Smiling Buddha

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Buddha sits in the garden
by the corner of the garage
and smiles. Doesn’t he get cold,
sitting there in his flimsy robe,
frost on the domes of his shoulders?

He doesn’t seem to. Snow settles
in the folds of his robe
along his contented belly
and he just smiles.
Ice drips on his foot from the eaves
and he doesn’t even move it. He just
smiles.
Wouldn’t you like to be
so serene and contented,
so attentive without distraction,
so impervious to attitudes
and free of demands?

Yeah, well, he’s made of cement.
Doesn’t that make it easier?

Why should it, since you yourself are made
of light?

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________
Copyright © 2010
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Published
Categorized as Reflections

You are light

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

— 2 Corinthians 3.18

Before the beginning was God. Then later, as far back toward the beginning as we can imagine, which is about 13.5 billion years ago, God said, “Let there be light,” and the universe began in a single speck of pure Word. Then God separated the light from the darkness and for a time all of Creation wavered between matter and pure energy. The Big Bang expanded into a universe of hydrogen and helium, deuterium and lithium, which clumped in globs here and there and made stars, where matter and energy kept becoming each other. And in those stars the elements burned together, drawn by their attraction to each other, and danced with the ferocity of God, and created new elements: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, iron, magnesium. And then in an exuberant supernova explosion, the stars sowed those seeds across the universe, and God said, “Grow!” And over the next thirteen and a half billion years those atoms that were made in the heart of stars made their journey through space and time, having many adventures, until certain ones of them came together and became you, your body.

You are made of stars. Which are made of the light of God, God’s pure energy, God’s love. The molecules in your body were gathered up from the dust of the earth, which was sculpted from light, the light of stars, the heart of stars, the burning of the light of God. What you see in the mirror is the Big Bang in slow motion. You are the light of God walking around in a spark that has cooled and calmed and become matter and is still and small enough for us to see. But you are really a star, the pure energy of God.

Sometimes it shows. Especially when you return to your Source, and be who you are created to be. The light seeps out in your smile, your kind words, your attention to beauty. It radiates in your courage to love people. Like the primordial elements, attracted to each other, it glows when you honor the light in others. It burns, inextinguishable, in your courage to prevail in the face of struggle—for that light in you has already endured much and come a long way, and will not fail. As the stars burn brilliantly all day long and we do not see them, the light of God shines within you, veiled and unnoticed, but present, and fierce, and beautiful. We are embarrassed about it at times, but it is the beauty of Creation, and the presence of God. Trust it. Give thanks. And let it shine.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Glory

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

All of us, with unveiled faces,
seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another;
for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

— 2 Corinthians 3.18

You are made of glory.
When you look at Christ, shining with light,
that is your own radiance you see,
the handprints of the Creator,
who works not in oils or clay but glory.
The splendor of the sunrise is no greater,
the shy moon no more comely.
A beauty, deep and given,
blazes within, a rose unfurling,
a world becoming, beyond confinement,
yet, in our alarm at such fire within us,
shrouded, dappled, harbored.
Remove the veil, look in awe,
learn to see it without being intimidated,
give thanks plainly.
God, the center of a galaxy,
flames within you, radiates calmly.
In time you come to trust this,
shed your shadows, and become
without apology
pure glory.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at) hotmail.com

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Beholding the Transfiguration

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

While he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

— Luke 9.29-35

Jesus shines as an icon of God, the fulfillment of the law and prophets. Caught up in the satisfaction of it, we are tempted to somehow capture the moment, take control of the mystery, possess the grace, contain the power. We want to build a box. But grace can’t be contained. We have no control; the power is loose; the mystery confounds and passes on. All we have is the present moment. All we can do is keep awake and pay attention. We can’t possess the glory, but we can receive it. We can’t master the mystery, but we can behold it. We can listen. In truth we do not confess Christ as Lord with our lips, but with our ears. May your heart be open to the mystery and glory of the Presence, the Love of Heaven shining in your midst. How can you behold the glory? Keep listening, keep listening.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at) hotmail.com

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Sea

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Your prayers are already in you
like water in the sea.

