Trinity prayer

O Loving Mystery,
womb of all that is
and womb within us,
silence and darkness
and gentle companion,
you who are beyond,
beside and within us,
unknowable and known,
eternal and waiting
to be born in us,
Lover and Beloved
and the Love that flows between,
we praise you and thank you
that we are members of your Body,
stewards of your light,
words of your song.
Sing in us; dance in us;
love in us, you who love us perfectly,
that the circle may be complete.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


           When the Spirit of truth comes,
           she will guide you into all the truth;
           for she will not speak on her own,
           but will speak whatever she hears,
           and she will declare to you the things that are to come.

                           —John 16.13

Spirit is not some ghost floating around
but God, the energy of love itself,
in you.
You will not hear voices in the air
telling you secrets.
You will learn to attend to the Witness
who is there within you,
the Openness who knows the truth,
the Presence who gives voice to what is loving.
You will come to know what you know,
to truly see what you see and hear what you hear,
and walk on that path.
She will guide you, and day by day
you will learn to listen.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Going through the motions

Little kids in a Karate class,
the usual mix of discipline and squirreliness.
Learning the moves, repeating the moves.
The posture, the punch, the follow-through.
They don’t all understand what they’re doing or why.
Practicing the moves, the stance, the focus.
Going through the motions
until they are natural.

No different from Yo-Yo Ma on the cello,
Babe Ruth in batting practice:
go through the motions.

So I practice the moves.
The gratitude, the forgiveness, the compassion.
Go through the motions.
The trust, the silence, the openness, the prayer. 
This is how you become a master.
Today I will go through the motions.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Receiving yourself

Today is our anniversary.
Beth and I have been at this for 42 years.
I’m grateful for how lucky I am.
And I’m pleased that after such a short time
I’ve begun to get better at this,
at giving myself
wholly and joyfully,
and grateful for how
by giving yourself,
to art or a person or a cause or whatever,
by giving yourself
you most deeply become yourself,
receiving more than you have given.
Lucky you are
who have something worthy
to give yourself to,
and therefore such a rich way
to receive yourself.
And most lucky you are indeed
if that is love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


The sparrow hops among the bits,
cocks its head to the spots among the rocks,
little seeds, or less, hiding in the grit,
shaded under the patio table,
specks on the windbrushed street.
It rests, satisfied, on the wristy branch,
hops down again, finds food,
and, thankful, throaty, thrives.

God grant me sparrow eyes.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


The hills curve around us
           Light rises, deepens, lengthens
A dancer begins
A musician is joined
Every bed is your deathbed
There is always an opening
           Never a dead end
           And the light, growing
           A small fire
Our Mother
           The sound of footsteps with us

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Be light

Keep silence.
Cry out.

Be still.

Hunger deeply.
Be satisfied.

Love kindly. Do justice.
Walk humbly with God.

Even in darkness
be light.

You are nothing
but the light passing through you.

In this is your strength
and the glory of God
that will prevail
to the ends of the earth.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

God is an act

God is not a guy out there somewhere,
not a thing, but energy,
the energy of love,
the love that makes being be,
not a being,
but being itself, “I AM.”
I BE, being.
God is an act.
An act of love,
since that’s what love is:
not a feeling, but an act,
even it it’s an invisible act
of regard.
When you love someone,
even poorly,
God is.
The more you love
the more God you make happen.
This is the mystery of the Holy Spirit,
that it is given to us to make real.
The fire burns in us,
even when we don’t know it.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


            Filled with the Holy Spirit
            they began to speak in other languages,
            as the Spirit gave them ability.

                      —Acts 2.4

So much of our words are foreign even to us.
“How are you?” “OMG.” “See ya later.”
We don’t even know what we mean.
What would it be like to have words
for the depths of the dark river flowing in us,
or even the light playing on the curls of its surface?
What would it be like to give voice
to the chorus humming their symphony in us,
the knot of old women singing their ancient wordless song,
what would it sound like to speak our love into the air
or into another’s heart?
What ancient tongue could pass on,
like putting a coin in someone’s hand,
what astonishing wonders we’ve seen,
what love we’ve known?
How might we speak to give voice to the silenced?
What language would convey it
when we listen to a foreigner not knowing their words
but knowing their sorrow, their joy?
What silent form of speech would translate
one turning their heart inside out for us
and us listening, hearing,
the electricity of that connection?
How might we learn to hear
in a tongue we didn’t grow up with
a story as real as ours?
For this mystery we pray,
to lose the words and receive the gift of tongues
for listening,
tongues like hands that reach across
to hands reaching out to us,
fluent in the silence of the soul’s native tongue.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


Memorial Day:
we remember those who have
made the ultimate sacrifice.
“The price of freedom,” we intone,
believing in violence,
trusting it absolutely
to make us free,
knowing there are others,
the young and innocent,
we will ask to pay that price,
to be the lambs we sacrifice
in our religion of violence,
as we hold high and sanctify
our guns.
We send our young off
to the battlefield to kill,
to the school to be shot.
We will not repent, not yet,
or seek to become more gentle people;
God grant us the honesty to confess
that we do indeed, without apology,
practice child sacrifice.
Already the next classroom,
without spot or blemish,
is being prepared.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light