Monday, December 24, 2007

The Dawn of Innocence

Monday, December 24, 2006

[NOTE: I'll be taking some time off beginning tomorrow. Next Morning Reflection will be December 31]

"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
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from (go to St. Paul's Home Page and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 939)
Morning Prayer: Psalms 45, 46; Baruch* 4:36 - 5:9; Galatians 3:23 - 4:7; Matthew 1:18-25
*found in the Apocrypha
Evening Prayer: Psalm 89:1-29; Isaiah 59:15b-21; Philippians 2:5-11

"Look toward the east... and see the joy that is coming to you from God," cries Baruch. Not only does his invitation invite us to invoke the coming morning with all of its new possibility, but more than that, Baruch rejoices at the return of the lost children. "Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction... and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God." We will dress up, says the prophet, in royal garb. "Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. For God will give you evermore the name, 'Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.'"

So many literary masterpieces have as their theme our common human experience of the loss of our innocence. Although there are a few remarkable people who seem to retain a natural and intuitive sense of connectedness to God, most of us feel like we have lost something along the way -- our innocence; a natural sense of freedom and spontaneity. Maybe that is why children are so attractive to us. We can see in them what we have lost. Next to children, we can feel somehow sullied, spoiled, compromised from the wondrous and bright possibilities we once embraced for ourselves.

Part of the Biblical Messianic hope is the return of innocence and hope. In a dream Joseph is told that the child in Mary's womb will be named "Jesus", the Greek word for Joshua, meaning "God saves / God helps." The angel states that "he will save his people from their sins." Forgiveness. A new lease on life. Renewed innocence. The sun comes up in the east and all is renewed.

God's gift is in some sense the return of childhood. We are renewed in innocence. We may put off the adult garment of our sorrow and affliction, the sense of separation that defines sin. We can play "dress up." God gives us royal "robes of righteousness" and a crown, "the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting." It is God's desire to be with us and to restore our dignity and innocence so we may be joyful. "For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him."

God invites us to see ourselves anew in Jesus. Joy comes like the sun rising from the east. It is the childlike joy of knowing that we belong and we are beloved. We can relax as God's children. We are like royalty, like dress-up kings and queens in the home of the ultimate Ruler. We don't have to do anything to live with royal confidence. We have royal inheritance. We always have been God's royal family; we have always been heirs of divine life.

The birth of the child reminds and effects the reconciliation. In the most modest of circumstances, childlike union with God happens. We are invited to see ourselves through that image. "Righteous Peace; Godly Glory."

Maybe we went away from our true heritage, walking off "led away by ...enemies," our own anxious undoing. But God brings our childlike inheritance back. We are "carried in glory, as on a royal throne."

The sun will come up again soon. I can see the first blue of dawn. "Arise...; look toward the east." A new day invites me to embrace my true identity. I am God's child; God's beloved. Time to dress up and play. Anything is possible.


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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
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

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


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful reflections throughout the year. I have tried doing the daily office, and have not managed to commit enough time to do it regularly. Your podcasts allow me to have some spiritual time on a daily basis. It makes a huge difference in my life. Have a blessed Christmas!

At 7:54 AM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

As above, thank you Lowell.

At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I could speak in any
language in heaven or
on earth but didn't love
others, I would only be
making meaningless noise
like a loud gong or a
clanging cymbal. If I
had the gift of prophecy,
and if I knew all the
mysteries of the future
and knew everything
about everything, but
didn't love others, what
good would I be? And
if I had the gift of faith
so that I could speak
to a mountain and make
it move, without love
I would be no good to
anybody. If I gave
everything I have to
the poor and even
sacrificed my body,
I could boast about it;
but if I didn't love others,
I would be of no value
whatsoever. Love is
patient and kind. Love
is not jealous or boastful
or proud or rude. Love
does not demand its
own way. Love is not
irritable, and it keeps
no record of when it
has been wronged.
It is never glad about
injustice but rejoices
whenever the truth
wins out. Love never
gives up, never loses
faith, is always hopeful,
and endures through
every circumstance.

May You Always
Experience This
Kind Of Love,
Dr. Howdy

P.S. Here's some blogs & videos
that I found of interest as
I negotiated my way through

Every Student
My Blog Video
Religion Comparison
Avoid This Place
Danish Cartoons
Arabic Cartoons
Muhammad or Jesus???
Answering Islam
Is Jesus God?
A Short Look At Six World Religions
God's Word in different languages...
How to become a Christian
Who Is Jesus?
See The Word
Watch The Jesus Movie
Spanish Cartoons
German Cartoons
Chinese Cartoons
Italian Cartoons
Greek Cartoons
Japanese Cartoons
Portuguese Cartoons
Around the Well
French Cartoons
Hindi Cartoons
Russian Cartoons
Little Girl
Get Saved?
You & Sin City
Mysterious Disappearance
Evolution Video
The Departure
You Need To See This
'Thought & Humor'

Tell me sometime what your
thoughts are about all this:O)

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Doug, UP, & Dr. Howdy,

Thank your for your kind words. And Happy New Year.



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