Floating in the north Atlantic

          Floating here some three thousand miles off Portugal I hang in your green, breath held, limbs still, ears just under water, feet pointing down into mystery. The sea in my veins is so close to you, blood of the planet I throb in. In your silence I feel the crashing of waves in my heartbeat, the wind in and out when I come up to breathe. It may look just barely but I feel so alive. You have no ill will yet I know if I breathe wrong you will take me. This far north your hands are cold, your lips are cold. Still I float in your womb and you say “I will hold you.” Sitting in my umbilical prayers I hear you. Mountains and deserts say this, too. And beside a little white church on a North Dakota prairie a plot of ground, surrounded by family names, says as well, “I will hold you.” I hear you. I hang here in this green moment.

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

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Olympics

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    

The world class athlete does amazing things, and then goes home and is a person.

Admire the star who can do what you can’t, but here is a greater feat, this miracle you are!

There are no medals, no rankings, we only dreamed them.

You depend on no accomplishment; no victory or defeat defines you.

Allow what is purely given to blossom up from the root.

After all, eventually you stop asking the Beloved to perform for you

so you can just sit together.

                    Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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I thought I knew

          My birds arrive from tropics and glaciers I can’t imagine.

My river sparkles into a distance I’ve never seen.

Some days the volcano trembles and all I can do is wonder.

When my Beloved finds wild animals in me should I be alarmed or merely startled?

I thought I understood, looked in the mirror enough to recognize me,

but now you have re-created me entirely and I must start over. Again.

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

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Great wind

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    

We hunch over in the wind and rain. No one pretends that it’s not real. When the tree comes down or the crops are ruined, when the river rises and won’t abate or the sea wall is breached, we cry out. The storm obeys something huge, not our little voices, our little shaken fists.

A storm makes it easy to believe. Yet you doubt the great wind heaving within you.

___________________ Weather Report

Deep breath moving through. Travelers’ advisory: depending on which way you face the wind you may arrive sooner than expected or not at all, or far to one side.

                    Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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Divisions

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?                   No, I tell you, but rather division!          From now on five in one household will be divided,                   three against two and two against three.                            —Luke 12.51-52

Whether you are among the two or the three the gospel will be controversial and someone will oppose you. What you believe, even who you are will trouble some. Stand. There is no pleasing others.

Beware of posing as someone acceptable. You may pretend— the costumes are easily available— but when you forget it’s a mask it will suffocate you.

The pine is not convinced to be an ash; the sparrow is not ashamed among finches. All of them sing of one glory, the many-voiced song of God. Let the crowd make their divisions, and divisions of divisions— you know better.          

                    Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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Hiding in plain sight

Dearly Beloved, Grace and peace to you.

The Beloved can think of nothing more beautiful           than her children running toward her so she stands a bit away           so we will come to her, but she is not waiting in faraway places:           no, it is in people whom we least suspect. When we look at the stranger ?           Ah! There she is.

Then she gives that gift           to us for our own delight. The Beloved has hidden us           in one another, waiting for us to see           and come together in astonishment.

Deep blessings, Pastor Steve

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

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily email write to me at unfoldinglight (at) gmail.com

Beggar child

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.  

You are a little child who puts on beggar’s rags, a ratty shawl of fear, and goes out with your little tin cup and clings to a few coins all day. You come to the royal palace and you are welcomed in and you are full of envy and desire. But your mother takes off your shawl and brings you to the table, for you live here, and all these riches are yours, and your Mother has missed you.

Every moment you enter the palace.

Every moment you enter the palace.

                             Do not be afraid, little flock,           for it is Abba God’s good pleasure           to give you the whole Realm.                   —Luke 12.32

          Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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

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For the hurting

         I have had enough of your sacrifices.          Cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice:          rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.                   —Isaiah 1.11, 17

God, I confess how much of my faith is for me alone, and does not care for the poor and the lonely.

Burn a place in my heart for the hurting. Take my prayer and give it to them.

Divide my faith between me and those who doubt. Split my assurance with those who despair.

Share my joy with the oppressed, and my hope with the abused.

May all I believe, all I do, all I pray be for the sake of your beloved who hurt the most.

May my prayer disturb me until it leads to action, to work and witness for justice, to change the world.

God of love and justice, give me courage rather than peace, compassion rather than comfort, earth rather than heaven.

With Christ, I ask you, God: save me last.

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

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God is being

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                                    

The rough rock tombed down deep in dark beneath dry grasses gleams with glory.

The mud between the sedges glows, the strips of bark, the molding leaves shine.

God is being in each dark and solid thing, surging out, pulsing with the energy of life.

The air burns with heaven’s radiance, the wind-raked trees tremble with it.

All created things and every moment throb with the muscle of God’s being, splendored out like light from suns, like song from throats, like love from aching hearts.

Glory’s flung from every ordinary thing; in every simple sound the angels sing.

We live and walk upon a glowing ember, deep down seething, throbbing with energy divine.

Raise the scales from your eyes —you hold them—look!

God’s hope unfurling, a star, you, open your eyes and illumine the earth.

                    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