Earth sees us

Earth sees us

not with malice
but Creation’s empathy

for all is one
in the ecology of God

The sea for a moment
grows sorrowful and kind
ocean combing the continent’s hair
sky weeping gently

forests murmuring their ancient chant
breeze whispering to us

There is a way
We will go with you

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 29, 2021


       The unclean spirit,
           convulsing him and crying with a loud voice,
           came out of him.
                                 —Mark 1.26

The demons don’t leave easily.
Reasons to hang on, with teeth.

The DT”s. Withdrawal.
Grief at the familiar’s grave.

Privilege aggrieved.
Riots. Insurrection.

“What have you to do with us?
Leave us alone. Don’t change things.”

God, give me the courage
to let you change me,

even if the demons shriek on their way out,
even if I am convulsed.

Though healing will be wrenching
let us be healed.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 28, 2021


          The spirit cried out,
           “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
           Have you come to destroy us?
           I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
                                 —Mark 1.24

Yes, he has.
The forces of evil know
Jesus is out for nothing less
than a loving, healing assault
on the power of evil itself.
Every healing by Jesus is a cosmic act,
an insurrection against the Empire of fear and death.

Jesus looks into you,
hears the demons that steal your voice,
and sees in you the universe
and its longing for healing.
And that is what he heals.
He speaks to what is deep within,
a word that is a bit
of the mending of the world.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 27, 2021


He taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes.
—Mark 1.27

The word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing until it divides soul from spirit,
joints from marrow;
it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
—Hebrews 4.12

Let his word cut into you.
Not a proposition you should agree with,
not a doctrine to believe,
but a revelation that astounds
with authenticity that rings,
a seeing of your soul,
an opening that draws you in,
a pool you look deep into until you fall.
With love that overrules any authority on this earth,
let it take your breath away,
and give you new breath.
Let it uncover something in you.
Let it, with authority, ask of you.
Let it author a new story in you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 26, 2021

Prayer for the weary

God, I am weary.
I am worn by my daily tasks,
burdened by all that is demanded of me,
tired of the world’s turbulence.
Even my faith, sometimes, is too tired
to get up and go.
There is so much to do.
Restore my energy.
Be my heartbeat, my breath,
the spark of my nerves.
Like a leaf carried on the river of your love,
bear me through this world
by your grace, not my effort.
May your love and hope and courage
rise in me like the sun,
and shine me through this day,
in the love and presence of your Spirit.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 25, 2021


           The word of God came to Jonah a second time, saying,
            “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city,
             and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
Jonah 3.1-2

I bet your Sunday School teacher wasted that wonderful felt board to teach you some somber lesson about Jonah the prophet, without a single confetti of irony. Too bad. The story of Jonah is a farce—some of God’s best slapstick. Picture Jonah as one of the Three Stooges. Read it all at once (really—it’ll take ten minutes), with your sense of humor intact. Read it and laugh. Here’s some of what your Serious Sunday School teacher may have missed.

• Life is more of a comedy than a tragedy. Lighten up.
• As dangerous as God is, the greatest risk is in trying to be safe.
• Ever watch somebody on slippery ice trying hard not to fall down?
               God is gravity. It’s almost always funny when we try to resist it.
• The storms in our life are not a test. But they might be a question.
• Your best friends won’t throw you under the bus,
               but they will throw you overboard.
• In the middle of a raucous slapstick tale, Jonah, at the bottom of the sea,
               prays a beautiful prayer. Turns out the belly of a whale
               is a great place for contemplation. Seriously.
• When a big fish swallows you, don’t worry. Sooner or later it’ll barf.
• One thing that makes it hard for people to repent
               is that we expect them not to.
• When saints judge people they trade places with the sinners.
• Ever notice how often we’re mad because God isn’t?
• God loves everybody, even our enemies. And also much cattle.
• Nothing can overwhelm love, but even a worm can upset pride.
• It’s OK to read the Bible and laugh. Just remember:
• God always gets the last laugh. And it’s pretty funny.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 22, 2021


  Jesus said to them, “Follow me
             and I will make you fish for people.”
             And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
—Mark 1.17-18

God, can I hear the call?
Do I listen?
Raise my head from my consuming tasks
to listen for another voice?
Do I recognize your voice when I hear it?

And when you call,
call me to service, to healing, to justice—
what do I need to leave behind to get up and follow?
What nets entangle me,
the familiar, the safe, the comfortable?
Will I let go of people’s kindness?
A sense of entitlement to peace and security?
Do I see the webs of injustice
that benefit me and hurt others,
entangling nets I have tended and mended—
can I let go?

Give me heart to let them go,
let them go,
let them go,
and get up
and follow you.

The Sea Today:

pointing to a horizon
beyond, beyond…

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 21, 2021

New day

         Jesus said to them, “Follow me
           and I will make you fish for people.”
           And immediately they left their nets
           and followed him.
—Mark 1.17-18

A people as one rise from fear and grief
and choose hope and justice.
People do rise.
People get up from familiar nets
and follow a leader into a future
unknown but trusted,
a new day— a gift of God
and the work of the people.

Every moment
we’re invited to leave the familiar.
Clouds still hover, the dawn comes slow;
but in the receding darkness
we bear no angry torches:
we raise candles of hope, the light of love.
We become the future we choose.
For a new day we give thanks
and and follow in a new way,
knowing for it to be a new day
we must become new people.
We celebrate, getting up
from what we know
and walking step by step
into what we don’t know
with the One
who knows us.

God bless us and lead us, for we need it deeply.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 20, 2021

In darkness light

Now after John was arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee,
proclaiming the good news of God.
—Mark 1.14

Watch the verbs: arrested… came… proclaiming.
The face-to-face of injustice and grace
is no coincidence.
Already in Mark’s first chapter
Jesus approaches the Cross.
The word of God’s disruptive grace,
the fierce and tender love
that undermines the Empire itself
is good news for bad times.
The Word neither hides from the world’s darkness,
nor succumbs to it—
the light shines in the darkness, the darkness,
and the darkness can’t overcome it.
It seeks the dark, and enters, and shines.

Breath prayer:
In darkness … light

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 19, 2021

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Disrupt

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.
—Jeremiah 6.14

Martin reminds us in an unjust system
calling for “peace” and “unity”
simply protects the system,
justifies the injustice,
keeps the slaves enslaved.
Injustice will not let go till it is pushed;
the righteous choose to not go along with evil,
but to trouble it, to push back, to resist.
Liberation requires disruption:
a boycott, a freedom march, an Exodus.
It needn’t be violent. But it will disrupt.
It will disrupt abuse of power,
exploitation of people and living things.
It will certainly disrupt expectations,
habits, propriety, business as usual.
(They said to Jesus, “It is not lawful to heal…”)
It is not self-serving,
doesn’t turn opponents into enemies.
But it doesn’t make peace with cruelty.
It’s uncomfortable.

God, give me the courage
to disrupt injustice with love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 18, 2021

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