Saturday, May 11, 2013
OPEN DOOR POLICY
In reading chapter 14 of Acts this week I was touched by Paul’s report to the church at Antiochto Asia Minor, of “how God had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles” (v. 27).
I had this vivid image of God’s opening a door for me and inviting me to enter; but I hesitate. I stand there undecided. Do I really want to go through that door? In order to do so I’ll have to leave behind certain comfortable things, certain un-Christian behaviors and ways of thinking. To walk through that door means committing myself, submitting my prideful self, turning my back on my own program in favor of God’s.
A visit to my Greek Lexicon revealed that while the word “door” (thura) is used in its normal material sense now and then in the New Testament, it is sometimes used metaphorically for an opportunity or an “opening” for preaching the word of God:
But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. (1 Cor. 16:8-9);
When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; (2 Cor. 2:12),
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. (Col. 4:2-4).
So I started thinking about all of the opportunities or openings that the Lord offers me every day, opportunities to preach the Good News by my actions and attitudes, by my words and my thoughts. After all, in that last quote Paul was in prison and was still looking for open doors!
Then I happened to visit a classroom full of students learning photography. I saw dozens of beautiful digital photos of everyday things – doorknobs, sidewalks, stairways, faucets and so on. It seems that when you’re deliberately looking for pictorial possibilities you begin to notice the beautiful color of rust on a pipe or the texture of a tree fungus. The previous day I’d seen the students wandering around the school grounds, cameras in hand, looking attentively, and trying to notice opportunities to capture an interesting picture.
I hope that maybe I look like that to God, at least much of the time, walking through the monastery and the school, or anywhere in the world, with that same attentiveness, on the lookout for opportunities, looking for “doors of faith” that invite me to grow, to risk, to let go, and to both enjoy and proclaim God’s love.