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6800 Oakland Mills Road
Columbia, Maryland 21045

 

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Boundless Openness

I am always amazed at the openness of the seas. As I flew to Ghana two weeks ago, I peered through the window and looking out, saw the open skies, the open seas. And when flying over the Sahara desert I viewed even more still, saw the open dessert which stretched for miles and miles on end. From the perspective, every so often you will see a long winding road through the desert. “Where is this road leading to?” I will ask myself. You can see, from thirty thousand feet, small settlements in the desert. “Who are these people who live there?” I wonder. The point of being curious is to be enthralled by the boundless openness of your thoughts and dreams. And, if I may ask, what are your dreams? What fascinates you the most and gives you enough reason to take a pause and take it all in? Do you feel any constraints to those dreams, thoughts and fascinations?


Boundless Openness is a unique character of the Christian faith. It is the kind of openness which takes us directly into the heart of the Easter mystery. Boundless openness demands that a Christian must learn to let go, to Passover, to die. The powerful conclusion is to come back to a resurrected life. In many ways, that’s the enchantment. The power of a resurrected life generates boundless openness because we look at the world of possibilities.



Looking through the window of the airplane, all I saw was the vastness of space, the expanse of the ocean, and the limitlessness of the skies. These tell of something infinitely richer, fuller, and more inclusive than the often narrow, restricted and bounded perspectives. Openness is far more important than the close minded way of looking at things, because we are all human beings made in God’s image. Being open, then, helps in becoming more the person you are meant to be.


Summer is upon us; it is a season where we venture out into the open, take road trips, troop to the beach, go on a hike, and stay outdoors for as long as the sun is up; in effect, we stay open to the unending possibilities of making new friends, meeting new people on our walks, travels, and other social events. Summer springs upon us the beauty of being open.


Over the past couple of weeks and, in fact, the next couple of weeks, we will be celebrating our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, siblings, and friends who have, and will, graduate from high school, college, or an institution of higher learning. For us at Christ Church, we give thanks for Esther Olajide, Carla Spooner, Ben Atkins and Laura Mossier - all of whom graduated from their high schools. The beauty of giving thanks for these milestone presents us with the opportunity to also ponder on the extraordinarily boundless opportunities that lie in the future, and those which are open for further exploration.


In my own life, I have had the blessing of questioning any view that binds me to it or holds me in subjection, if you will. Like a bird which soars high to the skies and sees no limitation or hindrance in its desire to conquer any distance, I like to explore the unique gifts of being open, and staying open. I deeply enthralled by the intellectual capacity underpinning openness. Many are the stories that I have shared about the theological and cultural challenges that I had to deal with when I first arrived in the United States, and began serving at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia.


I often ask myself, “Where would I be if I had not embraced the gift of being open?” In fact, where would we all be if we had failed to open the door, ever-so-slightly, just to take a look at the breathtaking nature of a world that lies beyond our limitations? At some point during my flight to Ghana, I had to shut the window, and when I did I saw nothing but the white plastic covering it.


Oftentimes, that’s what life turns out to be; if we shut the only window we have to look outside, we become constrained to the very limited space our eyes can behold. But if we dare to open that very same window, we will see a world brimming with beauty, elegance and grace. It is a world for which we all dream, a world of boundless openness which beckons us to explore. It is a world full of people - God’s people. Yes, God’s people, who come in different shapes, sizes, forms and color. God’s people who fail each other and themselves, but also endear themselves to live resurrected lives. It is indeed a beautiful world because of its openness.


There’s nothing more fulfilling than being open. And our blessing is one of living in a society that prods us toward being open. Don’t shut that little window. Keep it open. That’s the only way you can enjoy the gift of God’s boundless openness.


Manny.

June 2019