For the next few weeks, the contemplative prayer class I participate in is reading and reflecting on the book, “Open the Door … A Journey to the True Self,” by Joyce Rupp. There is so much richness in the metaphor of Doors and there are many themes and ideas that come if we take time to think and reflect on it. I’ve decided, for the next few articles, to use some of my thoughts that develop from this resource to offer you, my friends, some things to consider with the doors in your life.
Most of us are familiar with the verse from Revelation 3:20 where Jesus is saying: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Even more familiar might be the painting, by Warner Sallman, that we’ve seen in church where Jesus is standing at a door, knocking. Did you ever notice the door does not have a door knob on the outside? Jesus is knocking but someone on the other side needs to open the door. It seems to only open from inside. Jesus knocks to let us know he is there and he wants to come inside and dwell with us in our heart of hearts. He wants to commune with us. Notice that he says he will come in and dine with us. As we are preparing to share in the Lord’s Supper online this Sunday, we think of Communion, of Jesus sharing himself through bread and wine. He is the guest, but he is also the host who offers us hospitality. Through this meal we are offered his presence by the Holy Spirit; we are nurtured and fed, strengthened for the journey we are on. He fills our senses as we smell the aroma of bread, taste its richness and as we taste the wine or juice. It is a communing with him that reminds us in the in-between-times that he is with us always.
But we have to open the door. Jesus keeps knocking and waiting to come in but he won’t force the door open; he won’t kick it in and forcefully enter. He waits until we are ready to open. Don’t get me wrong, he can be persistent. Thank God he doesn’t give up!
Have you heard his knocking on the door of your heart? Maybe you heard it a long time ago and opened it wide for him to enter.
Maybe you heard his knock but have not opened the door yet. If not, why? There could be lots of reasons:
· you don’t believe he’s really there;
· you haven’t heard the knock yet;
· you don’t want to face him with something you’re hiding;
· you’re afraid if you let him in, he might change you and you don’t think you’re ready to change.
I’ve had people say they might want to become a Christian but they don’t want to give up … whatever it is they like. Someone once said they thought they would have to give up their love of car racing. But as we come to know Jesus’ love and grace, we become transformed, changed in ways that make us happy and glad. We are free in Christ Jesus. Our changing comes from a deep growing desire in our own hearts, not by something forced on us.
If you have opened the door to Jesus you surely have found some joy and comfort in your life. I invite you to reflect on the richness of your life with him and journal about it. And share if you are willing.
If you haven’t yet opened that door, I hope you, too, will take some time to reflect and journal about why you haven’t. Be honest with yourself as you write your answers.
Loving Jesus, you come to us with a great desire to come into our hearts and live; to offer us a love we could never measure; to free us from shame and guilt and transform us into our best selves so we can love you with all our hearts and then, finally, love others in the same way. Don’t give up on us, we pray. Amen.