Presence

          Holy One, Holy Oneness,

You are my soul. Creation is our body.

Your love, its gravity, holds me.

You pour yourself out on me, my rain, my sun, my air.

The garden of your Spirit ripens in me.

The gifts I have, the gift I am, await my giving.

You who are here for me, I am here for you.

Every moment of this day may I be present for you.

________________ Weather Report           Conditions, passing through, shifting throughout the day of your life, while who you are remains solid as the earth.

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

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Walls

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.

                    Prison walls look like they’re for keeping you locked in, to keep you from getting out.

But they’re also for keeping the light out, to not let any joy leak in there.

We who build the walls are the ones imprisoned by our illusions that we can lock out the light.

But it grows in you, this fierce acceptance, and we can’t stop it, can’t touch it.

We try to force your misery but we are powerless. You are free and we can’t stop you from shining.

Christ, the prisoner, speaks your name. Christ, crucified, always rises, from within,

always rises.

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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

Bird feeder

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                     Prayer is a bird feeder. You put in it what you have at hand and hang it out where it’s easily seen and you wait. You look at it, all the little things in it, and you wait. You don’t yell at the birds or tell them what to do with the seeds. You wait. And you marvel at their little wings, their heads bobbing up, always looking, their feet so small and sure, how they hang on, their tiny visitations, their impossible flight, full of life, from such great distances, coming and going.

          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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com

I walk through this world

Beneath the shouting, quieter and more steady, listen for my voice. Be still, and listen. You are doing a difficult thing. And I am with you. I have gathered up your life, your triumphs and failures, your powers and your weaknesses, and I hold it all in grace. You have died, and your life is hidden in me now. I bear your grief, the river of it flows through me, and I am the spring it comes from. When you are alone I am the body that weaves you with everyone. When you are discouraged I bind your hope to you. When you are weary I am your strength and breath, the life that carries you. When the road is rough and long I go onward, and bear you in my love and wisdom. Keep your mind on this. Forget the little things. Remember my presence. Forget whatever you can cling to. Remember I hold you. Never mind the demons and discouragements. You are in me and it is I who walk through this world with you hidden deep within me.

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

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Rich toward God

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    God said to the rich one, “You fool!          This very night your life is being demanded of you.          And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”          So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves          but are not rich toward God.                   —Luke 12.20-21

It may not just be filthy riches. It may be everything I’ve accomplished, whatever I’m proud of, whatever I cling to. It won’t save me, won’t make my life rich or lovely. I need to let go of it.

May I be rich toward you today, God: I give you every thought and deed; I give you every moment; I set every hope and desire in your hands.

I will not be merely generous to you, I will be extravagant. I give you myself wholly, abundantly, freely, with all the glory in which you have created me.

I am your gift to me. I receive my life with gratitude. I am my gift to you. Receive me with love, bless me with grace, and use me according to your delight.          

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

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A bold and sustained outbreak of gentleness

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                     We believe in the God of grace. We follow the Teacher of Love. We live by the Spirit of mercy. We trust God’s healing of the world.

When people spread fear and division, when evil, injustice and oppression thrive, no political revolution, program or platform will save us, but only a people transformed by grace and light, and a bold and sustained outbreak of gentleness.

We will stand up to cynicism, hate and indifference, and blanket this world with compassion, calm and mercy. We will proclaim the truth against all resistance. We will meet fear and hate with healing. We will obstruct the progress of injustice with our prayers, our words and our bodies. We will infest the world with grace and love.

We pray for open hearts and a spirit of deep listening. We pray for courage to enter the wounds of the world; for a spirit of peace to face violence with nonviolence; for patience to answer darkness with light. We pray for humility to offer ourselves as the first to be changed. We pray for one another, for we are one Body. We devote ourselves to sacrifice and discipline.

Giving thanks for the great spirit of grace already breathing in us, already rising, in hope and love, as the gentle people of God, we go forth.          

                    Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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Root yourself

                           A meditation on Colossians 2.7-8

You received as a gift God’s presence embodied in Jesus, the captain of your soul.          Be mindful and thankful          for how God has been present for you.

