Blessed

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         Blessed are the poor in spirit
         for theirs is the realm of heaven.

                           —Matthew 5.3

When you have nothing
         then God fills your life.

When you are powerless
         there is nothing but the infinite power of God.

When you are stripped naked
         you are clothed in the glory God gave you.

It is in darkness and chaos
         that God creates.

When you are on the cross,
         you are where God saves;
when you are in the grave,
         you are where God raises us up.

When you are weak and discouraged,
alone and hurting,
in that lowest place,
         you are in the very place where Christ comes:
         you are accompanied;
         you are blessed.

What we most fear is all we desire:
         to lose everything,
         falling in love until all we have is love
         and the Beloved.

Empty your life
         and all will be God.

         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Whoa

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Sometimes when you see something awesome you just say, “Whoa.” This last weekend I led an event at an Episcopal church on poetry as a form of prayer. It was a significant event for me as well as the other participants. (Thank you, Grace!) Partly it was just so much fun. I fell in love with a whole church. But also something shifted, something awakened in me, something about my calling, my vocation, my life.

So how did I react to that wonderful experience? I got sick. Monday night I was pretty deep in it.

Maybe it was a random virus; maybe it was exhaustion. But maybe, at least in part, it was my body saying, “Whoa.” Sometimes that really means “Whoa.” Stop. Maybe my being sick was my body’s way to keep me from rushing on to the next thing. When we experience something significant (or maybe anything at all) we need time to absorb it, reflect on it, stay in that space, before moving on. Even now I’m moving slow (you didn’t hear from me yesterday, did you?), trying to stay in that reflective place, letting the mystery gestate in me.

Honor and cherish what is given to you. Give yourself permission to take time to grieve, exult or ponder. Don’t rush on. Say, “Whoa.” Give yourself time, even unconsciously, to wonder, to be changed. Don’t worry about the word and all its haste. It will catch up to you when it’s ready.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Fishers of people

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
I’m off to lead an event on poetry as prayer this weekend at Grace Episcopal Church in Bainbridge Island, WA., so I’ll be off ’till Wednesday. But first, a thought.

         “Follow me, and I will have you fishing for people.”
                  —Matthew 4.19

I won’t catch anybody, hook anybody, reel anybody in.
But Jesus, I’ll be your net.
Weave me into something more than me
and throw me into the deep green mystery of the world.

I’ll be your bait. Pierce me with your love
and dangle me in this day. Let them taste me, bite me,
consume me: they’ll only be getting you.

I’ll be your lure. Tie me to you with your secret knot,
cast me where you want me, still invisibly connected,
and let your light flash in me
as you draw me closer and closer to you.

I’ll be your fly, dancing on the water of this day,
willing to be flung and returned,
letting all of life be catch and release,
knowing that whether or not we catch anything,
you have had delight on this fine afternoon.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Follow

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
                  —Matthew 4.19

We already know how to weave a net,
strands whose meaning is in each other.
We know how to fling away what is in our hands,
let it fall and disappear,
how to trust the unseen,
reach into depths,
receive from below.

We’ve seen what it is to be raised up,
hauled into a higher world beyond our life,
gasping round-eyed in the light.

We’ve already answered,
already gone.

Still, unseen shoals of fish move through the deep.
A silvery listening happens beneath us,
flashes breifly, recedes.
There is always the voice calling us on,
and the One within, calling,
the One who throws himself into the deep,
calling us to sail on an even more invisible wind,
to let go and to go,
to be led,
to be lured:
not farther, but closer, deeper,
to let ourselves be woven and flung.
Even in this day’s dreary average
there is always the voice
calling us
to follow.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Repent

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         
         Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.
                  —Matthew 4.17

Wake up. God is present.

                  +

Let go of your attachments. The real world is beyond them.

                  +

Turn from your obsessions and participate in the world that God is unfolding around you.

                  +

Abandon your self-serving ways. Belong to God’s world instead of the one inside your head.

                  +

Renounce your cynicism. God is already keeping the promise.

                  +

Give yourself to God. You will be a part of infinite beauty.

                  +

Re-tune your life to the music of God.

                  +

Turn yourself inside out. God will meet you.

                  +

Look! Glory!

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

martin

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
Martin,
Lamb of God,
laid down with lions,
had a dream for us all.

Don’t weep for him in his death,
or mourn him in his absence:
he is with us still,
freed now from his little place,
still praying, preaching, marching,
in everyone who cries out for justice,
everyone who bears light
into the darkness.

We are not alone now,
nor was he, nor all the saints:
from from the day of Cain
it was the One who cried out,
pleading, singing,

We shall,
We shall….

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

Morning ice, sun

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         
         
                  

The rising sun lifts every frozen thing
into another world.
All are wearing robes of white,
and crowns of silver and of gold.
Mist is raised in curls of light
from pools of ice repenting.
Vapor hovers off the ground,
a choir of light, a host of heaven,
Spirit brooding over dark Creation’s waters.
Branches dressed in stars,
their glinting millions,
stand in perfect contemplation,
bathed in newness.
Snow in silence gives itself to air
in lucent breathing.
Eden’s swords of flame pierce morning’s woods,
whose streets are paved with gold,
making every thing begin again.
Now nothing here, not even you, is old.

         
              
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

Come and see

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         They said to him, “Teacher, where are you staying?”
         He said to them, “Come and see.”

                  —John 1.38-39

They said, “Where do you abide?”
         Where is your heart rooted?
         Where does your spirit linger?
         Where will you always be?
         Where do you eternally remain?
         Where does your loving presence dwell?
         

He said, “Come and see.”
         Draw near. Don’t be distant. Come.
         It will be among the poor, the silenced,
         under the weight of the cross.
         You’ll have to leave some things behind.
         You won’t see the healing
         unless you’re close to the wound.
         Come.
         
         Look.
         Without judgment or analysis, simply attend.
         Don’t theorize: notice.
         

The Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world
lives with us.
Keep the eyes of your soul open.

         
              
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

Lamb of God

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         

         Look, the lamb of God,
         who takes away the sin of the world.

                  —John 1.29

Look
         “Come and see”
         allow this grace to fill our vision

The Lamb of God
         lamb that dwells with the wolf
         servant who like a lamb is led to the slaughter
         Passover lamb whose blood marks our freedom
         conquering lamb who opens the seven seals

Who takes away
         the Greek word is “to lift”
         to take the burden from our shoulders
         to bear our sin, carry it off, endure the load
         to lift up for us to see clearly
         to hold it harmlessly away from us
         to receive our violence without returning it
         
The sin of the world
         not the sins; we’re stuck with those
         the brokenness hidden in everyone
         the saturating fear
         the wound that will not heal
         the violence of the system

And they followed him
         to know we are as sinful as others, and not judge
         to know we are forgiven, and be humbly grateful
         to carry forgiveness into this world
         to be nonviolent
         in freedom, miraculously rising
         without illusion that we can bear or save
         in tender love for the gentle lamb
         to accompany Christ beneath the suffering of the world
         and help the Gentle One who holds the weight

         
              
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

What are you looking for?

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         When Jesus turned and saw them following,
         he said to them, “What are you looking for?”

                  —John 1.38

In John’s story Jesus’ first word is a question.
It still is.

         What do you want?
         What do you really want?
         What do you want even more than that?

Let Jesus ask. He wants to know.
Let your soul answer.

         What are you yearning for?
         What is your heart leaning toward?
         What do you hope for?

They said to him, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come and see.”

         Come close to him so that you can see.
         Keep asking. Keep longing.
         Keep looking.
         
         
         
              
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