medium-high. I push myself, but I’m not concerned about improving my time, just my health. What’s important to me is not how soon I cross the finish line, but how fit I am. When I run I trust the invisible processes in my body, the transformation of tissues, bone and heart, of metabolism, blood chemistry, immunology, stamina and all sorts of things. I don’t understand all that. I just know it’s going on in me. So I run.

When I sit in silent stillness and meditate on the love of God I don’t often experience a “pray-er’s high,” that endorphin-rich state of bliss brought on by profound meditation. I don’t often sense that God is saying anything in particular to me. But I trust the invisible process going on in my soul. Even though sometimes my prayer is shallow or my mind wanders, when I sit in silence, the Beloved prays in me, Spirit breathes in me, and unseen miracles occur— gifts of healing, release, wisdom, connection, love and presence. I don’t understand it. I just know it’s going on in me. So I pray.

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

Love poured out

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

.

God has poured out her love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
whom she has given us.

Romans 5.5

God, I am so small;
help me fathom this mystery:
that you have given me your eternal Spirit,
that the Spirit that hovered over the face of the waters
when you created all things
breathes deeply in me, deeply in me.

Help me to be mindful that the love
with which you create the world,
love that raises the dead,
you have poured into my heart,
flooding my being—
infinite love, infinite love.

Help me to trust that I can face all hardship,
endure all suffering and undertake all endeavors
with your love and spirit flowing through me.

Help me to trust
that you pour into me the infinite love and Spirit
with which to love this world,
with which to join with you
in creating and healing and blessing
this wondrous world.

Loving One, let this mystery fill me
and light my way.

Amen.

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

The voice of God

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not concern myself with great matters,
things too marvelous for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.

— Psalm 131

When we listen for the voice of God, sometimes we “hear” something like advice.

Take the job.”

Forgive your sister.”

But more often we may hear something that’s harder to put into words, more like a movement than an idea.

You are all right.”

Here is your gift.”

It may be something closer to a feeling.

Peace.”

This is not right.”

It may simply be awareness.

This sunrise.”

I am.”

More often than not, God’s “Word” is not something that can be said at all. When we listen in stillness we hear the voice of God humming quietly, like a contented mother with her child in her arms. And that is enough.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight@hotmail.com

Listening in tongues

Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” — Acts 2. 7-8

Maybe the miracle on that Pentecost day was simply that Jesus’ followers were given the ability to understand foreigners. Don’t underestimate the miraculousness of this. We usually don’t listen even to people who speak our own language, let alone a foreign one, enough to really understand them. Maybe the disciples simply gave enough attention to the foreigners that they came to understand what spoke to them. That might have taken longer than just rushing out into the street– but it’s no less impressive. Maybe the real Pentecostal gift is not one of speaking at all, but of listening.

We normally see things according to our own understanding, without taking into account other people’s experience or perspective. But when we listen to their story from their point of view and honor their experience, we learn a new language of reality. It’s like listening in tongues.

The Holy Spirit does not necessarily empower us to prophesy by doing all the talking, being right and convincing others. It enables us to listen, to receive, to connect deeply enough with people, even people who are very different from us, that we can discover what speaks to them. As Paul says, God searches our hearts with the mind of the Spirit (Romans 8.27). Listen in the power of the Holy Spirit. You maybe surprised at how many people there are for whom it will be truly prophetic.

_______________________________

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Speaking in tongues

“Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power?”

— Acts 2. 7, 11

When we think of “speaking in tongues” we usually mean glossolalia, ecstatic speech that is unintelligible, even to the speaker. But on that day of Pentecost the disciples did the opposite: they spoke in common languages to make the unfathomable grace of God clear to foreigners who otherwise would not have understood them. Real speaking in tongues is not a private, emotional act. It means communicating “God’s deeds of power” in someone else’s language, in a way that they can understand.

You don’t need to lose yourself in ecstatic prayer, or even learn a foreign language to communicate God’s love. You may not have to put it into words at all: you can make evident what God has done in your life. Become increasingly aware of God’s presence in you, mindful of how God’s love flows through you, changes you, blesses you, and flows on to others. Let this be your consciousness. Let this gift shine in you. Become transparent to God’s grace. Radiate God’s love. Extend compassion, delight and blessing even to the strangest people. Don’t worry; they’ll get it.

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

Things won’t work out

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

.

.

God, I’m worried that things won’t turn out
as I want them to.
So I’m grasping, clinging to little things,
little hopes, like remnants from a fire,
artifacts of an imagined world.
Meanwhile you pour out your presence to me.

What is this tinny little world I cling to?
Why am I hanging onto these trinkets?
What is this fear that I cherish so much?
Why am I afraid to stop and behold
your infinite abundance, laid secretly in my lap?

Does what I want lead me to abandon all things
and fall into your arms?
Is there something I want more than You?
What would it take for me to trade
what I am afraid of losing
for what can’t be taken from me?

I am standing by a clear, flowing river
nervously holding water in my cupped hands
that I have carried a long time.
Why don’t I drop it, walk in, and float away?

.

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © 2010
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Good morning

.
Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

.

.


Wake up.
Be present to this world,
wakeful and attentive.

Rise from your bed.
Once again you are raised from death,
once again given the gift of life.

Throw back the curtains.
Let in all the light you can.
You have nothing to hide.

Look out the window.
Your purpose today is to witness
and to wonder.

Begin the day with gratitude,
just for this moment,
until it gets dark.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight (at) hotmail.com