Like spies

I meet you in the dark
with my secret information,
my furtive questions.
I bring my grainy picture.
You bring me out into light
and give me yours, so much better,
for you too have been observing
even more keenly
and loving even more deeply.

God I come over and over
to give you
my view of myself
and walk away with yours.

Memorial Day prayer

I pray today for those who have suffered and sacrificed
in service to their country.
I honor the sacrifice of soldiers and sailors who have died,
and for their loved ones, who still suffer.
I pray for those who are injured,
especially those poorly cared for.
I pray for those whose who are injured in heart or mind or soul.
I pray for those whose spirits died
when they were forced to witness or commit horrible things,
whose souls have been hollowed out,
or whose purpose has been shattered.
I pray for homeless veterans,
for addicts and suicides and vets haunted by PTSD,
for they too are casualties of our way of war.
I pray for those who are sexually abused and harassed,
whose suffering continues after their time of duty.
I pray for those who have served who are lonely,
who are sad, who are guilty or ashamed.
I pray for those who are proud but unappreciated.
I pray for healing for all those who bear the wounds
we choose others to suffer and to inflict.
And I pray for those of other nations, too.
God bless all who have suffered and sacrificed:
may they know healing, grace, and deep peace.



Thank God for this great work,
that the Mighty One within you
has come this far,
that together you have grown so,
that journeying through this landscape
you have changed it
and for the better.
You have left behind treasures still uncovered
and wounds already forgiven.
Even in your failures and missteps
you have scattered gifts and blessings.
You have dug a deep well and drawn
from within a mystery from beyond.
Your river has given life, polished stones,
sheltered beings unseen, carried travelers.
The seeds you’ve sown, the birth you’ve given,
the bridges you have built you will not know,
and those coming after will wonder.
But the One who smiles upon you,
walks beside you and breathes within you
looks up and says with confidence,
“Yes, now let’s go on.”


Mist rises through light poured into the meadow,
blessing breathed into the world.

Here, on the sidewalk, without
having to know, you inhale it.

Not the meadow you saw
gleaming this morning,

but one far off. This light has come far
to find you.

I am not worthy

         “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;
         therefore I did not presume to come to you.
         But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed.”

                  —Luke 7.6-7

The centurion says this not because he feels unworthy,
but he ignores his power, security and esteem,
renounces any fitness or deserving,
and instead relies wholly on Jesus’ grace.
He knows it is not worthiness that brings healing:
it is Jesus’ compassion.
It’s a gift.
To be “worthy” is to be compared
to something or someone more or less worthy.
God does not compare.
We simply are, and we are loved.
We are not “worthy” of God’s love. We don’t “deserve” it.
We are simply, purely, for no reason other than God’s love,
loved—way more than we are worth.
We are not worth anything,
but we belong, we are beautiful, we are cherished.
All of us. Just because. All of us.
It’s not our worth that attracts God;
it’s God’s love, God’s deep desire for us.
It’s a gift. Everything is a gift.

My Lord and Life-Giver, I am not worthy;
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Aldersgate prayer

         On May 24, 1738 John Wesley recorded in his journal: “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

God, I thank you for your love, alive in me without my knowing or feeling. Open my heart to trust your grace.

I pray for those whose hearts have not been warmed, who do not know they are so cherished, forgiven, gifted, blessed and loved. I pray for all who are afraid you don’t love them, for those who live under a “law of sin and death” enforced by abuse or violence in word or flesh, who have been labeled, violated, condemned, judged or rejected. I pray especially for those who have been hurt by the church and its hurtful teachings.

I pray that I may bear your love to all I meet today, that I may be the sign, the word that your grace may warm their heart. For all who may come “very unwillingly” to this life, may I be a gentle, welcome, saving word. Amen.

Only speak the word

         Only speak the word, and let my servant be healed.
                  —Luke 7.7

Holy One, only speak the word, and make me whole.
Though occasions may wound me, or people condemn,
let me hear your word of love and affirmation.
Your power is the power to heal.
For my sake, may I live in faithfulness to that grace.

Let your word alone rule and move my life.
Speak, and give me faith to listen.
Open the ears of my heart that I may hear.
Give me faith to trust. Give me courage to act.
For the sake of others, I offer myself, your faithful servant.

I pray for the faith to receive your blessings,
to be mindful of your presence
and to listen for your word,
and for the courage to trust your deep desire for me,
surrendering everything to your love,
to live in harmony with your grace,
for your sake.

A psalm for the brokenhearted

A psalm for the brokenhearted

Tender God, we turn to you
         with broken hearts, yet hopeful.
Your family is sundered,
         your Beloved at a loss.
Pain sits like a weight among us;
         disappointment like the edge of a knife.
We have drunk a cup of betrayal,
         we cannot wipe our lips.
Out of a gaping place down deep
         we cry to you.
We lift our prayers and praises
         with quavering voices.

As earth restores itself after a storm,
         as a wound heals by its own wisdom,
by your Spirit in us, revive us, God,
         and renew us in the way of life.
On those who have hurt,
         and those who have received hurt,
pour out your mercy,
         and open the eyes of our hearts.
Our ardent God, strong Mother
         who can see your children suffer
         and not break,
you have saved us;
         save again.
In our worry and our weakness
         you touch us gently;
         in our weariness you hold us up.
In our despair for a way forward
         you bring us through the narrows
         to a broad and gentle place.
Even now you bear us across,
         and in the heaving seas
we see you on the waters,
         and we are not afraid.

Your Spirit speaks in us,
         and we will listen,
         and we will speak.
Even in the night your love burns in us,
         your pillars of fire.
Gentle God, sustain in us your faithful light,
         your mighty mercy,
         your grace that upends all things,
that in your love that outlasts all trouble
          we, though cut down, shall not die,
but live anew,
         now and to the end of time.
Gracious God, Mystery of Grace,
         we give you thanks,
we ask your blessing,
         we trust your grace.

She speaks what she hears

         When the Spirit of truth comes,
                  she will guide you into all the truth;
         for she will not speak on her own,
                  but will speak whatever she hears,
                  and she will declare to you the things that are to come.

                           —John 16.13

Birds know north without looking.
Some fish have a line down their bodies
to sense electrical fields
or changes in water pressure.
Jumping spiders see ultraviolet.
Bees have a little compass of iron
and can read earth’s magnetic field.
And there’s a little silver thing in you
that listens to the Holy Spirit.
It’s really quiet, so you have to be quiet
to hear it listening, but it hears.
You don’t have to hear God;
just let the little silver thing in you
listen to the Spirit and 

Behold the fern

In spring behold the fern emerging
in its little fiddlehead,
green and brave and hoping,
its spreading forest
spiraled inside its
feathery fist,
a bishop’s crook
atop its green staff,
its slender, hairy arm
up toward light,
that’s all, just light,
and what it takes to reach like that,
the strength to come up
through the soil’s resistance,
through the weather’s threats,
the will to open that hand,
to give and receive, to greet,
the guts to raise its little coiled glory,
its bowed head, to put it out there
like that, now, so fragile, so fraught,
so much curled within still,
unseen until you wait
to see
unfolding on the forest floor
and in every soul you meet.

____________________ Weather Report

as our partially obscuring vision
gradually clears,
revealing people’s inner light
and the urgency of seeing.

          Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

__________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail, write to me at unfoldinglight(at)

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