Halloween

You will hear it said
Halloween originated
in the tradition
of dressing up in scary costumes
on All Hallow’s Eve
to frighten away the demons
before the honoring of the saints.
But, no, it is not quite that.
We are dressing up
not to scare the demons
but to set them free,
for they are not out there in the dark,
the demons are within.
Halloween is when we take off our mask.
What is your worst nightmare
about yourself?
I mean, not just your pet peeve,
but your most troubling horror?
Dress it up to the max.
Now, finally, you are not pretending.
Let people see it.
Send it out into the world.
Perhaps neither of you will want so much
to see its return.
Let it go. Let it go.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 30, 2020

All Saints

          See what love God has given us,
          that we should be called children of God.
                                       
—1 John 3.1

The secret power of the blessed saints
is no sword they wield,
no influence they possess, but simply
trust that they are God’s beloved children,
and the courage to act that way
toward all others.
They know God loves them to overflowing,
the spilling of love their blessing to the world,
and the resurrecting power of God’s grace
sufficient to redeem them in all their troubles.
They dare confront the world’s evil with love,
knowing its deep power,
having opened themselves to it.

Let the mystery that we are all God’s beloved children
lead you to live so,
and treat others so.

What love we have been given,
that we, God’s children, should have love
for all God’s children.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 29, 2020

More beatitudes

Blessed are you who are in prison,
      for God preserves your dignity.

Blessed are you who are depressed,
      for the Beloved holds you.

Blessed are you who are powerless
      for love is a true power.

Blessed are you who weep for justice
      for God will establish it.

Blessed are you who love in the face of hate,
      for you are vessels of God.

Blessed are you who look for God in unlikely places,
      for you will see God.

Blessed are you who are a healing presence,
      for you shall be healed.

Blessed are you when people try to silence you;
      you are in the company of saints and prophets.

Blessed are you no matter what,
      for grace will never be denied you—never.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 28, 2020

Reaching

Yesterday, after a stringent quarantine,
our son and his fiancee came to visit.
At the door he and I hugged.
It was the first either of us
had touched anybody outside the household
for seven months.

Something in us released, rejoiced.
For a moment I remembered who I was.

These days, finally, our bodies
know what our souls have been saying all along,
how I is we,
how we hunger for one another.

Later, when the bustle returns
and the city enfolds you in its noise
remember that empty space.
Remember how that sacred child in you
is always reaching out.

Honor that hunger. It burns in everyone.
Even their scorn, even their hatred
is a reaching.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 27, 2020

Blessed

                           Blessed are the poor in spirit…
                                         
—Matthew 5.3

Jesus refutes the delusion
that attributes blessing
to the happy, the successful, the strong.
The poor know better.

They’re not blessed because they’re poor,
or heartbroken, or persecuted.
They’re blessed because God blesses them,
no matter what.

Your security, your privilege, your comfort,
your accomplishments, all your merit
are costumes you wear.
Underneath you are naked and needy.

If you wear them
know they are borrowed,
if you are stripped of them
know you are blessed.

All of us
are God’s beloved,
no more than that,
no less.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 26, 2020

I am here

My child,
I feel the piercings of your people’s hate.
I feel the anguish of your sorrow,
the weight of despair.
Your cry of rage rises in my own throat.
I hold in my hands the sea of tears,
the single drop of blood.
But child,
my love is sovereign.
I am at work in this world,
redeeming all brokenness
and healing every wound.
Though fearful people fight against me,
and bitter people rage, they are puny
in the face of my love,
my mending of the whole cosmos.
I am making all things new.
See, even within you yourself the storms rage,
and yet the dawn rises.
My child, I am here.
Even as you yearn for peace
and struggle for justice, trust deeply.
I am still creating. I am here.

_________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 23, 2020

A second is like it

                      The greatest commandment is:
                     You shall love the Holy One your God
              And a second is like it:
                      You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
                                          —Matthew 22.38-39

Loving God is the back side of love.
It has a front side.

Loving others
is how you love God.

How you treat people
is your worship.

Neighborliness is prayer.
Justice is piety.

Same love, two sides.
One does not exist without the other.

Love people as if they are God
and love God as you love yourself.

___________________
The Ocean Today
Waves:
crests and troughs,
crashing and receding,
one sea,
two directions.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 22, 2020

Love only

                  You shall love the Holy One your God
         with all your heart, and with all your soul,
         and with all your mind.
         And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
                                    —Matthew 22.38-39

Loving One,
may all that I do today be love.
May my faith be this simple,
this urgent,
beyond all doctrine,
beneath all righteousness.
Every act, seen and unseen
an act of love.
Every thought and judgment
considered through the lens of love.
All my doubt and anger
held in the hands of love.
All my fears and desires
held in the hands of love.
Loving One,
enact your love through me.
Held in the hands of your love,
may I love in all I do.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 21, 2020

Home

                      Holy One, you have been our dwelling place
                          in all generations.
             Before the mountains were brought forth,
                          or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
             from everlasting to everlasting
                          you are God.
                                                    —Psalm 90.1-2

I have lived out of my suitcase too much.
I have given a different address.
I’ve stayed in the downstairs apartment,
camped out in the back yard,
announced I’m running away
and circled the block.
Over and over.
But Beloved, you are my home.

I don’t know what else I’m looking for,
why I won’t let myself belong.
But you are my Place.

So I stand at your door,
ready to come in
but instead

I am already in.
In you, Beloved, I am home.

Give me peace to let myself belong.
Give me grace
to take off my shoes
and stay a while

in you.

Breath prayer:    At home … in you

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 20, 2020

The apple

In the remains of an old orchard –
a
n apple has fallen

I wipe it off on my sweater –
some grass, a bug or two

It’s not a pristine apple –
some blemishes

They’re not rot or worms –
ugly but they won’t hurt you

I bite into the apple –
eat the whole thing

Eat the blemishes –
that’s how God eats the world

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

October 19, 2020