O, To Be Open by Brian Zahnd

Blind man at the gate

O to be open
It’s what the wise ones seek
It’s what the great souls attain

What’s a saint?
An Open One
Saint Francis and Mother Teresa were
Open
Open to God, open to Creation, open to the Other

We’re all born open — wide-eyed and wide open
What’s an infant?
An Open One
Wonder, learning, and love come easy to a
Child

But then we suffer the blows
And begin to
Close

By the time we’re a teen
We’re mostly tight shut
Happy or sad
A clam inside a shell

Now the task begins
The task of a lifetime
The task of becoming
Open

O to be open
An old one open again
Open to wonder, learning, and love
To grow open is to grow young

Much is against openness
Vested interests stake much on keeping us
Tight shut
The talking heads of the tight shut tell us of
Right and Wrong, Black and White, Us and Them
Who is In and who is Out
Their words are a slamming door
BAM!
Tight shut!

To live in the world of the tight shut is called
Certainty and security, clarity and conformity
It’s also death
To live there is to shrivel your soul
To die there is—
Well, I don’t know

I do know that to save my soul
I must become open
Open to God’s all-encompassing love
I cannot afford to slam the door
To shut the door on “them”
Is to lock myself in hell’s closet

O to be open

Where does the first crack of openness come from?
It could come from anywhere
A poem, a heartbreak, a sunset really seen
A song, a sermon, a mercy freely received
A birth, a death, a person fully loved
Let openness get its foot in the door
And it’ll begin to shovel in the grace

Open to the openness
The openness of God
The openness of light
The openness of love

Life is open
(Ever unfolding)
Death is closed
(A sealed tomb)

Heaven is open
(Its gates will never be shut)
Hell is closed
(Abandon all hope ye who enter)

Jesus is the Usher of Openness
He holds the keys of Hell and Death
To set its prisoners free
May he loose us and lead us into
The Great Openness of God

O to be open

brianzahndmainbookBrian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Brian and his wife, Peri, founded the church in 1981. Brian is also the author of several books, including, Water to WineA Farewell To Mars, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness.