Armor of God

         Put on the whole armor of God.
                   —Ephesians 6.11

You can’t wear two suits of armor at once.
Wear either the armor of defensiveness,
the armor of being right, of superior power;
or the armor of God: the armor of love.

Dare to walk into this world
unshielded from hurt and disappointment,
unprotected except by your faith in grace
and your trust in the Love at the heart of all things.
Be willing to be wrong, to be humiliated,
to be powerless, to suffer for love.
Let there be no armor, no barrier
between you and life.

Love is vulnerability,
which is receptiveness to life.
Therein lies its power.
It’s the armor of God.

You will be wounded; but you will live.
You will not be safe, but you will be saved.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 17, 2021

Hang in there

         When many of his disciples heard it, they said,
         “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”
         Many of his disciples turned back
         and no longer went about with him.
         So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”
         Simon Peter answered him, “Teacher, to whom can we go?
         You have the words of eternal life.”
                   —from John 6.60-68

See them, both, struggling?
Disciples not sure they can follow such a radical teacher.
Jesus maybe just testing them,
but maybe unsure he’ll have any friends left.
Both asking of the other:
“Can you hang in there with me?”

The Truth is like that, pushing us to the limits of our trust.
It will not let up.
Relationships are like that.
Much is at stake if we stay, more if we leave.

The gift of wisdom lies in staying,
the gift of life that can’t be taken from us.
So we accept our fear, befriend the mystery,
embrace the risk, and hang in there.
We love one who’s hard to love,
follow a wisdom that’s hard to follow,
practice a love that is sometimes terrifying.

Here, in this present moment, not in escape,
is our freedom, our life, our power.
Half the gift is in the beloved, in the Truth.
The other half is simply in the hanging in there.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 16, 2021

A break

Sometimes I just stare at the flowers.

You may be weary.
Maybe the world weighs heavy on you.
You might feel you don’t have a prayer in you.
Well, some days your soul doesn’t need to work so hard.
Souls get tired. Sick, even. 
Some days yours just needs a little TLC.
Sometimes what our soul needs is not more discipline
but something comforting and nourishing. 
Maybe even something fun.
Give your soul a break.

When your soul is weary or unwell
do something nice for your soul.
Even something silly.
Feed it with grace at the roots. 

If that day is not today, it will come. 
You have permission.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 13, 2021


Beauty is God’s bait.
She sets it out and waits

for you to notice.
You pause and gaze,

and, God hopes, linger a bit,
rapt, while she stares at you

because she loves seeing
your face like that.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 12, 2021

Live forever

         “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
         Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”
                   —John 6.51

Live forever? Really? Billions of years?
Doing what? You can’t even abide slow traffic,
or—God forbid!— a long worship service.
I’m not buying it. You don’t want to live forever.
I bet what you want is to matter forever.
Which is pure ego. Let it go.

On the other hand,
when you eat the bread of heaven—
heaven being not the sky but the heart of all things—
you live at the heart of Being.
And in your union you extend beyond yourself,
become one with eternity,
not as a way to sustain your ego
but as pure love.

The way to live forever
is to love the world so much
you become it.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 11, 2021

Eat me

         “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood
         abide in me, and I in them.”
                   —John 6.56

Beloved One,
Love made real in this world,
you who create, you who bless:
drawn by your grace
like the aroma of fresh bread,
I savor you. I take you in.
I eat the flesh of your presence.
I drink the blood of your love.

Enter me.
Become me.
Be my strength and health,
my nerve and muscle.
By your grace
make me into the bread of your life.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 10, 2021


Our son just got married.
(A bride we love,
an island on the central Maine coast,
two families and a few friends, all beautiful.)

When someone pledges faithfulness
to someone you love—
our beloved son, so blessed!—
you receive a gift.
When someone extends love
toward the world you love
you receive a gift—
you, beloved, so blessed!

When you are faithful to another
you make the world whole.

All of life is the celebration
of the Beloved’s wedding to the world.
(Let’s dance, yes?)

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 9, 2021


        No one comes to the Father except through me.
                   —John 14.6

        No one can come to me
        unless drawn by the Father who sent me
                   —John 6.44

Don’t make it exclusive and complicated.
This is not about a religious requirement.

God is love.
Jesus is God’s Word (love) made flesh.
No one experiences God except by experiencing love.
It’s God’s gift, God’s love working in us,
that opens us up to love.

No one falls unless drawn by gravity.
Love is the gravity that draws us to Love.

Beloved, come down to earth.
Go ahead and fall
in love with God.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 6, 2021

The end of life

         “This is indeed the delight of God,
         that all who see the Beloved and believe in that one
         may have eternal life;
         and I will raise them up on the last day.”
                   —John 6.40

When you see
love made real in this world
you come to trust it,
and receive it as a gift,
which brings with it life, deep life,
life that can’t be taken from you,
life that is eternal.
Connected so intimately
with Love and the Source of all Love,
you are raised by Love
beyond all grief and trouble,
beyond pain and death,
raised not by your faith or anything of yours,
but raised by the Beloved’s delight in you,
raised by Love’s love for you.
The end of all life is delight.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 5, 2021

Coming to Jesus

Dearly Beloved,

         “I am the bread of life.
         Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
         and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.“
                   —John 6.35

What does it mean to come to Jesus?
Maybe more than that moment of belief.
Maybe the coming is longer than one aisle.
Maybe it’s a lifetime of listening
to his inside-out invitations,
wrestling with his parables that wrestle you
to the floor over and over,
watching him love the unlovely from up close,
finding him in the unexpected,
among your enemies, among the unacceptable.
Maybe it’s just eating bread with him,
just sitting with him at the table, simply being there.
Maybe it’s receiving the bread in his hand,
receiving encouragement, hope, healing,
actually receiving divine love actually offered.

Maybe it’s not the arriving at all but the coming:
the turning, and turning again;
the walk, away from otherwise;
the seeking, the asking, the openness,
the reaching out with an open hand
(offering help or asking?),
the reaching that feeds our hunger,
never to stop reaching out,

even into the mystery

reaching out.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

August 4, 2021

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