A postcard from God

My dearly Beloved,

You may seem in the minority,
but you are vast;
while so few hold all the power.
Don’t let that fool you.
Love is the only real power.
It rises through the earth,
overflows you, and warms the world.
It takes courage to hold the flame,
but that I have also given you.
In the darkness it is me
you hold in your hands, radiant;
and I am also the darkness.
Do not be afraid.
Love in the darkness will prevail.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


           He stood up to read.
           He found the place where it was written:
           “The Spirit of God is upon me…
           to let the oppressed go free,
           and to proclaim the year of God’s favor.”
           And he rolled up the scroll,
           gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
                           —Luke 4.16-19

Watch how Jesus does scripture:
the passage in Isaiah actually says,
“to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
But Jesus stops with favor,
leaves out vengeance, and sits down.
Call it cherry-picking.
Scripture is replete with images
of God as vengeful and God as forgiving.
But vengeance is not forgiveness.
God isn’t sort of this and sometimes that.
You have to choose. You don’t get both.
Jesus chooses.
(He quotes Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.”)
No matter what your sacred books say
you have to choose:
the way of vengeance, power and domination,
or the way of courage, love and nonviolence.
Though he has reason not to,
Jesus chooses the side of love.
And when he asks you, and you falter, don’t worry.
He’ll still choose the way of love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Oh, body

Oh body, how I love and resent you,
want you well and want to flee you,
see you a thing, as if from outside.
How you have fooled me
thinking I am wee and all alone,
a stone among stones,
most at home with stones like me.

How hard it is to know,
yet, breathing, I do know
I am a cell among cells
of one great Being.
How we, so many kinds, require
and bless each other!
How all stuff, even most mine, is only ours.
Oh, One!, how I, with all,
am made and given in you,
one breath, one spark, one Living.

Oh Body, this Being,
how I love you beyond me.

           Now you are the body of Christ
           and individually members of it.

                           —1 Corinthians 12.27

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


           The Spirit of the Infinite One is upon me,
           because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
           The Beloved has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
           and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
           to proclaim the year of God’s favor.

                           —Luke 4.18-19

When you strive for justice,
when you stand with the poor,
when you speak out for the care of the earth,
and forces descend against you,
remember: they are fueled by ignorance,
by fear and self-serving. These are small engines.
The spirit that empowers the work of justice
is as given as your breathing,
and as deep as all of our breathing together.
It is the breath of the whole earth.
It is of the very fabric of the universe,
and is gentle, strong and infinite.

Weather Report

expect gusts of divine energy,
with periods of deep calm.
Watch for large structures
to come apart.
Hopes high through the day.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


God, give me courage
to stand with Martin,
not to pay his cost, but mine;
to walk in Martin’s shadow,
full of light,
to trust I need not be heroic,
but with faith unveil
the light within me,
and trust the night is made beautiful
by the tiniest of stars
splendored through the darkness.
This is not a day that needs another sun,
but a night that needs
all its stars.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

The wine

You could argue
about where
it came from,
he might have pulled it off,
it really happened
or is John’s artful opening
to a series of signs,
it’s a real miracle
or a metaphor for something
in your own life
and if so
of what, or
what it means
to believe,
and argue about whether
all or many or only one
of these is correct,
and in fact you could be correct, or.
you could

taste the wine.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Why I picked those carrots

in late December,
mostly smaller than my pinkie because
I planted them too late,
but I dug them up anyway
with fingers cold and snow starting:
Because you shouldn’t walk away from what you started.
Because even late, this moment is a moment.
Because some were enough, and that is enough.
Because sometimes my fingers are hungry for dirt.
Because they called out to me… or murmured, anyway.
Because those who feel small and inadequate
have gifts to give.
Because I don’t want the small carrots of my life
to not have been tasted.
Because some day I will die, and I don’t want to die
without having dug up carrots with my bare hands
with the snow swirling around me and life
coming up out of the ground.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Water to wine

           Now standing there were six stone water jars
           for the Jewish rites of purification,
           each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

                           —John 2.6

you change the water of my life
into the wine of your touch,
if only I taste.
What was plain becomes mystery.
The cup of want
becomes jugs of abundance,
a lifetime.
The jars of obligation,
the pots of my attempts,
my hope of being acceptable,
my rite of shame and inadequacy,
you fill with delight instead.

Beloved, I see now—
this wedding must be mine.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Spiritual gifts

           To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
           for the common good.

                           —1 Corinthians 12.7

What gifts you have—your humor, your patience,
your love of beauty, your trust—
are not for you.
They are for the common good.

Jesus did not turn water into wine for himself.

Your spiritual gifts are whatever ways
the Spirit moves in you—
maybe a talent or ability,
maybe just the way you come at the world.
Your gifts include what you think of as weakness:
your ready tears, your slow pace, your silence;
the world needs those, too.

The community needs your gifts,
needs all of who you are.
Not the pretend parts,
the things you do to fit in
or to keep people from reacting.
But the real you, Spirit alive in you
in all her peculiar ways.

It’s not arrogant to share that with the world.
It’s evangelism.
Trust the God that lives in you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

One body

           Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
           and there are varieties of services, but the same Conductor;
           and there are varieties of activities,
           but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

                           —1 Corinthians 12.4-6

We think we are separate individuals
but we are one organism,
separate fingers of the same hand,
like aspen trees in a grove,
one tree with many trunks.

But we are not the same.
We are all different instruments
in the one divine orchestra.

Seek the wisdom to delight in both
our differences and our unity.
Seek the grace to both listen and sing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light