Monday, 17 March 2014

Sensing Lent 11: Door

You can tell a lot about people from their doors.

There's no way a door is just a door - it says so much more (and that's a rhyme).

An upsetting image I won't forget was of a new mother arriving at a church (this is going back a few years) and finding she couldn't fit the push chair in through the church door because even though the service was for parents and their children, no one had thought to open it fully enough - a lot of church doors have two halves and usually you only need to open up one. Unless you have a pushchair. Or an electric chair. Or a coffin.

What we do with doors is important in church - and not just because we have large heating bills. It doesn't take too much imagination to see that there's a huge image problem with a closed door as opposed to an open one. Sometimes it's even like Chinese dolls: there's a door within a door within a door... 

As well as having a hinge, a door IS a hinge to the outside world. The church within, the world without (lit. 'outside'). 
Yet it is an illusion that the church is separated from the world like this. It is no coincidence that nearly all of Jesus' recorded ministry takes place in the 'outdoors' - not inside a religious building, though he did frequent the synagogue too. He was outdoors because outdoors - out there - was the whole arena of life, and every person, and it is every person's calling to find their unique place there.

Original artwork by Simon Latham - the offering of Good News
at an open door. It hangs by the door.
In pastoral visiting, there's something powerful about being invited inside someone's door. You enter that person's world, on their terms, and glimpse a slice of their life, which otherwise you could not 'see'. You are blessed by their hospitality (in most cases).

And it is not for nothing that Jesus is described in Revelation as standing outside the door knocking to come in. Which is what he does, patiently, persistently, with the door to every human life.

No comments:

Post a Comment