The day lies open before us


“The day lies open before us”


“The day lies open before us.” Every day these words are spoken by thousands of clergy and lay people who say Morning Prayer throughout the world.

“The day lies open before us”

There is such a beautiful invitation in those words. It is like looking at a canvas just before you put on the first stroke of paint, or those moments at school when you were given a new exercise book and you opened it at the first page: how neatly you tried to write! It is like waking up and knowing it is the holidays and you don’t have an agenda you have to fulfil or being up early in the morning when even the birds have not woken. “The day lies open before us,” full of potential, full of promise, full of hope.


Yet, how often do we get to the end of the day, or even the middle of the day, and find ourselves feeling grey, exhausted and trapped. Then the lines that come to mind are more likely to be

“Shades of the prison house begin to close

Upon the growing boy” Wordsworth


Why is life like this? Why are the good intentions of the morning to be open to all that God wants to give us in our day, so quickly undermined by what that same day throws at us?


It is, of course, not what comes at us but how we respond to it that changes our perception of our day and there are all sorts of self-help books that are aimed at empowering us and giving us a sense of control over our lives, and some of them are useful. But where most of them fall down for me is that they leave God out of the picture altogether. They are quick fix techniques aimed at problem solving. They leave out the big questions that underlie so much of our dismay but are also there for our growth, healing and understanding if only we could see it.

The bible is very clear:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10


We need the God dimension to makes sense of ourselves and our world. Human wisdom is not enough. We will always have good days and bad days. Things will get on top of us; we will feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed and resentful at times; but as we come daily to the source of wisdom, God, insight will grow, we will become like deeply rooted trees, full of life and movement but not tossed about by every passing wind. And we will find there are more days than not that we feel hope and anticipation as we say, “The day lies open before us.”