Revelation 3:20- “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door; I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.”
For the last four months I have been on an inward journey. I don’t know where this journey will lead me, although I am hoping it will help me come to some conclusions about ministry. Beginning in September I did mostly silent prayer or, depending on the day and moment, contemplative prayer. I would sit for 30 minutes to an hour in silence up to three times a day. I discovered that I was developing a very quiet place somewhere inside and all of the stress and disappointment of the last year were beginning to slip away. As I felt the need I started adding other practices, a bible study, a new interplay class, and a book study.
Through all of this I wrote in my Journal and added to my blog and one of the repeating themes is I am looking at scripture and readings from a very different perspective and the above scripture from Revelation is a good example.
I am fairly confident that all of you have seen the iconic picture of Jesus standing at a door knocking. Have you looked closely there is no door handle; the door must be opened from the inside. This passage from Revelation has been bugging me lately so I started taking it apart and trying to visualize it from a different angle. The one perspective that seems to intrigue me is what if the door is the one into my heart and the person standing on the outside is me, not Jesus. The door is ajar but I have to make the effort to push it open and walk in and in my meditations I seem to be standing at the entrance unable to move toward the door. Sort of like the rodent in one of Rudyard Kipling books where it won’t go into the center of the room but always creeps around the edges.
The reason this perspective seems to be so important is 1) I have always believed part of the creator already resides within me, and for that matter within all of creation; 2) the place behind the door to my heart, or hearts door, represents for me my deepest level of spirituality. It is the place that knows me best, the good and the bad, and offers forgiveness and grace even when I do not acknowledge it. So, to me, it makes perfect sense that in the room behind the hearts door I will find G-d because G-d is the root, or grounding, of my very being and where I want to be. But I am afraid to cross the threshold.
So what does it mean if I am the one outside of my hearts door? First of all it means that
G-d/Jesus/Holy Spirit is waiting for me to acknowledge the Divine Presence and that that recognition means I am giving up some of the control of my life over to the true being within. The acknowledging part is fairly easy, but, crossing the threshold and entering into full communion with the Divine is a lot harder. There are risks to crossing into that sacred place, for one thing I would have to let go of my ego, and many of my desires, such asto always be at the top of everything. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants me to be second, third or even last at some task because it challenges me to look deeper at who I am and who I want to be. Because of my unwillingness to let go of my ego, I have spent most of my 65 years standing outside the chamber behind my hearts door and it has resulted in a life where hard lessons are learned and travels on rocky roads are my only choices. I had to hit rock bottom before I could accept that I could not live this life alone, I needed help; I needed love, grace, and forgiveness in order to become who I am.
Fourteen years ago I was at that rock bottom place and my path choices weren’t looking all that appealing. I have always wondered why we have to be at the worst possible crossroad in order to recognize the grace and forgiveness of G-d, but it does and I am no exception. Just like John of the Cross I was having my own “dark night of the soul.” It wasn’t until all light in my life had disappeared that I called out to G-d, crossed the threshold and entered into the arms of the Divine.
One result of my turning this scripture around so I stand at the door instead of Jesus is that I become the one to initiate contact with G-d. G-d, Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes the force that waits for me to decide how, and when I will respond to their call. I choose to cross the threshold or walk away. Granted I have had a great deal of preparation for that moment in my life but a willingness to risk everything on an invisible (and to some non-existent) entity does not make the choice any easier. Maybe that is why it takes those “dark nights” for us to make the choice to let our lives be lead by the Divine. Unless we have only two choices, life or death, before us we won’t choose life. We will continue to walk without the guidance of G‑d because that path seems easier to walk than the one G-d and there are so of those distractions to choose from. But that is an illusion.
I must admit to a lot of darting out the door only to return with bowed head asking for forgiveness. I am always amazed at the joy the Divine exhibits at the return of this wayward child. I know I am blessed by grace because I can fail G-ds expectations over and over again and return over and over again and I will be welcomed home just as the prodigal son was, with fatted calf and celebration.
See G-d wants us to be inside that sacred room and whenever we leave, the Divine keeps the fires burning for our return. I like to think that hot chocolate and double chocolate chip cookies are waiting for me to communion with the ground of my being. All I have to do is cross the threshold.
Ruth Jewell, ©December 29, 2012