You are the light of the world.
                           —Matthew 5.14

Einstein told us:
matter is just energy holding still.

Light is the energy of God,
which is love moving.

“Let there be light,” God said,
and you were conceived.
You are love made matter,
Word made flesh,
the light of God, the light of Being,
momentarily here in this form,
shining, radiating God.

You don’t need to produce it
or generate it. It’s who you are.
When you are truly yourself

it shines.

The world sparkles
with people walking around gleaming.
Even on our deathbeds, we glow.

Trust your light. Give thanks.
Open the shutters of your lantern.

           Let your light so shine before others,
           that they may see by it,
           and glorify God.


Audio version:

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

My soul

My mind skips.
        My soul sits.

My mind wants.
        My soul thanks.

My feelings shout.
        My soul listens.

My body waits.
        My soul waits.

And God, my Love,
        is present.


Audio version:

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Open my eyes

Holocaust Remembrance Day

God of Mercy, open my eyes to your goodness.
Open my eyes to the other stuff, too.
Keep me aware of the injustice that is around me,
the signs of oppression, the victims of hate.
Keep me always mindful that I am capable of evil.
Help me be honest about my complicity in systems
that blame, exploit, dehumanize or exclude people.
Rather than say “Never again!”—as if it lies the future—
help me be aware of the present moment
and how I can stand today with the vulnerable,
and against injustice.
Each moment is a choice.
Be with me in my choosing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Fisher of people

            “Follow me, and I will have you fish for people.”
                           —Matthew 4.19

What net might I cast into the sea of my life
that would make me a fisher of people?
Only love.
Not my desires and expectations, not my being right.
Only experiencing their belovedness
will draw them to God.
Regard them all, friend, enemy and stranger,
with the infinite gentleness and respect of Christ,
the delight and compassion of God.
A great multitude, all of Creation,
is held in that gleaming net.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Poor in spirit

           Blessed are the poor in spirit,
           for theirs in the realm of heaven.
                           —Matthew 5.3

Eternal God,
I humbly confess my riches,
illusory as they are,
to which I cling:
that I am right,
that I am acceptable, or ought to be,
that I have reason to be beloved,
or to be abandoned.
I have hoarded worthiness
and unworthiness.
I have kept account.

I am sorry, and I renounce
my whole account,
and all to which I cling.
I repent of the wealth
of what I think and what I fear
and what I want.

O I am truly poor; I have nothing
but this one breath, and its release,
and my openness to you.

Bereft as air, I await
the song of your grace
to fill me, bless me, redeem me.

Keep me free,
and sustain my blessed poverty,
an open hand,
reaching out in this present moment,
to your open hand.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Great achievement

The universe will not applaud you
for astonishing accomplishments.
Angels won’t go around talking about you
for your notable achievements.
God doesn’t care if you succeed.

What gives the Beloved joy
is that—even in your limited circumstances,
with only the gifts the Spirit gives you,
without notice, reward or acclaim—
you act justly, love mercifully,
and walk humbly with God.
That really is all God asks.
That is enough to give God deep joy,
deep joy.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Beatitudes for when church is hard

God says:
I give my love to you who aren’t sure what you believe;
           I believe in you.

I give you my love when religion breaks your heart,
           for I, not religion, will be your comfort.

I give my love to you who are timid
in the face of a domineering church,
           for you belong in my arms.

I give my love to you who are hungry for more;
           I will feed your soul.

I give my love to you who seek to be loving, not right;
           for that is all I ever wanted.

I give my love to you who don’t pretend just to fit in;
           you see clearly, don’t you?

I give my love to you who work for peace:
           yes, that’s my child.

I give my love to you when people judge you
           and kick you out,
for that’s pretty much what it looks like sometimes
           to follow Jesus.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


When you’re young,
and your heart falls for that special one,
you daydream about them, don’t you?
You notice them out of the whole crowd.
You watch, you know their routine.
You plant yourself, casually as you can
right where you know they come out of class,
or go to work, right up that sidewalk
as they come the other way—
you do it more than once—
so you can just happen to bump into them,
even for a fleeting conversation,
and maybe more, oh you hope,
a little more.

So the Beloved haunts your ways,
hoping for a brief encounter,
hoping, oh, hoping
for maybe a little more.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

The other world

           Repent, for the realm of heaven has come near.
                           —Matthew 4.17

Trade in your whole mind for a new one,
your eyes for a different set.

The world is a thin place. Step over the boundary
between seen and unseen—so near, so near.

Magnetic fields whorl about us,
dancing in a galactic web.

In your gut your microbiome flourishes,
a communion of saints within you.

In every leaf and bug the infinite stirs,
the immanent looms.

In every morning, every street corner,
every slant of sun, grace thrums.

In every moment, every place,
love sings, its gravity unfailing.

In every word, every cup of tea,
the Beloved impends.

Our formulas, decrees, price tags—
all snake oil.

The surface of things is the other world.
Beneath is this one.

The music—
do you hear it?

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


The wind blows whitecaps on the river,
as if to shove the whole thing upstream.

It’s unrelenting, the pressure
to go that way.

You can hardly think for yourself
with all the news of what you need to do,

directions up so many streets,
a different wind on every street.

But beneath the wind the river, unmistaken,
flows to the sea.

Listen deep, beneath the playlist,
the parade drums, the spangled desperations:

the serene “follow me” of love, silent,
already in you, drawn, flowing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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