Division

           Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?
           No, I tell you, but rather division!
                           —Luke 12.51

There is only one thing,
and we are all part of it.
One God, one Creation,
one Spirit, one Body.
We care for the poor,
include the outcast,
forgive those who hurt us
and love our enemies
because they are us.
All is one.
This is disturbing to those who are afraid,
who are self-enclosed,
who want to be better than—
that is, separate from—others.
They will oppose those who preach unity,
those who celebrate our oneness.
If you proclaim the gospel of uniting love
they will turn against you,
they will divide “us” from “them.”
This division is to be expected.
Don’t let it discourage you.
Forgive them, for we are still one.
You have touched the nerve.
In that touch, by grace, in time,
in the fullness of time,
healing will come.

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

The movement of the Spirit

What is the movement of the Spirit? asks the sage.
Is it when the bee loses itself in the nectar?

No, says another, it is when the bee
slips out, its legs covered with pollen
for the next flower.

Ah, says a third, or is it the bee
saying to the others, “Hey, friends!
Nectar is this way?”

Perhaps, says another, it is
the comb of honey that grows in the hive.

Or, I wonder, is it the humming you feel
inside yourself?

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

Homeland

           People who speak of faith make it clear
           that they are seeking a homeland.

                           — Hebrews 11.14

Beloved Dark Mystery,
among the places I have gone, the places I have stayed,
the places I long to see—
I am seeking a homeland.
A place of deep belonging, of rest and safety,
where my story is part of the story,
my life is part of the beauty.
Whether a native in my native land
or an immigrant still rooting or a ceaseless nomad,
I know my true home, my original soil, is you.
I am at home in you.
You are my womb, my earth, my people, my root.
You, Love that births all being,
you are my homeland,
and I am always coming from you
and traversing you and returning to you.
Here is my gratitude, my peace, and my belonging.
Thank you.
Amen.

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

Hope

           Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
           the conviction of things not seen.

                           —Hebrews 11.1

Hope is not optimism, not wishing,
not a bet on the future,
but trust in what is already present, unseen.
I hope in the sunrise because the earth is already turning.
My faith is not that God will intervene
and make things better or fix problems;
my faith is that love is at work.
I trust in hidden love even as injustice runs loose.
I believe in our Oneness even as war and racism wound us.
I know our Belovedness even as we assault each other.
Even though we damage the earth,
though the violent rage and the rich oppress the poor,
still this world is born of Goodness,
and grace flourishes even in bad places,
and Love holds us in aching but untiring arms.
Even when the way is not well lit, I live in hope.

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

Nothing held back

You read a story once about a miserly king
high in his tower, counting his gold,
grudgingly generous only to his most noble courtiers—
someone said it was about God.
But they made that up. It’s not true.

Here’s what I’ve seen:
the Grandmother of the Realm,
so happy for her little ones,
she spoils them rotten.
The mother who will die to shield her children.
The father who moves into the single-wide out back
so you can have the house.
The Lover of Heaven
who is so smitten by you
he gives everything to you, everything,
spends it all for one evening with you,
so in love he gives his own self away
every morning and every night.
There is nothing left over, nothing held back. Nothing.
Whenever the Beloved finds a new treasure—
a sunset or forgiveness or the blossoming of the pear,
or the best seat at the table—
they can’t wait to put a bow on it and offer it to you.

           Do not be afraid, little flock,
           for it is your Mother-Father’s good pleasure
           to give you the Realm.
                           —Luke 12.32

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

Consider the ravens

           They neither sow nor reap,
           they have neither storehouse nor barn,
           and yet God feeds them.
                           —Luke 12.24

A congregation of crabs
dances gracefully en pointe,
moving their tiny chopsticks up and down
among the shreds and tatters.
They are feeding. They are satisfied.
Barnacles waving their wee fans
fetch sustenance out of the seawater.
Is this not a miracle?
The woodpecker typing away on a dead tree
finds food, food enough,
and the birds who swoop for bugs,
and the bugs who eat their tiny morsels.
We come up the aisle with outstretched hands:
a crumb of bread, a sip of wine.
We are given what we need.

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

Hell

The flames of perdition are not in hell.
God does not punish.
Punishing serves no purpose.
Punishment is about the past,
but God is in the present.
However, God does not protect us
from the consequences of our choices.
God asks us to see, confess, and repent.
Maybe these heat waves
aren’t “waves” that come and go,
but the state of our collective denial
of our part in climate change.
Maybe the real forest fires are inside us.
For once—for real—
we can stop complaining about the weather
and actually do something about it.
God forgives and waits for us to repent;
until then we swelter.

________________
Weather Report

Hellish
as the friction between our ego and reality
generates heat.
The vortex between our selfishness
and the rest of the world
will create storm conditions;
expect widespread destruction.

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

No score

What if we are playing with God
and there is no score,
no winning or losing,
only playing with God?
Oh, the play is serious:
justice and healing and the mending of the world.
But what if God doesn’t want us to perform well,
but only to play?
What if it’s not about being good enough
but being with God?
Forget the score and play.

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

Erased

           God forgave us all our trespasses,
           erasing the record that stood against us
           with its legal demands.
           God set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
                           —Colossians 2.13-14

The good news is that everything is forgiven—
everything.
All you thought was demanded of you
is actually an illusion.
There is no account,
no thought of how “good” you are.
Only love.

Does the sun judge the tree,
or punish it for growing poorly?
No, it only shines.

How hard it is to trust
that God is pure light, pure delight.
How we want to hang onto judgment—
but it is crucifixion.
From Cain onward that has been our sin:
to judge and to expect judgment.

Salvation is not “qualifying” for something.
It’s trusting you don’t have to.

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

Rooted

           As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Beloved,
           continue to live your lives in them,
           rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith,
           just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
                           —Colossians 2.6-7


You are not a potted plant,
dependent on your little cup of dirt for faith.
You are planted in Christ, the roots of your soul
tangled with the roots of a thousand saints,
like the million hands of a whole tribe’s memory
grasping deep earth, roots like a lover’s arms
reaching down into that love,
drinking water from underground springs
gushing up, roots wound like lovers’ legs
in fungal webs of trade and alchemy, each
providing what the other lacks, holding hands
beneath all that can be seen,
deep in the the earth of Christ.
You pray and praise with branches of the Spirit s hands,
passing news from bird to bird,
and life from sun to little mouths that sing.

Rooted in Christ you are not a tree.
You are a forest,
abounding.

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