Peace I give to you

         Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
                  I do not give to you as the world gives.
         Do not let your hearts be troubled,
                  and do not let them be afraid.

                           —John 14.27

I give you the quiet peace of this present moment:
without hurry, fear or need to be elsewhere,
but right here, right now, as you are, at rest.

I give you the strong peace of yourself:
the peace of forgiveness and my delight in who you are,
with no need to prove yourself or do better.

I give you the vibrant peace of oneness with all living things,
the peace of deep belonging,
and reconciliation with all people.

I give you the life-giving peace of my own spirit,
my love, trust and courage beating in your heart,
my presence in your soul.

I give you the joyous peace of trust—
trust in your life and its goodness,
trust in the Beloved and your belovedness.

I give you the renewing peace of healing,
of blessing hidden even in struggle and pain,
of trust that even in suffering all shall be well.

I give not as the world gives, from the outside,
but from within, by your being created,
and it cannot be taken away.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)

Your own particular fire

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Something immense within,
a seed bursting its case,
a mother with child,

the only passenger
in the little boat
of your life,

a whole world’s worth
of divine love
pent up in you,

vast, given, swelling
with heat and beauty,
your own particular fire—

let it out
or it will sear you!
Let it out!


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)


Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                    

In both biblical languages there is one word for “breath, “wind,” and “spirit:” ruach in Hebrew and pneuma in Greek. Our English retains a remnant of the connection between breath and spirit, in respiration and inspiration. And to expire, to lose the Spirit, is to die.

In the beginning God’s spirit-breath-wind broods (like a mother hen) over the waters… and brings forth Creation. God fashions us from the earth and breathes God’s own spirit-life-breath into us and we become a living being. After Jesus’ resurrection he breathes his spirit-breath-life into his followers so that they become his body, one body. At Pentecost, they hear the sound of a mighty wind-breath-spirit and catch fire with love. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5.5). Our love is God breathing in us.

Holy Spirit is God within us and among us. Holy Spirit is God’s love in us, God’s breath in us, one breath in all of us, one Spirit in many (seemingly) bodies. When we love God or love neighbor we are not reaching out to a separate other, but re-connecting with ourselves, with God. We share respiration and inspiration. We conspire: we “breathe with” God. All of life is a conspiracy, breathing with God and with each other; sharing one breath, sharing one Spirit, one life.

Breathe deeply of God, and conspire with God to breathe life into this world in love.                    

Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Spirit prayer

Holy Spirit, fire of God, enflame me.
        Breath of life, take wing in me.
                Divine love, reach through me.

I am the vessel of your wine,
        the flesh of your soul,
                the candle of your flame.

Breathing out, I release myself;
        breathing in, I receive you.
                Filling me, you enliven my cells.

From within, you are my life.
        In every other, there you are as well.
                In you, I meet myself in them.

Fill me with your living,
        send me in your loving,
                your loving that does not die.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Pentecost — May 1, 2013       


Walking in your woods, God, I know I am your creature: not a figment of my own design, but a work of your hands, made of bone and spirit, love and tissue, Word and flesh wed masterfully in me. I am made of earth, of star-forged, earth-stirred atoms that have flowed in streams and coursed through seas and lain in hills for millions of years, that have found their way in living beings for generation and have joined for this brief moment in me. Your galaxies whirl silently in me; all living beings pass through my veins. I am a work of beauty whose source and end is wonder, whose purpose, beyond all goals, beyond all success or failure, is simply to be, reflecting your glory. My being is your praise. You place me in this world, weave me with all Creation, and intend my deep belonging. I live in awe of your beauty in me, in reverence for my being, and for all living things. I give thanks that in woods or offices, sitting by a pond or standing in an elevator, among silent trees or in a clattering city, I am your creature, made by your love, made for your joy. Creator: I your creature praise you, and thank you for this wonder of life. I trust your hand. I give myself to you. Amen.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)

