Jesus Is At The Door
There's this verse in the book of Revelation that preachers in my youth repeatedly quoted when they were offering an invitation to people to leave their seats after the sermon, walk down the aisle, and "get saved."
Revelation 3:20 "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me."
Then we'd all stand and sing multiple stanzas of hymns like "Just As I Am" or "I Surrender All," sometimes for 10-15 minutes until enough people came forward to satisfy the moment.
Truthfully, I took that invitation more than a few times when I was young. I was always worried that whatever prayer I'd prayed the last time didn't take. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.
For years, I missed the entire point of that verse because of how I'd seen it misused to manipulate people.
But I've come to understand that even though the theology behind those invitation moments of my youth wasn't great, there was something beautiful about the imagery of Jesus knocking at our door, wanting to come in for dinner.
Recently, I read an excellent quote from Fr. Richard Rohr that expanded my understanding of that verse and the meaning behind it:
Revelation 3:20 tells us that Christ stands at the door and knocks. Too many of us want to show up at the doorway looking prim and proper and perfect. We stuff our egos and anxieties in the front hall closet so Christ won’t see them when we open the door. But Christ isn’t showing up to see our perfect selves. Instead, we are invited into a real, deep, transformative conversation, there on the threshold between who we are and who we can become, if we are willing to let go of what holds us back.
This quote brought me back to those moments so long ago when I was kneeling "at the altar" in those churches asking Jesus to come into my heart again.
I was there because I was desperately afraid of going to Hell when I died, and I wanted to make sure I didn't.
What I wasn't aware of at the time, however, is the practice of opening my heart to the Jesus who knocked was one that I would eventually need to do every day.
Because that's what Jesus does---he forever stands at the door of our lives desiring a deeper relationship with us.
And most of us think we have to figure it all out before we open the door. We need to clean the room and have a sumptuous dinner on the table instead of leftovers or a microwave burrito.
But what Jesus wants from you and me is a real relationship.
He doesn't care how the room looks and is quite willing to eat whatever we've got in the fridge to offer. Microwave burritos can become a banquet for the One who fed multitudes with just a few loaves of bread and some fish.
So if you have been waiting until you have it all figured out before opening your life up to Jesus, don't wait any longer. Just open the door.
May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.