Creator of the Universe,
Loving Mystery, Womb of Silence,

you have brought me out of the narrows
into a broad and spacious place.

I will not return to confinement,
but remain here in your generous freedom.

I guard the silence at the center;
I hold the moment empty and open.

I breathe in,
and make sanctuary in my body for you.

I make room in my thoughts
for you to enter and be at peace.

I offer openings in my day,
where you may rest.

I create space in my living
for you alone.

I enter the holy of holies
where you make of this moment

the void of Creation,
the gift of Sabbath.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Feed on Jesus

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
         Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;
         and the bread that I will give
         for the life of the world is my flesh…
         Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood
         abide in me, and I in them.

                  —John 6. 51, 56

Don’t just have an opinion about him.
Eat him up, all he is.

Feast on compassion.
Let tender courage nourish you.
Let his passionate presence,
God made real on the sidewalk,
satisfy your deepest hunger.
Taste sweet forgiveness, ripe delight.
Chew on his challenge to your mind,
your habits, your chewy, chewy fears.
Get a mouthful of his tangy mindfulness,
his fierce resolve to wrestle with raw life;
let it strengthen you,
and build the muscles of your soul.
Drink deep of his love poured out for you,
tears wept for you, blood flowing.
Consume his very flesh, his piercing eyes,
his warm hands on your head,
his embrace when you tremble.
Take in his body, this whole body
of heaven’s lovers, all of us, to the dregs.
Take him into yourself, digest him wholly,
let him become part of you,
muscle and sinew and cell.
Swallow the whole experience
of being so healed, so loved, so saved.

Don’t just believe in him.
Be filled with him.
Get drunk on him.
Be satisfied.

You are what you eat.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

A postcard from God

Having a great time. Seeing stuff.
All good—grace in everything, even the bad stuff.
All beautiful. The little shops, sunlight on the bricks,
people under the bridges. Jesus, I love them.
Pay attention.

Love, God


Weather Report

A perfect day today,
as some kind of gift saturates
even the difficult, banal and tragic.
Drought or monsoon possible;
chance of compassionate presence


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Come to me

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         No one can come to me
         unless drawn by the Mother who sent me;
         and I will raise that person up on the last day.
         It is written in the prophets,
         “And they shall all be taught by God.’
         Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father
         comes to me.

                  —John 6. 44-45

What draws you?
What is so deeply compellingly true you can’t resist it?
Follow it.
What gives you life,
refreshes your soul,
draws you into a delight beyond yourself?
Fall for it.
What asks your soul of you?
Answer it.

Don’t expect some white-robed prophet,
and watch out for those tricky feelings.
Never mind the theologians
who’ve decided what you should believe.
Where does it hurt?
How does it heal?
Speak of that.

Forget religion.
Let the birds of your beliefs
settle in the tree that is there.
Who forgives you so hugely
you feel newborn?
If you die for love,
what raises you up again?
Was there a gift there?
Did someone give it?

That’s the One.

We are drawn to God
by whoever bears the fragrance of grace,
whoever speaks our name of Beloved.

Toss the autograph you got as a kid.
Don’t be scared by the people walking around
referring to a picture on a “wanted” poster.
Love is a shape-shifter.

Who is drawing you?
Each moment, each breath:
who is drawing you?

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

A prayer

         after Ephesians 4.24 – 5.2

Holy One, Beloved,
by your grace in me,
I shuck off the little desires I wear,
to clothe myself in your deep desires for me.
I release the self I have tried to create
so that you may create me in your image.
May I shed all falsehood
and speak truth to my neighbors.
May all my words be building blocks, not weapons,
gifts of grace for those who long to hear.
May even my anger be loving truth, not bitterness.
May my delight be not in getting, but in sharing.
With you living in me may I be kind,
tenderhearted and forgiving,
as you have forgiven me.
Life-Giver, Heavenly Lover, Flame of my Heart,
I am your beloved child.
May I be your perfect imitation.
May I live in love, as fully as you love me.
I offer myself, as Christ,
a fragrant gift to you.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

They make it look easy

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Olympic athletes do impossible things with mind-boggling grace. One of the American gymnasts said to another before her routine, “Do normal.” What for most of us is unimaginably exceptional is for them just normal. Olympic athletes win medals without even doing their personal best; they look relaxed setting world records; they look smooth even on sticks instead of feet…. We hear it a lot: they make it look easy. Except for the weightlifters. They do not make it look easy.

Of course none of it is easy. They train; they discipline themselves; they decide that the pain is worth the gain. As they improve they’re awkward and incapable and they fail a lot. We just don’t see that part. We see the finished performance, not the effort it takes to get there.

