I have a passion for doors! Ok so I know I’m odd, but I have many hundreds of pictures of doors that I have taken over the years. It has to be the most common feature in my pictures since I received my digital camera as a birthday gift four years ago.
All kinds of door – house doors, castle doors, church doors. Heavy Wooden doors, doors with glass in and lights shining inside, doors that are slightly open and seem to invite you in; doors that look like they have not been opened for years and years and would need a mighty big push to move. Red doors, yellow doors, green doors, doors hanging off their hinges, doors where you can see what’s going on inside. I just love doors.
I can’t think of how many doors I have entered in my life, far too many. To be honest even this day I’ve walked through lots of doors – in my home, shop doors, restaurant doors, doors on a friend house. I can’t say I always get excited when I go through a door – because that would be madness and make me look neurotic; but there is something wonderful about coming home and closing my front door behind me and feeling safe and at peace which is really priceless.
Holman Hunt painted that amazing picture of Christ at the door with a light in his hand (Christ the light of the World). I have been privileged to see two original paintings of this; one at Keble College Chapel Oxford, and the other in St Pauls. There is something about the door in the picture that draws me, its colour, and the way it seems to have not been opened for years. The light Christ holds reflecting on it making it look alive and accessible despite the weeds that have grown around it in the years it has been closed off.
The first sermon I ever preached at the tender age of 17 at the Waterfoot Salvation Army in the Rossendale Valley was on the text Hebrews 3:15 “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”. In this sermon I spoke about Hunts painting and how many people close the door of their heart to Jesus, yet it is so easy to open it and let him in. It was a very simple sermon, linking in with Rev 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
There have been times over the years when I have learned how easy it is to close God out, to slam all the doors and try and cope on my own. I especially do this if I have been hurt and rejected. (My astronomy sign would say this Crab retreats into her shell – but we really don’t believe that rubbish!!) Sometimes it’s much easier to hide inside than it is to open up and come out again. Facing the light can be a costly business.
I have a good friend who is actually an extremely sucessful businessman today, yet he tells me that when he was younger he was a Boys Brigade Officer. He was a typical young man; early twenties and doing well in his career; married and setting up his first home. One weekend he went to a Boys Brigade Officers Training Weekend and in the first session the leader said – only men who are 100% committed to Jesus should be BB Officers; if you are not there’s the door – leave now. My friend left immediately and never ever went back church or Brigade.. He slammed the door behind him and has never attempted to open it, convinced that the 100% commitment was utter madness, he had so many other things he wanted achiever in life.
I have met many people like this in my life, and I don’t judge them for decisions they make, yet I thank God that I have come to learn that often the doors that looks as if they could never be open again have a way of coming to life when we realise the exciting possibilities, freedom and great opportunties that lie just on the other side.
Thank You Father, that you come to me in anew each day, and as the door to a new day opens you bring your light and your love.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again that inviting you in and eating with you is always life changing.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!