First the walking
the long hollow walking
utter loss
uttering loss
the muscle of grief
the unknowing of wisdom
surrender of what we think is
      Then the mysterious accompaniment
unseen unknown sure
realm from within become beside
      The unraveling of known texts
into unimagined questing
questions from behind the eye
behind the heart
sight athwart insight
the possibility of possibility
      And then the bread
sun become food
energy made matter
a body re-bodied anew
that realm become this one
      the sharing
absence made presence
death made life
in suddenly familiar undying love—
      And in an instant
this instant
there is no “first” and “then”
what wasn’t is
what can’t be is
everything is and is so
      in this now-ness
now we see
we see Now
we see You
     Now changed
to tell
to cry out in wonder
long ecstatic running

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 16, 2021

When we shall be

             Praying 1 John 3.2-3

Beloved, we are God’s children now;
         I am your child, I am beloved,
         I am yours, I am of you.
         I am.

what we will be has not yet been revealed.
         I am not done.
         I am becoming. As you will.

What we do know is this:
         I seek knowing deeper than thinking.

Christ, when you are revealed,
         I open my eyes,
         I dare to imagine.

we will be like you,
         beloved, made in your image,
         divine, breathing your breath.

for we will see you as you are.
         See you in all things,
         see through the eyes of love.

All who have this hope in you
         trust even in the dark.
         What is is becoming.

purify themselves, just as you are pure.
         Raised to new life,
         full of your light,
         pure love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 15, 2021

Road to Emmaus

         …Jesus himself came near and went with them,
         but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
                   —Luke 24.15-16

When there is shattered glass in my heart,
when the road is long and dull,
when the past has bent, the future vanished,
when I seem to walk from darkness toward darkness—
I pray not that the story be changed
but that my eyes be open
to you,
here beside us,
opening our eyes.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 14, 2021

Wounded garden

Even as the golden dust of the resurrection falls,
settling on our shoes like heaven’s pollen,
as we look up at angels receding,
as the exuberant news echoes in our hearts,
even now, stepping into new lives
of joy and gratitude,

our hearts are broken,
we lament… we are silent… we scream.
Injustice continues its hungry rounds,
death is granted permission to hunt on our grounds.
Another shot rings out.

We cry out. How long, O Lord?

But we don’t cry alone.
The song rises—the sorrowful, courageous song,
the hymn of gentle defiance,
still flows through the throats of the faithful.
this wounded garden, this is the very place of resurrection.
We who have died and been raised are not afraid
to cry out, to be silent, to listen, to act, to sing.
We will do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
We will no longer be afraid
to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with God.
Even in the lingering darkness we are not afraid.
For Christ is rising. Christ is rising indeed.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 13, 2021

Red oak

Dear oak,
your twig tips swell and soon
will give us leaves, sweet green.
You’ll sprout then wave them patiently,
and drop them in the fall,
as you have, I’m guessing by your girth,
a couple hundred times or more.
You never tire of this,
never tire of losing and greening,
never tire of being an oak.
The day will come when you drop them
and lift them up no more,
but being an oak, that will likely be
long after I have done the same.
Meanwhile I pray
not that you endure, nor I,
but that as long as I do
I never tire of this.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 12, 2021


         Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
         As God has sent me, so I send you.”
         When he had said this, he breathed on them
         and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
                   —John 20.21-22

God took the dust up from the ground
and breathed into it
and it became a living being.

The Risen One breathes into you
the breath of heaven;
you become a risen being.

One Spirit, one breath,
one breathing.
Jesus is your lungs.

You are sent, breathed into the world,
spoken in love, sung out in beauty,
Word made flesh.

Every breath you are reborn,
we are all re-breathed,
Christ is risen.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 9, 2021

Through any door

Dearly Beloved,
         Though the doors of the house where the disciples had met
         were locked for fear of the people,
         Jesus came and stood among them and said,
         “Peace be with you.”
         After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
                   —John 20.19-20

The Damaged One emerges from trauma
         with peace.

His wounds, his brokenness, evidence
         of what such peace endures.

Through doors of pain, walls of despair,
         he comes with peace.

Yours, beloved,
         he comes through.

Gavestone, locked door, unbelief
         do not keep him from you.

The wounds still gape. The room is fraught—
         but he is not.

Now and yet to come, he’s here.
         Now your pain can breathe.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 8, 2021


    “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
         and put my finger in the mark of the nails
         and my hand in his side,
         I will not believe.”
                   —John 20.25

You who are so sure,
go easy on Thomas.

He is the one looking but
not catching your eye on the sidewalk,

the one at the back
with the unasked question,

those with everything on their back,
or maybe just in their memory

that they can’t leave, not speaking
of what’s behind them,

still shaking, with every reason
not to but still looking—

and don’t pretend he isn’t there, too,
the little voice inside you—

not easily convinced, but still

for a sign
of hope.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 7, 2021

The trouble with Easter

When the light breaks in
at the break of dawn
things get broken.

My fear is shattered, anxiety demolished.
Death and suffering, those fine excuses,
stolen right out from under me.

A hard, crusty way of living, on the defense,
trying to stay one step ahead of loss,
all messed up now.

Into the shadows and their blind alleys
you come with your light, splitting the darkness
wide open.

You rise up out of the grave—sometimes
sneaky slowly, sometimes lurching—
and haul me out, like it or not,

robbed of old ways, that life
we have to leave behind, that safe, familiar life,
into this new, wild, free, scary one.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 6, 2021

Miracle! Mystery!

Miracle! Mystery!
What was paralyzed in me dances!
What was ashamed in me rejoices!

You who are grace itself,
from the chaos of No
you speak your clear Yes.

Under the weight of impossibility,
despite all our explanations,
you rise.

In the thickest un-creation,
in the deepest darkness
you command light.

In failure and emptiness,
in utter rot and decay,
you thrive.

How do you
turn dying into living,
melt evil into mercy?

By your grace
the grave empties itself
into you.

Christ is risen
hand in hand with me
and I am hauled into your glory.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 5, 2021