Come and see

         Jesus said to them, “What are you looking for?”
         They said … “Where are you staying?”
         He said to them, “Come and see.”
         They came and saw where he was staying,
         and they remained with him that day.
                  —John 1.38-39

You’re not looking for an answer.
What you seek isn’t an explanation
and can’t be explained.
You’re looking for a presence.
Not a what but a who.
You can’t understand.
You can only see.
But you can’t see from there.
You have to come along.
You have to stay a while.
Nothing may happen.
You might just be there together.
Remain with him.

That might be all.
It will be enough.
         Come and see.

                  Stay there.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 17, 2020


         Jesus said to them, “What are you looking for?”
                  —John 1.38

Sometimes we forget
what we’re looking for.
Sometimes we forget
we’re looking.

Every act, a bold venture
or a mindless chore,
is seeking something,
expecting something. What?

What are you hoping for?
What do you need?
Are you looking
in the right place?

What do you want?
         What do you want more than that?
                  And even more than that?
Seek that and let the rest go.       

Breath prayer:
Seeking … you                  

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 16, 2020

Who takes away the sin of the world

      The wolf shall live with the lamb,
         the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
         the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
         and a little child shall lead them.

                  —Isaiah 11.6

We are consumed by our violence and greed,
ravening lions eating all around us,
even our own young—trapped in our hunger’s illusion
that we need more, need to be more.
Who will save us?

Not a greater lion who will torment us into submission
but a lamb who will save us from our deepest fear,
our fear of being no one, though we will treat him as a nobody;
who will satisfy our truest hunger,
not for blood but for love, though it will cost his blood.

Only those who are nonviolent will save us.
The Child cries out to us in the Jesus nailed to a cross
(in the Martin Luther King, Jr, the Martin Trayvon,
the Malcom X, the Sandra Bland):You need not kill or hurt or dominate
in desperate hunger for divine power,
for see: I am already within you;
and you are as guilty and as forgiven as you can possibly be,
given infinite love and life.
You are filled, and well, and safe. Be at peace.
Behold the lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 15, 2020

Lamb of God

         Here is the Lamb of God
         who takes away the sin of the world.

                  —John 1.29

We are burning down our house.
We murder our young.
We hate with pious practice.

Nations corrode nations. Leaders collude with evil.
Corruption, violence and the Bullying State prevail.
The Emperor polishes his tin crown.

Our children will not have it as easy as we did.
Our knees are not what they used to be.
It is not unreasonable to despair.

And here in this mess you take our sin. You take it
away. You take it into yourself where it dissolves
in the acid bath of your grace and becomes

by your strange alchemy hope,
not because we are not culpable
but because we are not separate from you,

because you die into us into us so gently,
occupy our awful, beautiful lives so fully,
that we are you,

and holy.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 14, 2020


How can you lift a song that God can hear
among so many stars?
God already has enough angels, trust me.
Leave the glorious cacophony to them.
Praise in the plainness of what no one else
can duplicate or even see:
let your eyes open like oceans to what is
right here, this canyon of shadow,
this passing scent, this bowl of cereal.
The galaxies you wonder at, when you get up close,
are just rocks and fire, dust and gravity.
Let the flaming sunset and the angel harpist
fling their astonishments to the heavens.
You, earthling, praise in ordinary presence:
be amazed from underneath that unreachable vault;
here in this grass-and-pavement world
let your wonder sing like nothing God has ever heard
because now, here, in this moment, indeed
no one has.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 13, 2020

Bring forth justice

This is your baptismal covenant,
both promise and challenge:

You all are my servants, whom I uphold,
         my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon you;
         you are to bring forth justice to the nations.
You need not cry or lift up your voice,
         or make it heard in the street.
Be so gentle so as not to break a bruised reed
         or quench a dimly burning wick.
Faithfully bring forth justice.
Do not grow faint or be crushed:
         the time will come
when you all have established justice in the earth,
         and far lands wait for the mercy you embody.
Thus says God, the Holy One,
         who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,  
        who gives breath to the people upon it
         and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am the Holy One,
I have called you in righteousness,
         I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
         a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
         to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
         from the prison those who sit in darkness.

                  —Isaiah 42.1-9

God, for the sake of your deep desire for the world,
may I receive your Spirit,
practice justice, and do your will. Amen.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 10, 2020

There is a river

Between the so far and the not yet is the not.
Before Lazarus is the three days;
before the miracle the stone rolled over the womb.

In beginning is the Spirit-brooded waters,
darkness and chaos.
You leave everything behind on the shore
(so much you leave behind, so much)
for the amniotic drowning,
mother’s belly of the whale,
hear the baptismal eulogy,
Mary, what is conceived in you
(in darkness, holy water), is seed buried.

(After—do not be afraid—you will rise.
Heavens open, legs spread wide
(the labor is hers, not yours).
You come up out of the water
dazed into the bright world,
world of light, world of breathing,
where angels will greet you joying
and cut the umbilical past.)

But first—do not be afraid— the drowning.
What comes up must go down.
Before the promise, the wilderness.

Walk the floor of the sea
where Pharaoh can’t follow.

Go out into the desert.
There is a river there.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 9, 2020


            Just as he came up from the water,
                  suddenly the heavens were opened to him
         and he saw the Spirit of God
                  descending like a dove and alighting on him.
         And a voice from heaven said,
                  “This is my Son, the Beloved,
                  with whom I am well pleased.” 
                  —Matthew 3.16-17

Jesus has taken you into himself;
this is your blessing.
The heavens—the divine heart of all being—
are open to you.
You are divine in nature,
having been created by God in love.
God’s Spirit is in you.
It is who you are.
You are God’s child, offspring of God,
emanation of the Holy One.
You are the Beloved.
This is your true identity and true calling.
You are the Beloved.
This is the first and hardest learning of the spiritual life:
to let yourself be the Beloved.
With you God is delighted.
In that phrase is the echo of God’s servant
in Isaiah 42, begotten and called to bring forth justice.
Go, then, and do justice and practice mercy,
knowing you are blessed and sheltered,
healed and forgiven,
and empowered to do so.

You are God’s Beloved, in whom God is delighted.
Breath prayer:
Beloved… Beloved

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 8, 2020


Flaming desires
                           consume us
tongues of hunger licking at 
in the heat of the moment
here on the edge of our self-made
furnace of passions incinerating
as we warm ourselves
toast our success at
         our homemade damnation
climate of doubt heating up
climate of greed burning in us
cooking our goose our koala

Australia Amazon living beings 
the fuse

this is not punishment this is

what will light the candle of our grief 
eternal flame of sorrow
         burnt offering of repentance

where are our cooler heads 
are they burned out

how can we pretend we don’t need
(harrowing of this world) 
to be saved

what will melt our glacier melting hearts

pray for those our kin who are our kindling
Come, O Sun of Righteousness
with your flaming two-edged sword
                  and put out the fires of our want

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 7, 2020

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

Herod, that sleaze, dressed in acceptability,
will entice me into evil in a thousand ways,
the collusion of silence, the assistance
of normalizing terror, demonizing people,
the great undertaking of fear and selfishness,
even mere judgment of another,
all draped in language of honor and greatness.

God, help me not fall for it.
Help me see the hidden ways
I cooperate with injustice, promote racism,
add to climate change, excuse violence.
Warn me in dreams—or in wakefulness.

Set above me your clear star of wisdom
that I may see and catch myself.
Give me courage to seek another road,
to arrest my own complicity, to change my ways.

Set me your star. Open my eyes.
Show me another road.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 6, 2020

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