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Paradigm of Openness

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!


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Ann Fontaine

A great meditation to end one year and begin anew! Thanks Lowell for a year of things to ponder.

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