Mother’s Day

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
Aside from the sappy cards, the funny cards,
the cheap and the heartfelt cards,
God, this is your day, Mother’s Day,
day for givers of life through womb or arms,
by breast or heart, with eyes or lap,
a day for weavers of families, providers of food,
and for those who could not but did anyway.
Without our knowing you are one of us:
you know what it is to offer
the strength of a heart ready for breaking,
for your flesh to not be your own,
to give and to watch unnoticed,
in pangs no less rending than birth;
what it is to weep, smiling, for your beloved
though they do not hear you
as you send them into the world.
You know the improbable confounding shadow,
the dark nut of loneliness in the loaf of joy
even in the work of love among the beloved.
You know what it is to guard your wisdom
for when your growing ones ask,
long before they will ask,
to let them yearn at times without comfort,
to hold your wounded little ones
and offer no magic but the holding.
You know what it is to have failed
to raise perfect children
and to think of them as perfect,
to have hoped for so much more
and to love them perfectly.
You know the long letting go
and the unbreakable bond
as we walk out on the sweet, umbilical earth.
Today you are one of us,
your arms around your brood, smiling,
even as we remember our moms,
forgetting you.


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)

Ascension Day

After his suffering he appeared to them during forty days. As they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “People of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward the sky?”
         —from Acts 1.1-11

We who loved him gawk,
amazed, at first more taken
by his going than his being gone.
But then arises in his place

an awkward, fearful silence
no one wants to break,
assurance, sealed in stark bewilderment,
that what we know is wrong,

that what we love is gone,
that how we might love well we do not know,
that love enough
we cannot summon.

The One we loved has shifted
once again, has hidden once again
somewhere— in someone? how?—
has disappeared into the very air,

or nearer still, where there is no flame yet,
but only hollow wind. How hard it is
when the Beloved slips into
a mystery we might not love.

This would be our defeat, a simple loss,
standing here, looking into air,
had not these strangers come among us,
(heaven always closer than we think),

shaking us from the sky, confusing us,
making us wonder, questioning within,
if we could trust this vanishing,
if he had really gone at all.

                               —May 9, 2013


Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
God, I am rushing, just brushing by, passing
my life on the street without greeting,
breathless and ceaseless,
skimming my life without taking it in,
distracted and fractured and shallow.

Be the lead in my life,
the molasses, the waist-deep snow.
Be the awkward weight, the icy walk,
the dark room with rearranged furniture
that forces me to go slow and pay attention.
Give me a weak heart, a breathing condition
that makes me pause now and then
and begin again, slowly.
Be my fine print, a foreign language
so I lean forward, listening to each word.
Be the unseen voice for which I look around,
the smell of baking bread
that makes me back up to an open door.
Be my stillness, my Sabbath, my stopping,
the Enough that it is to be here.
Even as I go, give me courage to give up,
to accomplish nothing,
to get deeply, truly nowhere at all
but here.



Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)


Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

        “I ask that they may all be one.  
        As you, Mother, are in me
         and I am in you,
         may they also be in us.”

                  — John 17. 20, 21

You who are Holy, You who are One,
by your grace we are one:
not unanimous or alike, but one.
One living body, with one spirit,
part of one another,
present in each other,
as you are present in us.
We and all strangers,
our most bitter enemies, are one.
The cry of the most far-flung peoples
rises in our hearts;
the hope of our salvation
rests in theirs.
Our pain, our freedom, our beauty
is all one thing.
O One, may the light of your love
dispel the illusion of our manyness,
the great sadness of our separation.
With the glory of our varied lives,
in your love,
O One,
we are one.


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)

Give me peace

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
A few people (multiplied by anxiety-addicted news media) are protesting the burial of the marathon bomber’s body here. It’s silly. He’s dead. He can do or be done no more dishonor. The tragedy is that we hang onto our anger and fear.

         “My peace I give you you.
         Do not let your hearts be troubled;
         do not let them be afraid.”
— John 14.27

Terrible things have happened.
         God, grant me acceptance.

People have been hurtful.
         Give me forgiveness.

I am not done being hurt by what has happened.
         Help me let go.

I also have done terrible things.
         Forgive me.

I am afraid of my own guilt.
         Heal me of my shame.

I want so desperately to be “good” that I need others to be “bad.”         
         Release me from judging.

I am angry because I feel powerless.
         Give me peace.

I am afraid of my vulnerability.
         Give me peace.

I am addicted to my fear and anger.
         Give me peace.

In fear, I desire more violence, that others bear my pain.
         Give me peace.

My anxiety, like a gun, makes me feel safe and powerful.
         Give me peace.

This world is in need of healing.
         Give me your peace, that I may be healing,
         for this alone is your desire.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)

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