Plumb line

See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel…
                  —Amos 7.8     

A plumb line held straight
by the gravity of love,
without curve or spin of human twist,
plumb line of blessing
unbowed by curse,
unbent by fear or greed,
plumb line seeking, unerring, the center,
all creatures’ belovedness and belonging,
the wellbeing of all Creation.

Measure your acts, O human,
judge your policies, O Nation,
by this and no other.
Does it bless without cursing?
Does it serve without stealing?
Does it join and not divide?
This alone is justice.

God’s plumb line
will not slide sideways
to favor some over others,
but loves all dearly;
it will not sway to sacrifice one’s thriving
for another’s desires.

The ground is uneven but the line is set.
The corrupt tilt their heads;
the wise discern
and build accordingly.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 10, 2019


You don’t have to believe in angels
to trust you live accompanied,
a creature in a meadow of creatures
linked body and soul,
as the planet of you
orbits in a field of gravities,
loves unseen
that lean and draw,
turn and pull
and gleam,
that know you,
walking with you even on this street,
prophets, neighbors, seers,
your ancestors, amazed and confident,
your other selves,
silently conferring,
even, yes, here along side you
in trust and wonder
your children’s children,
and indeed, breathing with you,
something, or since God is not a thing,
someone of God.

Better not to concoct exotic beings
than to imagine
the Holy
into bits
of loneliness.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

 July 9, 2019

Good Samaritan

         But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus,
         “And who is my neighbor?”

                  —Luke 10.29
People say you should be a good Samaritan.
You can’t.
Samaritans were despised outsiders.
Good or not,
you have too much privilege to be a Samaritan.
That’s for the queers, the immigrants,
the trans, the blacks, the homeless.

You can be good,
you can be generous to strangers,
even to your enemy.
But you are not the hero of this story.
You can’t be.

You’re the one in the ditch.
Your neighbor is the other one.
You call them rapists and they pick your fruit.
You call them shiftless and dangerous
and they build your economy.
You abhor them and they bless you.

Stop making it about you.
Confess your dependence.
Receive your neighbor’s grace.
Be humbly grateful.
Let yourselves be neighbors.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 8, 2019


         I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.
         Cure the sick, and say to them,
         “The Realm of God has come near to you.”

                  —Luke 10.3, 9

Ours is not to triumph, but to love.
It will confuse us mightily, and defeat us,
If we think we are to have power or influence,
if we expect to have a rightful place,
if we look to be given the keys to the city.
It will disorient us if we forget the sacrifice asked of us,
if we think opposition and persecution are for others.

We are to bear witness to the One who has power,
and to display that power in healing, not in dominance.
Lambs will always live differently from wolves.
We will always be outside the norm,
outside the halls of power.
We will be inside the Realm of God,
which bears upon the world to transform it,
which the world will resist.
Our perseverance in grace will be our victory.

We are sent out: not to convince but to mend.
The grace we bear will always make us odd.
We will know failure and disappointment,
but the Realm we proclaim is at work in us,
healing, transforming, making new and glorious.
The Commonwealth of God has already come near.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 5, 2019

God and country

You who despair that Nation has outlawed God,
has consumed Justice and spit out the bones,
take heart.
Love is eternal, and outlives Empire.
Spirit lives among the Little Ones
and power waits there, breathing.
If you become one of them
(surrendering much) you will know that power.

The Emperor struts and slays and displays
because he is desperate to believe his own lie.
The Powers that move in the shadows
wearing costumes of light
are certain of their powers. They are wrong.

The power of hope is greater than greed.
Compassion overcomes fear.
Our unity can’t be abolished.

The divine slave woman strains in childbirth,
the pain is deep, the labor hard,
and we attend, not as strategy,
but to be alive.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

   —July 4, 2019

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