Jesus said to them, “Follow me,
         and I will make you fish for people.”
         Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

                           —Matthew 4.19-20

Strange, how familiar the voice is.
The voice that recognizes you,
the voice that is your very voice,
that speaks your hope,
comes not from afar but from within,
asking you to let go of what is familiar
to find what is even more strangely at the center,
to quit your accustomed hiding places,
to leave the fringe for the root,
and come away from all that is away,
closer to here, closer to God.
The voice calls you,
the irresistible presence calls you, “Follow me,”
into the world yet always,
no matter how far you go,
on this foreign road, this difficult pilgrimage
toward your truest self,
always accompanied,
coming home.  



The Emperor takes the throne
         but you are my King.
A mob shouts “We have no king but Caesar!”
         but your God is the ruler of my heart.

The emperor’s nightmares, meant to frighten me
         do not frighten me.
Your dream, O King,
         is not a dream to me but real
         as life.

He enriches his empire;
         you give us each other.

He assumes his power,
         vain assumption; you lay yours down
         and an empire unfolds.

He asks my loyalty to him;
         I shall not give nor lend.
You ask none but to your God.
         I give my self.

The emperor asserts his greatness for his term,
                   but the children of light are not swayed.
Our gentleness has risen, like yours, beloved King,
         from what will not be seen
         until the morning of the third day after.

The emperor cannot know
         what our King has already seen.


My reward is with God

         Surely my cause is with the Holy One,
                  and my reward with my God.

                           —Isaiah 49.4

A bird I have not seen appears at our feeder.
Before I fetch the little book I know
it has a name and habits
and my unknowing does not touch it.
Its name is Thou. Its name is My Precious.
Its habit is magnifying the glory of God.

The world only knows the name it gives you.
The Panel of Judges that sits in your head
does not know your name, Beloved,
cannot see beyond certain accomplishments
and people you have influenced,
can’t see what only God sees,
how well you receive God’s love
and let it overflow from your tiny hands.

There are birds in your soul no one has named.
But an Unseen One knows such delight
watching them feed on grace.


Not lacking

         I give thanks to my God always for you
         because of the grace of God
         that has been given you in Christ Jesus,
         for in every way you have been enriched in Christ…
         so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.

                           —1 Corinthians 1.4-7

Whatever my call, however unusual or ordinary,
God, you have given me the spiritual gifts I need.
Your Spirit is at work in me,
not of my own effort, but as your gift.
I do not have to have all gifts.
But what I need I have,
because you are in me.
Give me grace to receive your blessings,
to open the eyes of my heart to them
that I may know them and trust them,
and to give of them freely.

God I give thanks for the gifts of your Spirit in me,
and name them now with humble gratitude.
. . .

Remind me today when I tire or doubt:
I am not lacking,
not lacking.
I offer myself to you
as a vessel of your gifts,
that this day I may delight in your peace
and serve you with joy.


Lamb of God

          Behold the lamb of God
                  who takes away the sin of the world.

                           —John 1.29

Behold the presence of God
         made vulnerable among us.

Our sin is not that we are evil
         but that we can’t claim our belovedness.

From our sin, this fear and distrust,
         comes all evil.

Jesus relieves us of this fear
         and restores our trust,         

bears our fear in vulnerability,
         even to the cross,

so we will know we are beloved,
         at one—atoned—with God.

To follow him is to bear away the world’s fear
         and restore their trust in their belovedness.

Jesus, thank you
         for taking away my fear.

Help me to stop trying
         to take it back.


Your light

         I said, “I have labored in vain,
                  I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity….”
         Yet the Holy One says,
         “I will give you as a light to the nations.”

                           —Isaiah 49.4, 6

God, I am nothing.
         I am your Beloved, your delight.

I am empty, and there is nothing in me
         but your light.

Your light does not fail;
         it simply shines.

I am not commanded;
         I am given.

I have no power,
         and it is great.

In all your children,
         your light.


Other world

At the edge of a parking lot,
not a lovely meadow,
under phone lines and light poles,
the sky the underbelly of something
sleeping, not waking soon,
a faint sound lifts your eyes.
A flock of geese pass over,
talking among
themselves of far off places
and old stories.

Encompassing this one,
a whole world lives
that you know nothing about.
It does not go on without you.
Even the parking lot is changed.



         Magi came from the east to Jerusalem asking,
          “Where is the child who is born king of the Jews?”

                  — Matthew 2.2

The king of the Jews?
Why would they care about someone
from a different nation, culture and religion?
Maybe in their wisdom they knew love when they saw it.
Nothing could make Jesus king of everybody
but being the king of love.

And so he was.
He was not king of power or might,
king of influence or success,
social standing or privilege,
king of being right or righteous.
He was king of justice and mercy,
of compassion and healing,
of gentleness and reverence.
And wise ones knew:
love is the greatest power in the world.
They were willing to kneel to a higher power.

The is the epiphany, the revelation:
your culture or nationality or religion don’t matter.
Your doctrine doesn’t matter.
Your religion is simply how you treat people.
Wise ones know love when they see it.

Pray for wisdom.
Pray for love.
Pray to be ruled
by the Prince of Peace,
the King of Love.

Another road

         Having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
         they left for their own country by another road.

                  —Matthew 2.12

God, give me the courage of another road.
Give me the peace to accept new things,
to go new ways, to embrace the unfamiliar.
Give me the grace to be changed.
You who create each moment,
create me anew today.
Let each breath be a rebirth.
Be my star, and lead me.
Awaken me to your calling
and to my going. 
I let go of my attachment to knowing the way
and my fear of not knowing. 
Let me know nothing, and only listen,
depending entirely on you,
trusting that in all that changes
you are present, steadfast and devoted.
Walk with me, God, on this new road.

Deep blessings, Pastor Steve

____________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily email write to me at unfoldinglight (at)


         A voice from heaven says,
         “This is my Child, the Beloved,
         with whom I am well pleased.”

                           —Matthew 3.17

My child, I know who you are.
You are the issue of my love,
my self spoken into this world.
At times if you doubt, remember
your secret name: Beloved.
I know the gifts I have given you,
the compassion I have planted in you,
how the world will call to those gifts,
will need you and feed on you
and wound you deeply.
Remember those gifts in you are me.
At times you may feel alone,
strange, unbelonging. Know that you Belong.
Know that I am in you and you in me
as deeply as you are in this water.
When you pass through raging waters
they will not overwhelm you.
I will be with you; I will be in you.
In all things, in your miracles and failures,
you are my light. You are my delight.
Go now, into your cobbled, radiant life
and shine with me.

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