We all make things look easy that are not easy for everybody: speaking in public, or being self-confident, being happy, believing in God, trusting others, walking into a church. Sometimes it’s even basic skills like walking, saying a sentence, following a conversation, not being afraid of everybody, not being violent. Some people make surviving abuse or enduring poverty or experiencing hate or discrimination look easy. But it’s not always easy. We notice the performance but we don’t always see the practice, the pain, the sacrifices, the effort, the failures, the doubts, the difficulty.

Be gentle with everyone you meet. You have no idea what struggles they endure to do what may seem easy. You have no clue what discipline, what pain they may have to accept to survive, to appear “normal.”

You can’t know everyone’s struggle, but you can honor it. You can’t see everyone’s pain but you can be gentle. You can think highly of everyone even if they’ve learned to make how they live look easy. You can be forgiving; you can be encouraging and not judging; you can give people room to fail and improve; you can free people from your own expectations and projections. You can be so loving, in fact, that though it’s apparently hard for others for you it’s just normal. It won’t be easy, but with discipline you can do it. Be so loving that you make it look easy.

Deep Blessings,

Pastor Steve


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
There’s life on Mars! Well, not exactly. On Monday NASA just successfully landed another rover on Mars. Its name is Curiosity. It worked through a grueling, complicated landing procedure worthy of the most insane Olympic gymnast, and it’s already begun poking around. There isn’t exactly life on Mars, but there is curiosity, and that’s definitely the stuff of life.

Curiosity is not only the heart of science; it’s also the heart of spirituality: to deepen and expand our awareness, to see the world and ourselves clearly and to say Yes to what is. We are curious about God, to know God more deeply; we are curious about the world, how it is and how we belong in it; we are curious about ourselves and how we work and who we are and what God creates us to be.

If we are truly curious we are open to whatever we may find. We work continually to identify and overcome our political, religious, psychological and emotional prejudices in order to see more clearly. We accept that we will have to change our assumptions and beliefs. We look at God, and don’t turn away just because it’s too mysterious to comprehend. Sometimes we come to see God in a new way. We look at our sin and don’t turn off the lights when we see stuff we’re ashamed of. We look at the world, and don’t back away from the beauty or the evil or the suffering or the wonder. We explore our human life together, and we don’t close our eyes to reality. We are curious about each moment, curious to see what is, not just what we expect or want.

For those who live in fear, “belief” can mean defiantly clinging to a cherished notion regardless of the evidence. But my belief is that God is in everything, and that everything is evidence of grace. I seek to be open to what is—whatever I find— trusting that God is creating a wonderful world, trusting that God will be there and that truth will be full of grace. I seek to live in the full depth of curiosity, which is unceasing wonder and love.

Meanwhile, there is life on Mars—a little of my life, a bit of our human character. Go, Curiosity!
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Prayer on August 6

         August 6, 1945: the bombing of Hiroshima

God of Mercy, forgive us.
For our willingness for others to suffer for our sake,
for our abuse of power,
for our denial of our own capacity for evil,
forgive us.

Lord, have mercy.

For all those whom we have hurt, willingly or unknowingly,
for all those who suffer because of us,
for those whom we have treated as enemies,
we pray for your healing.

Christ, have mercy.

For humility, self-awareness and gratitude,
for wisdom, courage and compassion,
and that we may be people of mercy and justice,
we open our hearts.

Lord, have mercy.

For the sake of the mending of the world,
that we may love lour enemies
and do good to those whom we judge,
and that we may become your gentle, strong people,
we pray in the power of your Spirit.

Grant us your peace.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

A Psalm prayer after Ps. 51

O Beloved, have mercy on me.

Do away with the person I play.
Gently strip me of the lies I wear;
wash off all the makeup.

Heal me of my fear.
Restore me to my truest self,
the one you love.

Re-create me from the inside out.
Make me the flesh of your presence.

When I open my mouth
only your praise will sing out.

Your desire is not for my piety
but for me, for my heart
broken open for you.

O Beloved, have mercy on me.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Bread of life

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
Why nibble on the Bread of Life
when you can chow down?

Why only smell it, faintly,
when you can feast upon it,
every moment, every breath?

The Baker of the Universe
has made for you a special batch
of your favorite—
and it’s him!

All of his teaching, his healing, his love;
his passionate arms around you;
his insistent draw into the deep,
to the other side, into this crazy
trust and delight and brokenheartedness,
his terrifying stagger toward the cross,
his complete collapse into resurrection—
this is no time for moderation,
for politely picking at the crust.
Take the whole thing. Both hands.

Here, eat it slowly.
Close your eyes.
Let it fill you.

What use are right beliefs
about bread?
This is the work of God,
that you savor the Bread
God has given you.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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