Armor of light

        The night is far gone, the day is near.
        Let us then cast off the works of darkness
         and put on the armor of light. 
                  — Romans 13.12

Confident that the Graceful One is coming—
not in a shower of stars to startle empires
but manger-humble—
and coming any moment—
be done with the hard armor of this world
that disguises despair,
that covers fear and self-doubt,
the helmet of apathy and the breastplate of cynicism,
the mail coat of not having to get involved,
the shield of violence and domination.

Instead let this be your only armor:
that you shine with light,
that you are clothed in the Beloved—
not because it shields you from suffering
but because it gives you courage to love.
In this you yourself become
a sign of the Coming,

and indeed
in this
the Loving One

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 29, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

Give thanks

The Beloved has hidden
in every thing
and with unrestrained generosity
gives gifts of wondrous kinds
in every moment,
every moment.
You can see this miracle
only by giving thanks.
You can actually behold
the divine presence
only by opening your heart
in gratitude.

With every breath,
even when troubled,
give thanks.

May your day be
truly grateful.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
November 28, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

The right thing

As I write this I’m fixing breakfast for my grandkids,
typing and scrambling eggs
and carrying on a silly conversation.

Sometimes they wanted the Rabbi for themselves
but he was giving himself to everybody.
and sometimes they couldn’t find him
because he was out in the desert by himself.
But when they thought they had him he said,
“No, let’s go on to the other villages,”
And sometimes they wanted him to hurry on
but he lingered and listened to a woman’s story,

Sometimes I need to do paperwork
and sometimes it’s an escape.

God, help me today
to be attentive to what’s going on
and where you are in it,
and stick with you.
Help me to be mindful,
and to give myself
to the right thing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 27 2019

Categorized as Reflections


Year after year the geese come,
                                    and go,

and here they are again, gliding over
the turning leaves, turning my head.

Sometimes regrets come honking, I can
hear them but I can’t see them.

                                    Honking. Or hopes,
honking, rowing smoothly through the air.

These birds will fly thousands of miles
uncharted but known.

                                    I long, don’t we all,
for that bird way of knowing: not certainty,

but an untroubled harmony with the way things are,
                                    a way of happening.

Amazing, the way from here to there,
                                    and how they find it.

For the moment they settle on a quiet spot
in the stream, and find food on the murky bottom.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 26, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

Unexpected moments

         Keep awake, for you do not know
         in what moment your Love is coming.

                  —Matthew 24.42

When you wake up
God is already in your body before you slip into it.

At breakfast it occurs to you
how far away this banana came from.

On the morning commute you glance over
at someone who seems unremarkable,
but an unexpected spark of compassion flies up in you
in case they are actually enduring a tragedy.

The stranger in the headline is actually related to you.

Standing alone looking at a row of houses
you might accept the mystery
of the seeds of grace you have planted in unseen places.

A vision of your bit of selfishness passes by you
like stranger on the street.

You think again about the miracle
of that spark you felt this morning.

In the shop window you see God arranging a display,
only what you see is your reflection,
only what you see is her standing there with you.

In the quiet of your room, what comes to you is
a certain, calm Yes, though it is not yet clear
who or what it is for.

You are awake, waiting.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 25, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

Prayer of peace

God, when I close my eyes to this world
         may your presence nudge me awake.
When I am weary and ready to quit,
         your passion for this world energize me.
When I am hopeless, your gaze raise me up.
         When I am afraid, your love enfold me.
When I am angry and want to blame,
         your kindness sweep me off my feet.
When I am bitter and ready to fight,
         your forgiveness quiet me.
When I find myself in a land of sorrow,
         your presence accompany me.
When I am broken and I despair,
         your delight make me whole.
God of grace, as you send me into this world
         may your hope live in me, your love, your joy.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 22, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

Reign of Christ

 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
                  —Luke 23.43

I don’t want a mighty warrior
who can threaten or destroy
the scary parts of my world.
I don’t want an engineer
to manufacture a nicer place.
I want in this very place
love stronger than fear,
that nothing can resist,
love that completes me,
your love that reigns supreme
even in my deepest anguish,
that accompanies me even, even
through devastation and trauma,
and even there offers me paradise
and even then
in your eyes
I am there.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 21, 2019

Categorized as Reflections


We imagine
a mighty ruler
who might
order the world
as we wish it
and who in fact
and so
we usually miss it
when God
with utter
we can’t overcome
with oddly
a full bowl
but always

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 20, 2019

Categorized as Reflections

Suffering sovereign

         “If you are the king, save yourself!”
                  —Luke 23.37

Condemned, scorned and disposed of,
whose life does not matter,
enthroned under the weight of a cross,
crowned with pain and humiliation,
holding a scepter of powerlessness:
the little man is a sad excuse for a king.

That is, if you seek an unmoved mover,
removed, impervious,
who will excuse you from life,
enabling you to be likewise.
You can have him.

Give me the one whose sovereignty
is to rule in all suffering,
to bless all pain by occupying it,
to shine the light of love
from inside the darkest night,
whom nothing can prevent
walking with us in our gravest trials.

Give me royalty under whose reign
every abuse and injustice,
even toward the least honorable, is treason;
whose decree, even from within
our public agony and secret prison cells,
is paradise.

You can have your mighty warrior.
Give me the little man with holes in his hands
whose heart is never far from mine,
whose imperial reign is right where I am.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 19, 2019

Categorized as Reflections


Rain comes down
like prayer
between the trees.
The ground is soaked.

A line of geese, singing,
circles the valley
as if wandering,
going their distances.

Trees, these prayers, reach down
into mysteries, converse unheard.
I walk among them.
I walk among them.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

November 18, 2019

Categorized as Reflections
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