Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Open or Shut?

I know a Barney Fife. He protects our church building. He wears his issued uniform and a revolver. He keeps his "beloved" church safe for 2 hours every Sunday. Just like Barney kept Mayberry safe.
One way he protects it is by making sure the church's front gates are closed.
I'm not from the city, but in the country gates are meant to keep animals in or out of a particular location.
The gates have been an issue for me the past 2 years. Everyone at Zion knows this. In fact it bothered me the 1st time I saw the church. The closed gates told me I was not wanted in this place. It was screaming...
"We do not want you to sit on our porch! Go to the church a block away with open gates!"
Maybe I should have listened like the others. Is anyone wanted? Does the church want me? Does God want me?
No matter the looks of the inside or outside of this building. No matter if there is a Barney Fife with a revolver pacing the smallest parking lot known to man. No matter...Christ wants you. Christ will never close the gates for those who desire the love of their Savior, Jesus. "Knock and the door will be opened." "Repent and believe!" Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit is not like the Barney Fife that we all know. The Holy Spirit has torn down my reluctance to the Word and broke through the gates I put up. He tore down my cast iron gates and showed me His opened gates of beauty.
The Lutheran Hymnal has a beautiful hymn which speaks to this issue. It is the 1st hymn you find in the hymn book. The 1st verse reads...

Open now Thy gates of beauty,
Zion, let me enter there,
Where my soul in joyful duty
Waits for Him who answers prayer.
Oh, how blessed is this place,
Filled with solace, light, and grace!

May the Holy Spirit work in you to tear down your gates and show you His gates that have been opened through Christ, Jesus by way of the cross and the empty tomb!


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