Other languages

           They were filled with the Holy Spirit
         and began to speak in other languages,
         as the Spirit gave them ability
 —Acts 2.4

Holy Spirit, loosen our tongues and teach us
new languages of love.
Help us convey your grace across the divides of language,
of culture and race and class and identity.
Put the breath of love in our lungs,
the words of mercy on our tongues,
the song of grace on our lips.
Help us give voice to blessing
that is clear in any language.
Give us grace to listen to every foreign tongue,
respect every foreign story, and honor every foreign soul,
for you have sent us to them
so they may know their belovedness,
and they may reveal to us our own.
Spirit of God, breathe in us.
Spirit of love, sing in us.
Spirit of justice, rise in us to do your will.

Weather Report

as the warm, moist air of grace
replaces the cold, dry air of sin,
driven by the jet stream of God
flowing and flowing
throughout the day,
rising in our hearts.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 28, 2020

Right spirit

When you send forth your spirit,
all beings are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
        His name was George Floyd.

I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.
         He was God’s beloved, breathing God’s Spirit.

In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. 
        He was black. The Body of Christ.

When you take away their breath,
they die and return to their dust. 
        He was slowly choked to death
         by a white cop. His life didn’t matter.

We do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words.
         “Please, I can’t breathe…”

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 27, 2020

Living water

        He said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,
         and let the one who believes in me drink.
         As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart
         shall flow rivers of living water.’”
 —John 7.37-38

A spring, clear and fresh,
a river of love
flows from Jesus,
the stream of his being.
          . . .

Drink from the river,
let it flow into you,
fill you, become you,
the stream of your being.
         . . .
Let it flow out from you,
the riverbank,
river of love, the stream of God,
flowing out into all the world.

         . . .

Breathing in, you drink from the river.
Breathing out, it flows from you.
This is the Spirit, the stream of God’s Being,
breathing in you always, flowing in you.      

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 26, 2020

Memorial Day

We remember the men and women who have died
while serving in the US military.
We remember the men and women who have died
while serving in the Peace Corps.
We remember the men and women who have died
serving in United Nations Peace Keeping forces.
We remember the men and women who have died
working for peace and justice.
We remember the civilian men and women
and children who have died in armed conflicts.
We remember the child in us who dies
when we start to believe in war.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 25, 2020


         They asked him, “Lord, is this the time
         when you will restore sovereignty to Israel?”
         He replied, “It is not for you to know…
         But you will receive power
         when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
         and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
         in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
 —Acts 1.6-8

Is this the time we will re-open?
Now will our political party dominate?
When will we return to normal?
Can we be safe, and privileged, and in power?

No. You can bear witness
to the power of love.
It is not for you to know the future,
or to be ascendant or in power,
or to control things.
It is for you to be a witness to love
even when things are not restored.
This is not second best: it is true power,
whose waves ripple through the world.

The center of the universe is not on the throne.
It is in your heart.

Receive love.
Trust the power.
Bear witness.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 22, 2020


Grace and Peace to you.                  
In the woods the trees
clap their little babyhands of green.
On the hillside they try on pink and mauve;
soon they will trade them for green.
Birdsongs fall like rain among the trees.
A couple of geese fly over singing,
spinning their long web
across the continent of the morning.
The marsh, swollen all March and April,
begins to breathe out,
its grasses green and another green,
and the bushes more greens.
I walk among them silent,
the world’s troubles in the pocket of my mind.
They are not uncaring,
even the little lump of toad
who may be watching me
and may be ignoring me.
Though they do not recognize
those woes in my pocket
they extend their blessing.
They invite me in,
me and all my kin,
where they belong to a greater Yes
that is also, if we will have it, ours.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 21, 2020

Gazing up into the sky

          Two people in white robes stood by them.
         and said, “People of Galilee,
         why do you stand looking up toward heaven? “
—Acts 1.10-11

There are those times
when you have lost what you loved,
when you gaze up into the empty box of the sky
and the emptiness comes down around you
like a blanket, a bell,
and your gaze can’t pierce
the thick silence inside the bell.

Even the deepest faith doesn’t round off
this world’s sharp edges, its losses and traumas.
Holiness often lives in the blank of sorrow,
the empty chair.
It’s all right to stand there and gaze.

Before the wind begins to shift,
before the bright strangers speak.
they know. They hand us a tissue.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 20, 2020


          I will ask God, who will give you another Advocate,
         to be with you forever.
 —John 14.16

The word in Greek is Paraclete, a legal advocate.
We often think of (and get nervous about) God as our Judge—
but God is really our defense attorney.

When you face your trials
the Holy Spirit is the one who is by your side—
on your side, working for your sake, pro bono.

The Holy Spirit is the one who believes in you,
in your goodness and worth, and defends you
against that hanging judge in your head.

Your defense attorney will never turn into a prosecutor
of you or anybody else. Her only job
is to set you free and give you justice.

Trust her. When she asks you to tell the truth, do.
When she says something in Latin you don’t understand,
she’s really making things better for you.

She’s not getting you off any hook—
the charges were imaginary anyway.
But she will call upon you to bear witness.

The Holy Spirit will defend you.
She has the jury in your head in the palm of her hand.
She wins every case. She loves her work.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 19, 2020


We stand and look up at stars—so few of them,
just the ones we can see,
                                    and we feel so small.

Waves come in from the sea, so far away,
                                             so far.

Ancestors keep walking away from us,
further and further into the past.

Every once in a awhile the person next to you

We can’t help but think of eternity,
a twelve-mile beach we walk and walk and walk,
the stone ribs of a mountain we can only touch
one hand-width at a time.

We get lost standing in our back yard speculating,
a little afraid, a little abashed, while underfoot 
          the dandelions
keep flowering and flowering,
and the bumblebees attend.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 18, 2020

Jesus’ blessing

         Breathe deeply
         these words of Jesus.

“If you love me,
you will let my love flow through you.

My deep desire, which God shares,
is to give you a Companion,
to be with you forever.

You are part of me:
because I live,
you also live.

In love
I am in God,
and you are in me,
and I in you.”
                  —from John 14.15-20

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 15, 2020

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