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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com.

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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.

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Let your heart overflow

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

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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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

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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

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Sovereign

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
      
         God raised Christ from the dead
         and seated Christ at God’s right hand in the heavenly places,
         far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.

                  —Ephesians 1.20-21

Tradition claims the Prince of Love
is ruler of the universe,
that forgiveness is above every power,
that grace overwhelms every dominion.

Skeptics demur. But what else sustains,
what else is worth it?
What but love bore Christ along,
and fueled his touch, his speech,
his dying breath? And what but grace
could make and use his rising?
If you’ve a better god, choose boldly.
Make sure it’s big enough for your whole life,
worth ruling you like your death.

In this world of seas and stars,
of music and the intricacies of your flesh,
of sundogs and tree frogs and memory,
of tragedy and the way its children survive,
even chaos is a feeble, flimsy thing,
and selfishness a bridge to nowhere.

I’ve seen sixty-one years
of a crazy world and all its wonders,
my dying and rebirth, forgiveness,
and what holds me in the wind.
The little candle in the darkness was love,
the strength that bore me was love,
my only failures a failure to love.
It’s the warp my life is woofed upon,
the only sense that everything makes,
the only reason that everything is.

You can have your randomness;
the old mosaics have it right:
even in the storm of chaos, the roar of evil,
love is the Lord of heaven and earth,
its teacher my sovereign, my truth.
It’s the little swaying bridge I’ll take
over the foaming, thundering chasm.

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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Give me eyes

      
         Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
         or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
         And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you,
         or naked and gave you clothing?
         When was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?

                  —Matthew 25.37-39

God of mercy,
         give me eyes to see your face.

God of mercy,
         give me ears to hear your cry.

God of mercy,
         give me hands to reach out to you.

God of mercy,
         give me a heart to know your presence.

God of mercy,
         give me mercy.
         that I may draw near to you.

         
         

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


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Light as a daily e-mail,
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The least of these

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

      
         Whatever you did to the least of these
                  you did to me.

                           —Matthew 25.40

This is not a simile.
         The poor are not an allegory.
                  God is the poor.

God is not observing them, but in them,
         the lonely and the rejected.
                  God takes the lowest place.

God is the powerless one,
         the misunderstood one,
                  the crucified one.

Under the bridge,
         in the nursing home,
                  in solitary,

this is the throne of the Sovereign,
         the Ruler of the universe:
                  the cross.

Until you see the glory of the divine
         in the street gang, the wheelchair,
                  the power of the heavens in the lifer,

you do not believe.
         Don’t go elsewhere to worship in ease.
                  Bow down, and serve, and know.
         

         
         
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

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

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write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com

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Almost bare

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  

The tree is almost bare now;
only a handful of yellow leaves remain.

The sun hugs branches
it hasn’t seen for a long time.

I am not yet so open
in my prayer.

A woodpecker works the bare limbs
and I am given hope to go on.

________________________
Weather Report

Clear
as a low pressure front
pushes desires and regrets
downwind
and the world before us appears,
glorious in detail, present
and divine.

         
         
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

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God is climbing a long hill

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
      
         
                  
God is climbing a long hill in you,
bearing the load, walking the distance.

The little sunrise of wonder in you
is God awakening to a blessing.

The strength you have is God
taking in a breath, ready for this.

God bears this grief,
walks the winding path, each step.

This journey is God walking in you,
holding your head up.

The silence is God praying in you.
Your cry is God crying out.

The energy of the universe
unfolds in this way.

The presence of God disappears
into the world and reappears in you.

God walking this road, shedding these tears,
becomes your life.

         
         
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

Published
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