Open is hard. Last week, our home was broken into. A few electronics and jewelry that was mostly sentimental in value were stolen. We were lucky, really. No people or pets were hurt. Memories cannot be taken. Stuff can be replaced. What has really been taken is our sense of security. Our immediate response has been to batten down the hatches. Replace locks. Fortify doors. Beef up security. Our eyes are open, all right, but what we are looking for is danger. We fear for our lives.
In the spring of 2006, my mother captured this photo of baby redbirds nesting in a rose bush. They are so open! So trusting! So vulnerable! And that is what makes openness so very difficult. Open is vulnerable. Open is risky. Open can be downright dangerous. When we are open, anyone can come in. And, let’s face it, more than a few jackals, lions and ravenous beats prowl the streets. So it is no wonder that our natural inclination is to shut down. Close ranks. Slam the doors of our hearts and slide the deadbolts securely into place.
But, the irony is that, when we lock ourselves away, we are not open to anyone. Sure, we are not open to predators, but we are also not open to friends, lovers, or helpers. We are not open to the Savior.
This time of year we often sing, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus… from our fears and sins release us.” But, if the Savior is to come, we must be open to receive him. And that requires trust. And faith. And hope.
Have you ever watched children take communion? Many times they will stick their tongues into the little “shot” glasses to get every last drop of juice. I want to be like that. I want to be hungry for God, hungry for grace, hungry for truth, hungry for righteousness, hungry for Jesus. How about you?
Let us pray: Loving God, open us to the saving power of your Holy Spirit. Open our eyes to your truths and our hearts to our neighbors. Amen.