God, give me courage
to stand with Martin,
not to pay his cost, but mine;
to walk in Martin’s shadow,
full of light,
to trust I need not be heroic,
but with faith unveil
the light within me,
and trust the night is made beautiful
by the tiniest of stars
splendored through the darkness.
This is not a day that needs another sun,
but a night that needs
all its stars.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

The wine

You could argue
about where
it came from,
he might have pulled it off,
it really happened
or is John’s artful opening
to a series of signs,
it’s a real miracle
or a metaphor for something
in your own life
and if so
of what, or
what it means
to believe,
and argue about whether
all or many or only one
of these is correct,
and in fact you could be correct, or.
you could

taste the wine.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Why I picked those carrots

in late December,
mostly smaller than my pinkie because
I planted them too late,
but I dug them up anyway
with fingers cold and snow starting:
Because you shouldn’t walk away from what you started.
Because even late, this moment is a moment.
Because some were enough, and that is enough.
Because sometimes my fingers are hungry for dirt.
Because they called out to me… or murmured, anyway.
Because those who feel small and inadequate
have gifts to give.
Because I don’t want the small carrots of my life
to not have been tasted.
Because some day I will die, and I don’t want to die
without having dug up carrots with my bare hands
with the snow swirling around me and life
coming up out of the ground.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Water to wine

           Now standing there were six stone water jars
           for the Jewish rites of purification,
           each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

                           —John 2.6

you change the water of my life
into the wine of your touch,
if only I taste.
What was plain becomes mystery.
The cup of want
becomes jugs of abundance,
a lifetime.
The jars of obligation,
the pots of my attempts,
my hope of being acceptable,
my rite of shame and inadequacy,
you fill with delight instead.

Beloved, I see now—
this wedding must be mine.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Spiritual gifts

           To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
           for the common good.

                           —1 Corinthians 12.7

What gifts you have—your humor, your patience,
your love of beauty, your trust—
are not for you.
They are for the common good.

Jesus did not turn water into wine for himself.

Your spiritual gifts are whatever ways
the Spirit moves in you—
maybe a talent or ability,
maybe just the way you come at the world.
Your gifts include what you think of as weakness:
your ready tears, your slow pace, your silence;
the world needs those, too.

The community needs your gifts,
needs all of who you are.
Not the pretend parts,
the things you do to fit in
or to keep people from reacting.
But the real you, Spirit alive in you
in all her peculiar ways.

It’s not arrogant to share that with the world.
It’s evangelism.
Trust the God that lives in you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

One body

           Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
           and there are varieties of services, but the same Conductor;
           and there are varieties of activities,
           but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

                           —1 Corinthians 12.4-6

We think we are separate individuals
but we are one organism,
separate fingers of the same hand,
like aspen trees in a grove,
one tree with many trunks.

But we are not the same.
We are all different instruments
in the one divine orchestra.

Seek the wisdom to delight in both
our differences and our unity.
Seek the grace to both listen and sing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


           “You are my Child, the Beloved;
           with you I am well pleased.”

                           —Luke 3.22

A mother holds her newborn child,
gotten by pain and labor,
helpless and incompetent.
She loves her baby,
not for its behavior, not for its deserving,
but because love is her nature,
loving fiercely, like a raging river.
Her love is not determined by the child’s performance
but by her own heart.
Ask her if the child is good enough
and she will answer, “No.
She is perfect. Because she’s mine.”
There is no other reason, no variance.

You are a newborn child, fresh from God’s birth waters.
Your choices, though real, are immaterial to God’s adoration.
You can never be good enough, for there is no such thing.
It’s is God’s goodness, not yours,
that guarantees your belovedness.

Of course you are not deserving.
You may protest, “But, God, I’m not all that good.”
God will reply, “Oh, child, you’re so much worse than you know.
But I love you. You are my child, my Beloved,
with whom I am well pleased.”

Get over being good enough,
and your enemy being good enough.
You are God’s child, God’s Beloved,
with whom God is delighted.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


           Magi came asking, “Where is the child
           who has been born king of the Jews?
           For we observed his star at its rising,
           and have come to pay him homage.”
           When King Herod heard this, he was frightened,
           and all Jerusalem with him.

                           —Matthew 2.2

Herod worries for his crown,
and his minions for their supremacy,

for the way it was once
in the thoughts of their hearts.

A crowd storms the capitol.
The army is sent to Bethlehem.

And at home, in the palace of my ego
my own Herod quakes.

The Sovereign of Love
and the Empire of fear

have both revealed themselves.
Who will I serve?

Will I cede power
to the Sovereign of Love?

Stand with the power of grace alone,
the courage of self-giving?

Or try to take the country back
for myself and my kind?

Lead me, star of gentleness,
home by another road.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Still? Seriously?

           This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.
                           —Mark 13.8

Seriously—January 5th, and we’re still on Christmas?
Can’t we move on, now?

We follow a different path than the rest of the world.
They are rushing on to the next thing. Let them go.

This, today, this is the moving on.
This is the movement, the birthing,
which takes as long as it takes.
Justice unfolds slowly.
There’s no shortcut to the Realm of God,
no beginner’s luck to repentance.

Give thanks for a God who walks with us,
and with us, and with us.
And pack for a long trip.

But stop counting and be present.
Abandon escape. Renounce the desire
to be perennially elsewhere.
The One who Was and Ever Shall Be
Is. Now. Here.
That is enough.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


          Now when Jesus had been baptized
          and was praying,
          the heaven was opened.

                           —Luke 3.21

Look down
into still water

and see up
into clear heavens.

Be immersed in the depths
of the sky,

the deep earth of heaven.
They flow, they blend.

Here, your flesh of dust and breath,
of fire and water

held, opened,

immersed in the paradise
that opens and flows into the world.

There is no difference,
no separation.

Waters open, and heaven,
and your life,

and through opening,
blessed, flow.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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