Speak tenderly

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…
—Isaiah 40.1

My child,
comfort my people.
Even as you cry for justice,
let it lead to a peaceable life for all.
Even as you resist evil,
speak tenderly.
Be a voice of comfort, not blame,
a voice of hope, not doom.
Tell my people—show them:
I will be with you, one of you—
to see your struggles, to stumble with you.
I taste the cold mud, I feel the sharp wounds.
I know the fear that this cold fog will never lift.
Beloved, it will lift.
I will be with you
to manage the rough spots with you,
to carry you with tender delight.

My child, my people are hurting.
Speak tenderly to them.
Show them my hope and comfort,
and the words shall not be in vain.

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

November 30, 2020

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Advent

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!
—Isaiah 64.1

This is the season we are arrested by our longing.
This is the season of the undressing of our hunger,
and a time to adopt our orphaned hopes.
Our spirits ache with the family not gathered for holidays, 
unfinished business of the heart, 
the pall of Things Gone Wrong. 
As the plague spreads out from the cities to the countryside,
mostly, cruelly, through happy means of games and weddings,
and the peasants grow hungrier,
and the Emperor has stomped off to his room,
our unease deepens.
How do we name our heartbreak, our lack?
This is the affliction that silts our veins:
that we do not know what we want, but we want it badly. 
Sandbags of darkness rise about us
and with the night, our wanting.
The door to the locked attic room in our hearts
that we have ignored for too long swings open,
and its great emptiness reaches for us.
This is the season we marry our longing.

Nothing will do now, but divine intervention,
yet not in the heavens, but somehow—
in a mystery the prophets have hinted at—
among us.
The empty place is the place of God.

Oh, humanity, set the table,
and keep the fire going.
But before you set out either to hope or to rectify,
your faithfulness now is to attend to the great, holy fullness
of the emptiness in your heart,
and be still.

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

November 27, 2020

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Giving thanks

A Thanksgiving prayer for those of us
who live in places that were colonized
and taken from native people.
Where I live they are the Wabenaki.
Who are they where you live? Use their name.

O Creator, we give thanks for this land and its fruits,
for the abundant gift of this earth.
We give thanks for the Wabenaki stewards of this land
who have gone before us,
who have blessed this land through the centuries.
We honor their elders, past and present,
and give thanks for their wisdom.
We confess that we have stolen their land,
and pray for restitution, a time of Jubilee.
We ask your blessing for them, for they are our siblings,
with all humans in the world;
and we pray that we may be one family,
sharing one table, one feast of your Creation.
We give thanks for the living beings of this place,
for plants, for the four-legged and the winged ones,
and for the gracious mystery
that you provide all living beings with food.

Bless our feast, that it may be a practice of gratitude and justice,
and that we may faithfully take our rightful place
in the great web of being,
giving and receiving and tending with care
as you created us to do.
We pray for those who are kept from the table,
that justice may be done.
May this feast draw us in
to the Feast of All Creation,
by your grace, and for your delight.
With gratitude we ask your blessing.
Amen.

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

November 26, 2020

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Keep awake

              Keep awake—for you do not know
               when the head of the household will come.
                                         
—Mark 13.35

You can smell when it’s going to rain.
You know when a kid is hiding a surprise.
You have ways of knowing.
Awaken your wakefulness.

Watch for how the World,
TV, noise, ads, expectations,
want to put you to sleep.
Even religion will do it.
Distrust the world’s cynicism.

Stay alert to the little cracks
where the Divine slips in.
Where do you see love?
Where do you sense the hunger,
the emptiness God alone will fill?

Stay awake with holy curiosity,
with hope—not knowing the outcome,
but staying alert, trusting
God is at work—
confident not-yet-ness,
waiting, watching openness.

The head of the household
is coming.

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

November 25, 2020

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I bow

I bow to the four directions.

I bow to what is.
I bow to what is not.
I bow to what may be.
I bow that I may discern.

I bow to what is.
I bow to what I can do.
I bow to what I cannot do.
I bow that I may discern.

I bow to what is.
I bow to who I am.
I bow to who I am not.
I bow that I may discern.

With gratitude I bow.
With reverence I bow.
With courage I bow to this day,
and enter it with joy.

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

November 24, 2020

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Beging the end

         In those days, after that suffering,
          the sun will be darkened,
                    and the moon will not give its light,
          and the stars will be falling from heaven,
                    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
                                        —Mark 13.24-25

Yes, it is the end times.
As it always has been—
the end of this time
and the beginning of another.
A time of urgency, of immediacy,
of moral emergency.
Don’t imagine things will go on,
or revert to some way they’ve been.
This is the day to make things new,
beginning with yourself—and yet

not to make, but to be made.
Begin the end here: let yourself end.
Let your sun darken, your stars fall.
Give yourself up to the One
who will say in the darkness,
“Let there be light.”
Until the word is spoken,
let there be darkness.

_____________
The Sea Today

Obediently falling
and falling
on the shore,
erasing
and erasing,
and birthing.

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

November 23, 2020

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Hard road

My child,
I see you weary and weighed
in the slow catastrophe,
carrying the wreckage with you.
I know your longing,
the loneliness, the empty place.

Beloved, you are doing a hard thing.
Try to be as kind to yourself as I am.
Forgive yourself. Appreciate your resilience.
Give thanks for what has sustained you.

You are weary, as you ought to be.
Give yourself permission
to savor what renews you.

You are grieving, for a horizon
that always walks ahead of you,
for a touch you can’t have.
Let yourself mourn, let the sky hear.
The earth knows your song.

Be gentle with yourself, Beloved.
You are doing a hard thing.
I am with you. I believe in you.
This is my word to you, on this long road:
we will make it through.
We will make it through.

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

November 20, 2020

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The rock in the river

Holy One,
in this turbulent world I seek your peace,
for you are the rock in the river, unperturbed.

Or is it: you are the flowing of the river, unceasing.

Or, you are the sea that gathers them both.

Ah, I see: you are the gravity that holds
the rock and the river and the sea and the sky.

Beloved, I belong to you.
That is enough.

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

November 19, 2020

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The great judgment

Lord, when did we see you
shot dead in the street and not cry out?
When did we see you walking in the desert
and not leave water for you?
When did we see you deported
or carted off to prison and not protest?
When did we see you separated from your family
and put in a cage, and not reach out?
When did we see you struggling in the ICU,
or the nursing home, or on the locked ward,
and did not come to you?”

And he will answer…

[…Matthew 25.45…]

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

November 18, 2020

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Ephesians 1.17-23

(My paraphrase)

I pray that God—
the God the Beloved, Jesus Christ, showed us,
God our beautiful Life-Giver—
may give you a spirit of mindfulness and wisdom
as you deepen your openness to God,
so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened,
you will have the hope God has for you.
May you live in wonder and trust
of the gifts we all receive as God’s Beloved.
May you feel in your bones
the immeasurable greatness
of the power of love when we trust it.
This is God’s power in us.
Love is the power that raised Christ from the dead,
the power that orders the universe,
the power above all human systems,
every rule and authority and dominion,
and above every seen or unseen power,
force or value you could imagine.
God subjects everything to love.
And we—we are the embodiment of that love,
which conquers everything, and fills everything,
and completes everything.
We are the body,
and Love is what makes us alive.

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

November 17, 2020

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Categorized as Reflections