Go change

           Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
           and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. 
                                         —Baruch 5.1

When John the Baptist cries to “prepare the way”
we hear the call to change the world.
When we are told to repent
we hear the call to change our ways.
But when the prophet Baruch tells us to change—
he means to change… our clothes?

Well, yes.
Be done with the costume
of those who are not good enough.
Dump the uniform of victims and prisoners.
Refuse to see yourself
in the demeaning way the world sees you.
You are God‘s beloved.
“Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.“

When you treat yourself like this,
when you present yourself to the world like this,
you change not only what you see in the mirror,
but maybe what the world does, too

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

Rough places

           Prepare the way of the Holy One,
                      make straight paths for God.
           Every valley shall be filled,
                      and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
           and the crooked shall be made straight,
                      and the rough ways made smooth.

                                      —Luke 3.4-5

The driveway into my heart is an obstacle course.
My trust of God goes up and down like a mountain range.
The words I say twist and turn around
what ought to be clear and true.
My thoughts are rough, rumpled and pitted and marred.
Roots of the trees of all my desires
have heaved up the sidewalk.

The wilderness where you, O Mystery, prepare a way
is my own troubled mind.
Simplify my trust. Undistort my eyes.
Still me.
Smooth my heart, Love, till you can roller skate there
with your eyes closed.

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

Surprise

           Be on guard
           so that your hearts are not weighed down
           with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life,
           and that day catch you unexpectedly.

                           —Luke 21.34

           The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
           “Prepare the way of the Holy One.”

                      — Luke 3.4

I was away for two weeks.
I offered a lecture, gave a poetry reading, led a retreat,
and spent a week with family. “The worries of this life.”
And then suddenly it was Advent. What? Advent? 
How did that happen?

John Wesley spoke of God’s grace as “prevenient,” that is,
coming beforehand. Grace always sneaks up on us.
As much as John in the wilderness tells us to prepare a way,
we are always unprepared.
Even when we see it coming grace surprises us.
Even when it’s on the calendar God‘s presence is unexpected.
God sneaks into our lives right before our eyes.

So, yes: now and then , at least, shed the worries of this life.
Prepare. Repent. Anticipate.
And at the same time keep your heart open to the sneaky ways
Love has already taken you by surprise
without your even knowing it.

_______________
Weather Report

Astonishing,
as the low pressure area of What Is
is replaced by the steady winds of
What Is Becoming.
Heed all weather advisories,
though they will tell you nothing.

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

Kingdom

           “My kingdom is not from this world.”
                           —John 18.36

No, I am not the mayor of your little village.
I am not the king of some little nation.

I am love,
in whose service beauty blossoms,

for whose delight the seasons turn,
for whose glory the galaxies dance.

I am the sovereign of your soul, and the whole
human family from beginning to end.

I am the Rule of your heart—though it defy me—
and every human longing.

I am the will to wholeness
that revolts against your greed.

The ache you feel is that you face elsewhere
as your own gravity bows to me.

You will not be One until the rest of you
falls like grains of sand to join the heart, torn,

that already kneels.

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

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Postcard from God

Beloved,
Some folks are discouraged about the world
but I see you. Your little flame of love,
the light in your heart that has not gone out,
even your desire for hope is a spark
that gives me hope. Even if night
were to consume the world in its fire and ash,
seeing you would still give me delight,
even to the end. Stay there for me, will you?
Thanks.

Love,
God

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

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Birthpangs

          Not one stone will be left upon another;
          all will be thrown down
.
          Many will say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.
          You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,
          and nation will rise against nation…
          This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.

                                   —from Mark 13.1-8

When dread for the world comes over me,
when Jesus’ end-times nightmares
sound more familiar than strange,
I recall he says these things
facing his crucifixion,
recorded by his followers
reeling at the destruction of the temple.
He is not foretelling the future:
he’s saying what he sees. It’s what I see.
Things will get worse. Worlds may end.
But this is not the final act:
this agony is our birth canal,
as we are torn from what we have known,
not to an end, but to a new beginning.
The world becomes something more.
Bereft of all but our umbilical love and courage
we trust not in some surprise that comes later
but in a mystery that is greater than we can see,
a deep life that enfolds us and unfolds with us.
Love is the womb and love the breast,
and love is the everlasting arms.
Our becoming will come with great loss
but it is not unbecoming of us who are,
after all, creatures of light.

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

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Veterans Day

God bless the Veterans who served in the military
     in wars and other dangerous settings,
     who placed their bodies on the line for the sake of life.
God bless the veterans of the peace movement
     who served in protests and other dangerous settings,
     who put their bodies on the line for the sake of life.
God bless the veterans of the Civil Rights movement,
     who served in protests and other dangerous settings,
     who put their bodies on the line for the sake of life.
God bless the health care workers
     who serve in Covid wards and other dangerous settings,
     who put their bodies on the line for the sake of life.
God bless us, and give us courage to serve
     to heal the earth, to bring peace, to fight racism,
     to put our bodies on the line for the sake of life.

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

Published
Categorized as Reflections

What if you lost the book

What if you lost the book
about who you are?
What if you lost the script
that tells you what to say
to play your part in other people’s drama?
What if you lost the map of the complicated route
to some Place you’re supposed to be
that you’re not?
What if you lost the radio signal
telling you and telling you and telling you?
What if in the silence
you looked up from the blank page
and discovered this place, green and thriving,
spreading out from you into the world?
What if the best you could do—the very best thing—
is to feel your way along,
to keep your eyes on the road,
to keen your ears to the voice within
that already knows who you are?
Without the book—
finally, a true story.

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

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Autumn contemplation

I am one of these leaves,
falling.

I am one of these trees, letting go
of what once gave life, but now doesn’t.

I am one of these migrating birds,
led great distances to the unseen.

I am one of these wildflowers,
scattering seeds before I die.

I am the little stream
that receives and gives.

I stand in this meadow
dying, becoming new.

__________________
Weather Report

Unceasing,
as momentary patterns
shift, repeat and vary.
Expect the cycle to continue,
with singing in the upper latitudes,
long beyond your dying.
Cooler tonight.

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

God prays

My child,
Thank you for being you.
I created you for someone to be in love with—
and here you are.
I know sometimes you feel brilliant
and sometimes a total failure,
but you are lovely, and sacred,
and the light of my delight burns in you
no matter what.
Beloved, I pray earnestly that you will be
the beautiful soulI created you to be.
You are my face in your world;
you are my hands, and I love working in them;
you are my eyes, and I love looking through them.
I am with you every breath;
I pray you will let my spirit in,
let me fill you and guide you;
let me be in you.
I pray you will trust what you can’t see
and rarely feel: my infinite love for you.
Oh, Beloved, I am so silly in love with you.
I pray in hope and joy and confidence,
in the name and the spirit of Jesus,
who for you and for me is our image of the other.
Amen.

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