Moon light

Thick, liquid light
poured form the moon’s pitcher
under the newly rimed beech tree
makes everything look so different.

I have studied this tree

but there is always new light
in which
I have never seen it.

Weather Report

as conditions shift continually,
often obscuring
not reality but your perspective.
Expect intermittent clarity
as a large mass of wonder
causes what you’ve already seen
to precipitate as not everything
there is to see.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 26, 2021

Categorized as Reflections

Inside out

         Those who want to save their life will lose it,
         and those who lose their life for my sake,
         and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
                   —Mark 8.35

Enclosed in the nut of myself,
         inside the hard shell,
                  I am a dead seed. A stone.

Live inside-out,
         lose the shell, give away the seed,
                  and life begins.


True life is to be in the Beloved.
         To be in the Beloved is to be in love.
                  To be in love one forgets oneself.

Losing one’s self,
         one’s self-selved self,
                  one enters the Beloved’s self,

eternal, blissful, even in struggle,
         and—how can I tell you this?—
                  really, really alive.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 25, 2021

Categorized as Reflections


        He began to teach them
         that the Human One
         must undergo great suffering.

                   —Mark 8.31

Not just the one human, but The Human,
all of us, wherefore Peter wanted none of it:
plagues of virus and violence, hate and greed,
the lost mourned, futures mourned and dreaded,
great suffering, great suffering.

This is the Cross—no divine scheme,
but our septic rut,
how wrenched we are,
suffering suffered
and suffering caused,
the haunting claw,
the jaw yet to come,
world’s mess and mangle,
deep well of anguish, deepest wail. This—

this is where the Beloved
joins us,
bears our wounds,
shares our trauma—
                                 and asks us to follow.

So we open our brokenness,
our trembling selves,
to the Loving One,
who enters in,
seeps in the blood,
sleeps in our grave
with an arm around us,
and after time,

oh, after time,
with an arm around us,
                      begins to rise.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 24, 2021

Categorized as Reflections


Ah, Jesus, I have mastered you.
Savior unneeded, I am your lord.
I have cut you into pieces and eaten you,
I have stolen everything from you
and sold it cheap,
I have picked all your fruit
and thrown it to passing animals.

           My victory has killed me.

my mastery has rendered me powerless,
my palace emptied,
I’ve been thrown on the compost,
eaten alive,
gone down with you
into the dark grave,

where finally,
bettered by death,
I am still.

I’ve eaten your flesh,
           you invade me,
                       and I live.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 23, 2021

Categorized as Reflections

Snow mummy

The snow fits its shell onto the earth,
lovingly lays its attentive skintight bands
like burial cloth, cloaked, wound tight,
like the women tending their beloved,
with more than ample fabric
over the flesh of the earth, each shape,
every curve, every wound and hollow,
each breast and shoulder, thigh and brow,
fitted to its grave, held in stillness,
iced in for the long silence, the practice
once again of death by drowning,
all this water frozen over it, slowly
seeping in, penetrating, hard and fast,
and the earth beneath, the buried streams,
the silent roots, the unborn seeds whispering
Yes, yes.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 22, 2021

Categorized as Reflections

A given stillness

        And the Spirit immediately drove him
          out into the wilderness.

                    —Mark 1.12

With him
you are within him.
The world recedes,
the ungenerous stones, the fatal cliffs,
the worlds vanishing from your grasp.
The wilderness is himself,
pure presence free of outcome,
your being
graciously granted,
a given stillness
in which
your temptation becomes clarity,
your fear serene,
your solitude holy,
your belonging assured,
and your desiring becomes song.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 18, 2021

Categorized as Reflections

Ash Wednesday

I ponder at my grave,
myself beneath it, dust, hidden bones,
a mystery emptied of any self,
from an ancient Viking fisherman
or Neanderthal relic,
long gone but for trinkets
and orphaned memories.
What I did echoes unseen;
who I was reverberates silently.
Now there is only dirt. Lungs of dirt,
where once the Divine breathed the spark.
Inside my skull, where the flame
of my thoughts and loves used to burn,
dark clay. Mere soil. The candle is all gone.
Once, there was flesh, then there was dust.
Stuff, then fire, then a different kind of stuff.
Only the ashes will last.

Be the fire.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 17, 2021

Categorized as Reflections


         Create in me a beautiful heart, O God,
              and put a new and faithful spirit within me.
                                          —Psalm 51.10

Take all of who I am,
the me-ness of me,
what makes me who I am,
the special, the unique,
the brilliant and the unpardonable,
all I’m so proud of, and so ashamed,
that I’ve worked so hard to fashion,
that I’m still working on,
what I can’t part with
because there wouldn’t be
anything left of me—
take it.

Take it.
I lay it in your hands.
Gather it into yourself,
into your dark, generous mystery,
and in the flame of your creating heart
burn it.

Then into the dust and ashes
breathe your breath,

and with gratitude
I will receive
who rises

when in your grace
you give me

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 16, 2021

Categorized as Reflections

Secret alms

You stand at the sea
and your heart widens
to join it.

Watching a toddler
negotiate a snowy sidewalk
your spirit is a ballerina.

Between buildings
the evening sun, unexpected,
awakens something.

You marvel at your body,
imperfect, fragile,
still here, giving thanks.

A gift is doubled in value
because no one knows
it was you.

The secret blossoming
of wonder and gratitude
creates beauty.

Even merely notice a cloud
and the Beloved
is secretly delighted.

               Give your alms in secret.
—Matthew 6.4

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 15, 2021

Categorized as Reflections


                  Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!
—1 Corinthians 9.16

A baker’s kitchen
gives off a lovely aroma.

Miracles have occurred
in you, for you, for the world,

unearned healings,
revelations, liberations,

an embrace, deep in,
from heaven itself.

The story isn’t yours, it’s God’s.
Tell it.

God’s child is conceived in you.
Give it birth.

Glory shines in you.
Share the light.

You don’t have to preach.
Just be transparent to the mystery.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

February 12, 2021

Categorized as Reflections
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