Monday, October 22, 2007

Change & Presumption

Monday, October 22, 2007 -- -- Week of Proper 24

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html (go to St. Paul's Home Page www.stpaulsfay.org and click "Morning Reflection podcast")



Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Prayer Book, p. 988)
Psalms 25 (morning) 9, 15 (evening)
Jeremiah 44:1-14
1 Corinthians 15:30-41
Matthew 11:16-24

At the early service yesterday, our visiting preacher Corky Carlisle told a wonderful story about visiting a friend of his on her 104th birthday. She was alive and vital; she had learned three new languages during her 90's. Corky asked her for some of her wisdom and philosophy of life. How have you lived such an engaged and energetic life?

One of the things she said was that she had become comfortable with change and so she let go of her clinging to anything. Everything changes, she said. She cited the image of the mustard seed. Everything is moving from one way of being to another. The love of her life, her husband, had changed eighteen years before, going from this way of being to his new life. All of her life had been movement from one change to another. She learned sometime early to embrace and accept change, and not to cling to anything as it is. She also said she learned never to resist an impulse to generosity.

In today's reading from 1st Corinthians we can hear Paul expressing a similar detachment and trust. He speaks of the kind of ultimate hope that allowed him to fight with wild animals at Ephesus. He speaks of the kind of change that produces new life. "What you sow does not come to life unless it dies." And when it dies, it changes profoundly, like a bare seed which becomes wheat.

It is not easy to embrace change. In the gospel reading, Jesus scolds the towns where he has been working for their underwhelming response to his ministry. If such deeds had been done in the foreign towns of Tyre and Sidon, they would have responded more eagerly. Jesus pricks the bubble on all religious presumption. He puts an exclamation point on his speech by saying it will be "more tolerable" for the condemned legendary city of Sodom than for these places of lukewarm response.

There are few things that block our openness to the new and our welcome of change than our presumption. We believe we know what's going on, so we see what we expect to see. We presume to be satisfied with our own judgment, and we experience the anomaly that sets us on our ear. I have a friend who says "anomaly" is another word for "grace." Only when we surrender our attachments can we be open to change. Generosity is the stance of welcome toward the unexpected.

Lowell

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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
St
.
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

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