Live as part of God’s embodied presence. Root yourself deeply in Christ.          Root yourself, deeply embedded,          present for God.

Grow and become more whole in your trust, true to your experience, overflowing with gratitude.          Let yourself fill with trust and gratitude.

Don’t let anyone hijack your faith with fear and lies, with selfish agendas, with human prejudices and power structures. Keep your trust in Christ.          Despite all fear and hatred around you          pray that you stay rooted in Christ.

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

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The wrath of God

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    You withdrew all your wrath;                   you turned from your hot anger.          Restore us again, O God of our salvation,                   and put away your indignation toward us.          Will you be angry with us forever?                   Will you prolong your anger to all generations?                            —Psalm 85.3-5

The wrath of God is not like ours. When eros, love that is attraction, is frustrated, it turns to violence, a desire to destroy. When philios, love that is kinship, is frustrated, it turns to indifference and dismissal, a desire to separate. But when agape, love that is self-giving, is frustrated, it is still self-giving.

The wrath of God is born of love, made of love, and for the sake of love. God’s anger is anger at the disturbance of wholeness, so God responds not with the will toward brokenness?to destroy, condemn or expel? but with the will toward wholeness. Wrath born of agape is not anger at people, but anger at evil and injustice and the suffering it causes. It’s burning passion to heal things. God’s wrath is not punishment; it’s an invitation to feel. God holds our feet to the fire of our own making, allows us to feel the agony we cause, feel God’s own anguish for us. We experience it as an inner disturbance that makes us uneasy, a desire for justice that hurts until we act. Injustice endures because we don’t mind it.  God’s wrath is the rage that says “I do mind.  I can’t stand this, and I won’t: I will do something about it.” We feel the heat until we change.

The challenge is to channel that heat into love. Our natural tendency is to protect ourselves, so the temptation is to turn even righteous anger at injustice into mere anger, judgment or violence. But violence is not an act of love. Violence is an outburst of powerlessness. It only adds to the brokenness. And the anger still remains.  It still burns.  Holy rage is not against others, it is against evil– and I myself harbor evil.  God’s wrath is not mine to use to punish people I don’t like; it’s upon me to move me to do my part to heal the world, by making me hurt until I do something about it. 

In love, not self-protection, not self-justification, but self-giving, the wrath of God issues in love, in acts of healing and justice. To bear the cross is to rage against evil with love and gentleness. To rage against injustice without falling into judgment or violence is a hard calling. But because God’s wrath is loving, to bear that rage is to bear love, if we will open our hearts to it.

         My heart recoils within me;                   my compassion grows warm and tender.          I will not execute my fierce anger;                   I will not again destroy Ephraim;          for I am God and no mortal,                   the Holy One in your midst,                   and I will not come in wrath.                             –Hosea 11.8-9               Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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The prayer of Jesus

Our Mother, our Father, Source of our being, whose presence is heaven, all Creation sings of you, “Holy!” May your Realm unfold among us, your desire be fulfilled, this world blossoming out of your delight. Give us the breath of life, one breath at a time. Accept our brokenness; give us acceptance of others who are broken. Lead us beyond our desires and save us from the grip of evil. For the world is within you; all power is from you, and all glory is about you, in eternity, which is in the present moment. Amen.

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

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Ask

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    Ask, and it will be given you;          search, and you will find;          knock, and the door will be opened for you.                             For everyone who asks receives,          and everyone who searches finds,          and for everyone who knocks,          the door will be opened.                                     —Luke 11.9-10

Faith is not having; it’s searching. Faith is not knowing; it’s asking. Faith is not having arrived;          it’s knocking on the door.

See how often the Teacher praises people’s faith knowing nothing of their beliefs or their attitudes, only that they are reaching out. Faith is reaching out.

Certainty doesn’t draw us near to God. The lived question does, the open hand, opening ourselves to what flows new each moment.

We are leaves turning toward the sun, lovers longing for our lovers, children calling for mommy, swimmers coming up for breath.

Trusting the Beloved’s generosity, deepen your pleading. Let everything you do, every moment, be an opening, a breathing in, an ardent search, a reaching out to God.

Look! The door is opening.                            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 unfoldinglight(at) gmail.com