Last Advent season, in 2021, I wrote a bunch of poem/prayers, responding to different daily one-word prompts offered by my church.
This Advent season felt like a good time to revisit these prayers and share some of the ones that still resonate. This one is on theme: open.
Open God, I want to be open with an openness that knows its boundaries and guards them zealously. An openness that wells up from deep within and is not pressed or forced or manipulated. I want to shut out so much. I need to learn to shut out so much: the insulters, the tired misogynist tropes, the name-callers, the actors in bad faith. And yet, as I learn to shut them out, I want to be open. Open to wonder. To awe. To the things I have yet to learn. Open to beauty, to nature, to art. Open to joy, to breaking open and being remade. Open to challenge and correction from those who love me and are for me. Open to letting people surprise me with their generosity, their kindness, their capacity for transformation. There is goodness in the world. It is not only sorrow. God, in your extravagant profligate openness you created humans— raw, unpredictable, glorious, fickle. You know everything but were open to being surprised by us. Help me be open to being surprised, too. Amen.
Are there parts of this prayer that you feel? Other prayers or reflections that come to mind when you think of openness?
On an unrelated note, this is what I’ve been up to writing-wise since the last update (and as a reminder, you can always go to the “on the web” page to see what’s new…or old…).
- Do Not Worry: A Communal Approach (Red Letter Christians)
For a while (like, October 2021 – Feb 2022), I was blogging a lot about the passage in Matthew where Jesus tells people not to worry. It started with a mini-sermon from church and then went all sorts of places, from worry as a good thing, to the feminine side of God, to what does and doesn’t add an hour to our lives, to what it might look like to learn from the wildflowers. And those are just a few.
Do Not Worry: A Communal Approach is a piece I wrote as part of that series and then thought, I wonder if someone wants to publish this one. Many months later, here we are!
2. On Hope: Prayers & Reflections (Christians for Social Action)
This is the first in a four-part series on the weekly themes of Advent (hope, peace, love, joy). It incorporates some of the prayers I wrote last year with new reflections on what these words might mean in our world. Featuring lots of engagement with activist scholars & writers.
3. When Clarity of Belief is Important (Patheos)
I wrote some things about my discomfort with belief statements and how they’re sometimes used – but of course everything is more complicated than that. When Clarity of Belief is Important adds a little of that complexity, particularly with LGBTQ+ people/communities in mind.
4. A Crisis of Authority – or, Life in the Mud (Patheos)
Starting off a series of reflections on how my views of authority (Bible, church, pastors, etc.) have changed over time. This post explores in a general way what crises of authority can look like…and how they can feel.
As always, thoughts about any of this are very welcome!