Do good or harm

         Jesus said to them, “Is it lawful
         to do good or to do harm on the sabbath,
         to save life or to kill?”
         But they were silent.
                   —Mark 3.4

Jesus breaks no commandments,
dismisses no law.
He radicalizes them,
distills them down to their essence
and magnifies them.

The laws of God are not rules to follow,
they’re the way of resisting harm
and giving life,
not merely avoiding moral error
but doing good.

There is no neutral position,
no bystanding. Silence in the face of evil
is evil.

The good news is
it is lawful to do miracles.

God, help me
to join in your life-giving work,
not to avoid mistakes,
but to bless, to heal,
to plant the seeds of your grace,
in your Spirit, to do miracles.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 31, 2021

Space for the Trinity

Soul, do you feel a tinge of awe?
Praise the Holy One, who is.

Do you feel the balm of an unseen companion?
Thank the Son, who is present.

Do you feel the courage, the rising of love?
Honor the Holy Spirit, who breathes in you.

Soul, do you sense the mystery that can’t be sensed,
the giving that is a gift,
the Beyond that is within you?
Bow down and leap up,
for the Holy Trinity
has found space to rest and dance in you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 28, 2021

Flesh and spirit

         If you live according to the flesh, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death
the deeds of the body, you will live.
                   —Romans 8.13

In living by the flesh
Paul doesn’t mean sex and chocolate.
It doesn’t mean the body is bad.
(The Word was made flesh!)
Living according to the flesh means living
as if “you“ are just this individual
enclosed in your body.

Instead—mystery!— by the Holy Spirit’s grace
you are not one isolated individual:
you are a cell in the whole cosmic body of Christ.
“You“ include everything.
Like your breath, which is not just what’s in your lungs,
it’s what you breathe
which is the air all around you,
all around the earth, one atmosphere
in everybody’s lungs,
one breath, One spirit, one body.

You are not your little finite mortal flesh,
you are our vast living Body.
We are the rest of you.
(So you really do love your neighbor as yourself.)
Living by the Spirit is mindfulness
of your belonging in the Holy One,
empowered and guided by God’s infinite love,
your every word and deed
an act of love for the Whole and its members.
This is what it is to really, truly live.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 27, 2021

Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity, as someone has said,
is not two men and a bird.
It isn’t a doctrine, it’s a mystery:
not a puzzle to be solved
but a wonder to beheld.

The Trinity is an icon you gaze at
free of the distracting hubris of understanding,
an image of God’s shape-shiftiness,
God’s three-dimensionality
(the three dimensions being Here, There, and Everywhere),
God as This and the Opposite of This
and None of the Above.
The Trinity is
the sound of three hands clapping.

There are not three separate people: there is One.
There are not billions of things in the universe:
there is One.

The Trinity is an image of God as loving community
(God is crazy about themselves)—
the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love flowing between,
the Three-In-One in which you are the fourth member.

The Holy Trinity is the gate of heaven
which is always closed,
preventing you from trying to figure out a way in,
so instead you just give up and fall in love.
I mean, look at them. How could you not?

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 26, 2021

Dear Nicodemus remind me

That I don’t have to sneak around at night.
My questions are worthy of daylight.

Not to settle for literalism
when something deeper awaits.

That being once born, and born again
is not enough, but every breath,
every little life and death.

That by God’s atmosphere in me
I am not confined to my flesh
but boundless.

That I am not my own, but blown
by a breath I can’t control.

That what I hear in the dark
will come out in the light,
bringing me also
into the light.

                   —John 3

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 25, 2021


Divine Spring,
welling up from darkness,
life-giving flow,

sometimes I need to go down
the steep weedy bank,
get down on hands and knees
under the brambles
and clear out the rubble,
dead things, even
the living stones
blocking the energy
flowing through me.

But—my, my—
no matter how clogged I am
you flow anyway,
unceasing, clear,
carrying me beyond me.

To choose to be taken….

Open me
to flow with the Spirit
you pour out in me.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 24, 2021


One Spirit,
one Body.

Holy One,
         we are all one in you.
Already One.
         Already Holy.
Already yours.

All our love,
even of strangers,
         is purely returning.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 21, 2021


Winds pummel and scream,
the tops of buildings blown off,
half the landscape tumbling by.

But leaves are undisturbed,
the little tin vane waves gently,
the candles burn straight and calm.

And yet inside these people
silently, meekly,
the rush of irresistible winds.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 20, 2021


         When the day of Pentecost had come,
         they were all together in one place.
         And suddenly from heaven there came a sound
         like the rush of a violent wind,
         and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
                   —Acts 2.1-1

How do you find you way in this life?—
with no true destination,
so many urging paths,
a hundred little blue lines,
a thousand competing maps.
The choice is ongoing, and fraught.

Let the map go.
Be a cloud in the wind of God.
Clouds go where the wind takes them,
rising when heated,
falling as rain,
but never resisting.
Their power is in the wind,
and their closeness to it.

         Wind of God, lead me.
         Breath of God, bear me on.

Weather Report

as a warm mass of the Rising One
draws air from lung to lung,
with gusts of beauty, courage and compassion.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 19, 2021

Pentecost prayer

Fire of God,
be my light.

Heat of God,
be my fuel.

Furnace of God,
purify me.

Blaze of God,
be my upward leaping.

Spirit of God,
may I burn with your love,

your passion to spread mercy
in this flammable world.

Flame of God,
be my breath.

Wind of God,
be my steady leading.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May 18, 2021

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