You Might Have Stared, Too

By John Kiemele
part of the Selah Community

I had an appointment at a downtown office, parked the car and was crossing the street when something caught my attention: A woman was leading a llama down the street. This is not a regular occurrence where I live, so of course I paused to look. Okay, I stared.  

Here was a llama, with its shimmering, well-groomed coat, shiny halter with ornamental lead, tall and stately with a rather regal, clip-clopping along.  

Strangely enough, it seemed like everything in this particular moment belonged. And there I stood, smiling at serendipity. When I entered my intended appointment, I inquired if anyone had noticed the lady leading the llama right outside their office window. They had not noticed, and with the tilting folders, an army of sticky notes, and the humming machinery, I understood.

How easy it is to miss such scenes when regular life piles in around us. How often, I too, miss these unsuspecting slivers of life tucked into simple street crossings.  And yet, seeing that llama that day, I realized that every moment holds a potential surprise. Every moment echoes from Love and begs my heart to wonder about something more. To move with attentive openness to unfolding life. To be alert to slivers of mystery that make me smile at llamas—and keep wondering,

About John Kiemele

John Kiemele is a wellbeing educator and spiritual director who currently companions individuals, teaches various seminars and lifestyle classes, leads contemplative retreats and serves as Program Director at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center.  Focusing on contemplative soul care, John gratefully walks alongside individuals, small groups, classrooms, and congregations.  Recognizing how intentional pausing and listening unlocks life, John strives to engage the whole person – body, mind, soul – in the lifelong process of living well.  John received his Ph.D. in education/spirituality from Talbot School of Theology, with post-doctoral emphases in Spiritual Direction, Mindful Self-Compassion, the Enneagram Spectrum, and Wellness Coaching.

Photo by Pierre Borthiry on Unsplash

Through the Lens of a Contemplative Photographer

The splendor of the Pacific Northwest by photographer Andrew E. Larsen

Blessed are the Peacemakers
GIVING PEACE A CHANCE

Andrew E. Larsen, pastor and
professional photographer

Pastor Andrew E. Larsen describes himself as a Peacemaker. His ministry promotes seeking truth and making peace between Christians and Muslims. “Peacemaking in the way of Jesus is what we follow,” he says.

Larsen’s ministry endeavors to help Christians and Muslims understand each other better. “We work hard at building bridges of understanding and trust that can bear the weight of truth,” he says. “From there we can work to find how humanity can be reconciled, regardless of our histories and differences.”

Larsen says while he’s a “card-carrying Christ-follower,” he can fully love his Muslim neighbors. He points to Matthew 5:9 as what Jesus taught and modeled in the Gospels. 

To this end, Larsen has produced two documentaries on this subject. Dr. Rev. Larsen is a Selah Companion and serves on the Selah Center Board of Directors.

View more of Andy’s photos at https://www.andrewlarsenphotography.com. 
Learn more about Larsen’s work in peacemaking at http://worldlyholiness.com.

Listen to the Weaver

By Deb Tripp
part of the Selah Community

It never starts alone really
At least that’s the story I’ve heard
This magic —  this alchemy of
Listening  — being listened to
Of opening and stretching.
It is a weaving  — you the
First listener —  the warp
The strong threads tied to
My loom across the back beam.
It is your ability to hold
The tension that gives me
The notion that I can open
Up a little more.
The warp tension is strong
Up and down, back and forth
This listening creates the
Dance — the weaver’s dance.
And soon it is time to think
About the weft. What texture?
What colors?  How much space
Between my words and your words?
What tone?  What value?  How
Wide should we stripe our cloth today?

Photo by Aditya Wardhana on Unsplash

A Prayer for Our Country

God of mercy,
bless this nation of ours.
We pray for liberty,
         that none may be oppressed or exploited.
We pray for democracy;
         that all voices be heard, and none silenced.
We pray for peace,
         that there be harmony, in which everyone’s gifts may flourish.
We pray for justice,
         that no one benefit at the expense of another,
         that there be a just and equal sharing of power.
We pray for a spirit of patriotism,
         that we be faithful to one another as a whole.
We thank you for our freedom, and those who have protected it:
         teachers who taught us to question,
         neighbors who acted in covenant with one another,
         those who spoke out against injustice.
We thank you for the gift of our diversity;
         may we honor all people
         and celebrate our rich differences.
We thank you for this land, for it is yours.
         May we live in reverence for your Creation.
God of mercy, in love of our country we confess
         our mistreatment of the poor, and of the land,
         our abuse of power, and idolatry of our place in the world.
Temper our might with humility
         and our power with compassion.
Mend our divisions, heal our fear,
         and restore our love of one another.
Bless this nation,
         and bless every nation the same,
         for all of us are sisters and brothers.
On this Day of Inter-independence,
bless us O God, and make us a nation of justice and peace,
         a nation of benevolence and generosity,
         a nation of mutual sharing and cooperation,
         a nation devoted to the healing of the world.
God of mercy, bless this nation,
that we may be a nation of mercy.
Amen.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes,
www.unfoldinglight.net
Used with permission

About Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Steve Garnaas- is a retired United Methodist pastor. He and his wife Beth live in Maine. He often leads retreats on prayer, poetry, and renewing our language about God. He writes a lot of church music.  “I am trying to be here now,” says Garnaas-Holmes.

Unfolding Light

Unfolding Light is a daily reflection rooted in a contemplative, creation-centered spirituality, often inspired by my daily walk in the woods. In poems, parables, psalms, thoughts, and the odd weather report I hope to invite readers into a spirit of presence, compassion, justice, and delight. Though these writings are rooted in the Christian story you’ll hear in them melodies of many traditions. Unfolding Light is for anyone who wants to be a part of God’s healing of the world. You can receive Unfolding Li

Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash