Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 34, April 16, 2020
“An Open Door”

 After nearly five weeks of quarantine, I thought I might begin my daily devotional with a joke. Spoiler alert! This is the Presbyterian version of a racy joke.

A new pastor was visiting the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, the pastor took out a card and wrote “Revelation 3:20” on the back of the card and stuck it in the door. After the offering plates were passed the following Sunday they were returned, and the pastor found his card was in the offering plate. Added to the note he had left on the card was this message, Genesis 3:10. When the pastor opened his bible and read Genesis 3:10 he broke out in loud laughter.

Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

Genesis 3:10 responds, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid, for I was naked.”

In Mary Poppins a joke is told and the one who told the joke says with satisfaction, “There’s nothing like a good joke.” The listener responds dryly, “And that was nothing like a good joke.”

Maybe my joke was nothing like a good joke, but the joke was about a door, and that is a good topic for today. Andy Wallace has been gathering pictures from our congregation and using them during the prelude in our online bulletin. This week he has asked us to take pictures of ourselves in an open door. Why? The gospel reading for this coming Sunday is from John 20:19-31. The disciples are gathered behind a locked door. They are afraid. Jesus has risen from the dead, but nonetheless, the disciples are afraid. The tension of a resurrected Lord and fearful disciples speaks right to the heart of our faith. Has the resurrection met our deepest fears and transformed us into people who live boldly in our world, or do we hide behind locked doors. Andy writes, “Twice the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples who had gathered behind locked doors and each time when Jesus appeared, he said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Let us not be afraid. Let us not keep the door locked. Let us fling wide that door and welcome in the risen Christ.” That is why we want your picture in an open door.

Thinking of doors, let me take you back to a time not so long ago. We used to be able to visit one another. We used to be able to walk up to a door and knock or ring the doorbell. Sometimes, knowing who was coming we opened the door expecting a familiar face. Other times we had no warning and so we opened the door with curiosity, ready to be surprised. Do you remember what it was like, in that distant time when doors were knocked on and opened, do you remember what it was like to open the door and see someone you had been expecting? Do you remember what it was like, in that distant time when doors were knocked on and opened, do you remember how wonderful it was to open the door and see someone you were not expecting, and found some dearly loved friend or family member had surprised you and arrived unannounced. Sometimes opening the door can be such a beautiful blessing.

Now imagine the one knocking is Jesus. Not the Jesus of the bad joke I told to start this devotional. Not that Jesus. The Jesus knocking today is the one who knows you and loves you and cares for you and longs to be with you in all you do, in every breath you take and every move you make. That Jesus is knocking. That is the true meaning of Revelation 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” Why do we want pictures of you in an open door? Because there is nothing better than opening the door of your heart and saying to the one who loves you with an everlasting love, “Come in. Come in, Lord Jesus. O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.”

With the love of Christ,