Monday, December 31, 2012

Paradigm of Openness

Monday, December 31, 2012 -- Christmas
Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Bishop in the Niger Territories, 1891

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 940)

Morning Prayer
Psalms 46, 48
Isaiah 26:1-9
2 Corinthians 5:16 - 6:2
John 8:12-19

Evening Prayer (Eve of Holy Name)

Psalms 90
Isaiah 65:15b-25
Revelation 21:1-6

St. Paul proclaims today:  If anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation.  The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!  All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

It is a good text for the cusp of a new year.  And it reminds me of a favorite quote from Robert J. Wicks.  He calls this Paradigm of Openness:

Have low expectations and high hopes.  Have low expectations of people so you don't force them directly or indirectly to meet certain anticipations you might have as to how they should or should not respond to you and your actions.   But have high hopes for them based on a ruthless faith in God that something good, something dear and beautiful will come of it if you are looking and listening with an open heart.

Forgive yourself and other people for their defensiveness.  Being cautious is natural for faithless and hopeless persons -- and we all fall into this category more or less.

Be as open as possible to being surprised by the encounter.  In other words, we must not look for our god and reactions that we feel would be important and right.  We must position ourselves instead to see whatever we will see amidst the joy, pain, apathy, anxiety, peace, depression, or tension we experience.  When we are truly open, we will be surprised by something in the encounter.  And that surprise -- that unique presence of God -- can be called by another name: holiness.

(from Robert J. Wicks, Living Simply in an Anxious World, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1988, p. 33)

Happy New Year!


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

About Morning Reflections
"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

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 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home