All you have to do is let them rise
from you like mist.

You and the sea will dry up on the same day
ten billion years from now

when you have
other concerns.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright (c) 2010
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Masks

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you;
bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you.

— Luke 6. 27-28

Be compassionate for those who have learned
by hard and hurtful experience
to mask their fear with anger,
whose meanness is really loneliness,
whose arrogance is actually insecurity,
whose hard heartedness is the only safe place
they know where to hide their terrible wound.
Be kind to those who do not know how to be kind,
for most likely no one has shown them kindness.
Forgive those who seem always to be fighting,
for it may be the only way they know how
to reach out and touch someone.
Be gentle with those who yell at you,
for they’re only trying to show you what hurts.
Be kind to the ungrateful and the selfish,
for only thus will you know
how deeply and freely God loves you.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________
Copyright (c)Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Of your love

Divine Love,
of your love
all day long I am unfolding the letter,
of your love
all day long I am uncovering the treasure,
all day long I am unclasping the chest,
all day long I am welcoming the courier,
I am approaching the door,
I am tipping the vessel.
Of your love all day long
I am feeling the hands,
I am removing the clothes,
I am hearing the song,
I am falling into the heart,
slipping into the inside.
Of your love
all day long
there is always yet more.
Of your love
all day long
may I be mindful and rejoice.

_______________________________
Copyright (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Flood me

Infinite, Loving Presence,
this day, in all light and darkness,
flow into me through my eyes.
In every sound and silence I hear,
fill me through my ears.
In everything I touch,
and everything I release,
flood me through my hands.
May the infinite presence of your Spirit
pour into me in every breath.
With every mysterious beat of my heart
and all my words and thoughts and deeds,
by your gentle grace, may your love
flow into this open world
this day through me.

_______________________________

Copyright (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Groundhog Day

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Today is Groundhog Day, when a groundhog emerging from its burrow will predict whether there will be six more weeks of winter. I’m sure it’s a reliable way to predict the future. Well, OK, maybe not. I bet the groundhog is not contemplating the future, but simply coming out of his burrow.

But in his honor, consider the movie “Groundhog Day.” In it a TV reporter is sent unwillingly, resentfully, in fact, to cover the ceremony in Punxatwney, PA. The whole time he wishes he were somewhere else. The next day he wakes up and it’s Groundhog Day all over again. Indeed, he keeps repeating the same day over and over, Groundhog Day after Groundhog Day. He goes through a series of responses: he gets goofy and does things he normally wouldn’t, knowing there will be no consequences. He does various terrible deeds, even getting himself killed, knowing he’ll wake up again the next day and start all over. He takes piano lessons. He does good deeds. He flirts with the woman he’s attracted to. But he’s always yearning to get out of Groundhog Day, and he never does. Day after day, it’s still the very same Feb. 2. Day after day, he wishes he were elsewhere. But eventually he comes to a point when he forgets himself and becomes entirely present, perfectly satisfied with the present moment—and finally he breaks free and re-enters the real world.

It’s simple: be present. We so easily get caught up in rehashing the past, worrying about the future, wishing things were otherwise, being elsewhere. Ironically the more we wish things were otherwise, the more stuck we are. It’s only when we accept What Is that we are set free. We can only move into an actual future from the real present.

Today let the groundhog predict the future. You stay in the present. Live it while it’s here. It won’t come again. The present moment is all you have: if you don’t live in it, you don’t have anything. Accept what is. It’s good enough. Let this whole day be the one, unrepeatable gift that it is. May it be a blessed one.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

_______________________________

Copyright (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com

Paper boat

How amazing that you have chosen
the thin paper boat of my life
in which to cross this sea,

a little sheet folded in certain shape
to make a cupped-hands dish,
the printing running this way and that.

Somehow over the wind-raked expanse
and through the stomping surf
this weightless little scrap arrives

and you step out and smile and say,
“Thank you. I’m so glad to be here.”
and I look around the gentle shore and wonder:

how the heck do you do that?

__________________
Copyright (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes
unfoldinglight(at)hotmail.com