Inward truth

         You desire truth in the inward being;
         therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
— Psalm 51. 6

When there is trouble there are always people to blame.
But I pray for the wisdom to look at myself—
not with blame, but curiosity.
What is my part in this?
What am I overlooking or denying?

King David sustained his denial until Nathan shattered it.
My evil may not be as monstrous, my lie as thick.
But—have I desired something other than people’s wellbeing?
What fear keeps me from seeking truth in the inward being?
Am I hiding from myself some attachment I can’t let go of,
that causes hurt?
Can I let it go, and let the light in?

God, you desire truth in the inward being.
Help me see, and honor the truth, and turn toward wholeness,
trusting that there, in my secret heart
beneath all shame and brokenness
is your grace.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 30, 2021

Equip one another

         The gifts God gave were that some would be apostles,
         some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
         to equip the saints for the work of ministry,
         for building up the body of Christ
                   —Ephesians 4.11-12

And some would be listeners, and some good humorists,
some lovers of babies, some survivors, some singers.
Some are hopers, some healers , some encouragers.
Some are  dreamers, some organizers, some workers.
No two sets of gifts are alike. None are inferior.
All are for building up, not tearing down,
all for the whole body, not themselves.
And no one is without. To be is to be gifted.

They are not talents, skills, privileges or obligations.
They are gifts. To be received. To be given.

Listen, believer, for the echo of your own calling,
the song of your own gifts. Listen, and follow.
Listen for the voice of one another’s gifts,
for everyone you meet is gifted.

We equip one another for love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 29, 2021

Junk food

         Do not work for the food that perishes,
but for the food that endures for eternal life
                   —John 6.27

The mouth of my heart waters for junk food,
the greed of my hands grasp at nothings.
Whatever I think I’m hungry for
shifts, persists, but does not feed me.
My true hunger is not outward but inward.

Beloved, I am really only hungry for you.
My lips are always having affairs.
My lust is hunger for you—only in another’s flesh.
My greed is for your presence in possessions.
My pride, your love hidden in people’s opinions.
But the true food isn’t there.
It’s only in you.

Give me wisdom to question my desires,
and to open myself to the inward grace
I seek in the outward thing.

Deepen my hunger for you, Beloved,
and spread the feast

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 28, 2021


Pilgrim, seek not some lasting feeling
of the presence of God.
If it comes it will be mysterious, and deep,
but brief, like the flight of the great blue heron,
opening his six-foot angelic wingspan
with the sound of fire, the color of mystery,
fluid and generous, like a priest blessing us—
and then gone.
It’s not the wings, but the flight you want.
To have it, you can’t keep it.
Let the wings open in your heart
even when you can’t see them.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 27, 2021

Undivided eye

Eternal One,
give me a single heart, to love you constantly,
and an undivided eye, to see you in all things,
to see the whole of things, not just what I want to see,
to see the infinite in the small
and the sacred in the mundane,
the light in things and the eternal in the particular.
Give me an undivided eye to see
this and not-this in one, light and dark inside each other,
Being gleaming at the center of all seeming.
May the eye of love be the lamp of my body
and fill me with light by the loveliness of my seeing.
Give me the eye to see the holy in every person,
your love that makes this world what it is,
the beauty flowering before it flowers,
your hope for this world before it appears.
Let its unfolding be the vision with which,
with an undivided eye, I see all things.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 26, 2021

A prayer for Bathsheba

         So David sent messengers to get Bathsheba,
         and she came to him, and he lay with her.
                   —2 Samuel 11.4

Let a cry of anguish go up
for those who have been brutalized,
whose trauma is hidden behind sedate words.

May the Holy Breath name
with tenderness and honor
those who have suffered rape and abuse.

Let a spirit of repentance lead us
to confess this crucifixion,
trust betrayed and power abused.

May a song of blessing arise
for those whose pain is belittled,
whose story is silenced.

Let the voice of light speak clearly
the terrors veiled in our texts
and masked by our power.

May the word of truth come home,
and break us of our adoration
of our heroes and their evil secrets.

Let the people’s prayers hold gently
the pain that flows like blood
among those who have been violated.

May the love of God enfold you, Bathsheba,
and all your sisters,
with healing, mercy and grace.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 23, 2021

Walking on water

         They saw Jesus walking on the sea
         and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.
         But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
         Then they wanted to take him into the boat,
         and immediately the boat reached the land
         toward which they were going.
                   —John 6.19-21

The point is not that Jesus “walks on water”
(whatever that means).
He walks on difficulty. Walks through trouble.
He walks, even, over impossibility.

Where he walks is not a little lake, not a great ocean,
but the world, where the Beloved
will not, even in your direst storms,
be remote, but will be there,
walking over it to you, serene, present,
no matter where you are.
It will never be hard for love to get to you.

The point is not miraculous teleportation.
It is that love will get you where you need to go.
When you awake, even terrified,
to the reality that the Beloved is with you,
you are where you were going.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 22, 2021


         Jesus took the loaves,
         and when he had given thanks,
         he distributed them to those who were seated;
         so also the fish, as much as they wanted
                   —John 6.11

He handed it out,
miraculously multiplying a handful of bread
into enough for five thousand,
miraculously multiplying a handful of time
to be present one at a time
for all five thousand.
As much as they wanted.

He stands before you,
looks into your eyes,
says your name,
and hands you this moment
blessed, and given to you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 21, 2021

Five loaves, two fish

         There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.
But what are they among so many people?
                   —John 6.9

You can’t do math on God.

The power of your gifts
is multiplied by a mystery.

always too small,
they are more than adequate,
with enough left over
for everyone (all twelve tribes).

This is a parable of the whole world.

Take, bless, and give.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 20, 2021

A blessing

By the beauty of God’s love for you,
your inner being is continually strengthened in love.
The body of God’s love in this world
is alive in you.
You are being rooted and grounded in love.

Trust that God is at work
powerfully within you,
and will accomplish abundantly far more
than all you can ask or imagine.

[Ephesians 3.16-17, 20]

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 19, 2021

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