I am writing today about doors. Why? Because I seem to be encountering a trail of thoughts about them.
Six days ago, driving on my way home from a coffee with the ‘gym girls’, I suddenly thought of the famous painting by William Holman Hunt, based on Christ’s words in Revelation 3:20, and named “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” The thought came from nowhere, but seemed to open the door (!) to a stream of thoughts and encounters with doors.
Five days previously we had returned from a lovely holiday in Derbyshire with friends, where we had stayed in a beautiful, recently converted Church. Preparing to go to Church on the Sunday morning, we found ourselves locked in our holiday home - this door was absolutely, definitely NOT going to open. (The locksmith later discovered all the metal work inside the lock crumbled away). The big double doors of the old church were still negotiable, and after struggling with locks, bolts, and metal bars, some of our party managed to exit and be on their way to worship, but we stayed behind, as there was no way, once out, of locking the building.
Back to last Wednesday and the sudden bursting in to my thought zone of Mr. Holman Hunt, or maybe, more accurately, Jesus.
Coming home and going to hang the washing out in the garden, what did I notice, leaning against our ‘waiting to be chopped’ pile of wood? A door. No hinges, nothing behind it but logs, paint peeling, glass broken. Where it came from, who put it there or gave it to us and when, I have no clue - but my senses became alert - what is all this with doors?
Later the same morning, I opened, rather randomly, a rather random book at a totally random page - to read these words from a prayer:
“Help me to listen to the signs of change, of growth;
To listen seriously and follow where they lead
Through the breath taking empty space of an open door”.
Now God had me seriously listening and questioning, I have been asking, praying, meditating - what are you saying Lord? To me? To the Church in Ipswich?
This morning (Tuesday May 9th) at the weekly IIP Leaders Prayer meeting, someone read the words of Revelation 3:20 from the Message version, in the middle of the meeting, as we prayed “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done”.
“The people I love, I call to account - prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best.
Up on your feet then! About face! Run after God!
Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.
Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honour at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors.
Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit being blown through the churches.”
This, I believe is what all the door encounters are pointing to, drawing attention to, shouting out loud.
“Listen”, Christ says, “Are your ears awake?”
As we approach the ten days of prayer from Ascension to Pentecost, and join in prayer as God’s people in Ipswich, and with God’s people across the nation, praying “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done”, let’s unwax our ears, open them up and listen.
The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:13) said “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.
Are we - am I - ready to listen, to seek, to commit with all our heart, as together we respond to his call and open the door?