The devil said to him,
           “If you are the Son of God,
           command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
           Jesus answered him, “It is written,
           ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
                           —Luke 4.3-4

So much we are hungry for that does not feed us.
So many stones we wish we could turn to bread.

Call them to mind. Hold these stones in your hand,
feel their grey mass, their lightless insides,

the weight of disappointment, the hard edges
of refusal, the dense failure to satisfy.

You can’t change them. Cease gnawing on them.
Let them be stones. Set them down.

In the breeze feel the breath of the Present One,
moving among the unmoving stones, light and sweet.

Let yourself be nourished by that wind, freely flowing,
invisible, rich with grace, thick with energy.

Even among the hungering stones the Spirit lives;
even in barren places love offers its merciful bread.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


We are dust and breathing—
sadly, more attached
to the dust than the breathing.
We are the mark of sorrow,
not a body but particles:
ashes of grief, borne on wind,
ash of 9/11, of towns burned,
dust of Mosul, of Kyiv,
of a million dead,
of ten million enslaved.
Time’s faint dust settles on us,
till we ourselves become
a faint layer in the earth.
Living among death and its dealers,
we stand at the edge
of our own grave.
Our dust cries silently
not merely of our evil
but most deeply of our sorrow,
our need to be saved,
to be revived, to regain our breath.
And so, Forgiving One,
you both stain and anoint us,
mark us and heal us:
we bear your agony on our foreheads;
you bear our sorrow,
so we may bear you.
You who breathe us into life,
Spirit that blows where you will,
gather tenderly our grieving dust
up from the earth
and breathe into us once again
that we may become a living being.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Shrove Tuesday

To shrive is
to hear one’s confession
and to impose penance
and to forgive.
All of them.

Before Lent even begins
God has heard your sorrow and regret
and you already know what you need to do
and now—before all else—
you are forgiven.

The Beloved whispers to you
every morning,
“I know you are broken.
There is a way forward.
I will love you no matter what.”

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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