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  • karen horst cobb: Meditation: More than a Knock at the Door

    Friday, March 30, 2007

    Meditation: More than a Knock at the Door

    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
    Revelation 3: 20-22


    Among the first pages of many Bibles we find the familiar picture of Jesus standing at a small arched wooden door . It has a square peephole with iron bars and no handle on the outside. Jesus fist is raised as if in the act of knocking. He looms large in comparison to the small shadowed doorway. The sepia tones and His flowing robes tell a gentle story but the strange hidden doorway with encroaching vines suggests that when inside there might be some discomfort for the occupant. Perhaps this intimidating picture is misleading.

    This picture has often been used for evangelism and accompanied by the “sinners prayer” in tracts and pamphlets. A picture’s worth a thousand words they say. Those of us who came to Jesus as children have been influenced by this picture much more than we realize. At the very least it is only one dimension and focuses on the knocking. So what happens when Jesus knocks and we invite him in? That is the real conversion.

    Do we seat him in a straight backed chair in the entryway where he waits until Sunday morning or do we invite him all the way in? Does he loom large and intimidating at our table as he does outside the door in this artist’s mind? Does He dominate and control or is he our humble friend who loves everything about us? Do we try to impress him with a fancy meal and tidy house or do we embrace him even in our most cluttered closets and grimy places? Do we freely reveal all of ourselves to him or try to fool him with false piety?

    Jesus is not just knocking in this verse he is calling out to us also. We recognize his voice and welcome him in because he is our friend. He promises he will “sup” with us. This word is a humble word referring to a simple meal with small bites and sips. Nothing fancy just a relaxed lingering humble time of sharing. Far from the invading force many have ascribed to him, he is to be a resident in all the places of our hearts. We walk with him in all that we do and in each thing which we face. He says that when we overcome we relate to him as he overcame and passed on to heaven. We share these common experiences.

    Hearing the knock on the door and hearing his voice calling to us is just the beginning. Then we begin to know him more and more. We adopt his ideas and his way of life. He does not come in and take over our home and use our things, he comes to minister to us and to serve just as he ministered to and served those he found walking in Galilee or by the seaside. We are changed by love and acceptance. This transforms us with a desire to impact our world for good. By this transformation the world is transformed.

    During the worship at the National Cathedral on March 16th we were again and again reminded to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” In this passage in Revelation the Spirit is saying go beyond just answering the door and embrace the meaning of Christ in every area of our lives, in our communities and in our world as we learn what it means to overcome the darkness and destructive powers of the world as Jesus overcame.


    Prayer: We knew it was you who was knocking at the door of each of our hearts. We heard your voice and opened the door. Teach us more and more what it means to live with you as our friend as you relax at our table and reside in all the places of our hearts. Enlarge our compassion of love and service as we lean from your example. Amen

    Action: Meditate on how you depict Jesus knocking at your door? How does it differ from the classic picture we grew up with? What is your response to the knock? Consider what it means to sup with Jesus and think about the purpose of the church to which he is speaking. What is the Spirit saying to the churches? Open your door and share a meal in worship and service. Here is a link to one group which is exploring this form of spiritual community. http://www.emu.edu/seminary/index.html

    Among the first pages of many Bibles we find the familiar picture of Jesus standing at a small arched wooden door. It has a square peephole with iron bars and no handle on the outside. Jesus fist is raised as if in the act of knocking. He looms large in comparison to the small shadowed doorway. The sepia tones and His flowing robes tell a gentle story but the strange hidden doorway with encroaching vines suggests that when inside there might be some discomfort for the occupant. The lily on the ground reminds us of death and funerals and seems the antithesis of our classical images of the grim reaper who will one day come for us. Perhaps this covertly intimidating picture of an unenlightened time in history is misleading.

    meaning that "Dine"- that's why I used the old language version) I don't know what theologians might say about this.


    I just finished this weeks meditation. Clearly this one is to life long Christians but you might enjoy it anyway.

    2 Comments:

    At 6:20 PM, Blogger Don said...

    I see him standing at the door and knocking like the picture you reference. I see him in denims and knocking too. I see him as a dear friend and not too much like he is pictured in churches. I see him as deeply human.

     
    At 2:37 PM, Blogger Tauratinzwe said...

    The thing most often misssed in this passage is that Jesus is not knocking at the door of an individual, but at the door to the church. A busy, self-satisfied church has become self-engrossed and has locked the Master out.

    That is an image modern churches need to reckon with. In our business, do we allow Jesus to fellowship with us?

    The good news is that even if our institutional church locks Jesus out, those members who do invite him in can have true fellowship with him.

     

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