Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We got a new door to our house yesterday. (The neighbor installed it for us.) I like it a whole lot more than our old door. And, it's one piece of our current round of home improvements, most of which are aimed at tidying up the outside of the house. (That is, improvements like patching the siding under the kitchen window that's been a gaping hole since January.)

It's incredible how much better I feel coming home to a door (and lack of hole) that looks beautiful to me.

And it's not even finished yet.

All this is making me wonder about the importance of thresholds, entrances and boundaries. If it feels this good to walk through a beautiful door, how can I do a better job of opening beautiful doorways into our church?

Wednesdays often make me think these things, because they almost always include communion worship at Vespers. Standing at the communion table speaking words of grace is a little bit like opening a beautiful door.

And, today these doorway thoughts are even stronger for me, as I made a visit to Strength for the Journey. I've always (like, "always" meaning "every year since I've been a real pastor" which is, in human terms, for six years) been a part of camp, often in what felt like big, responsible leadership roles in this retreat for adults with HIV/AIDS. This year (#7), I got to pass leadership on to two people I look up to in ministry. And, today, they let me come for a visit. (Ostensibly, I was there to share our portable labyrinth as a workshop option.)

Today felt a bit like poking my head in the doorway to check on things. And, I was delighted to find that the magic of camp, with all it's grace-filled possibilities, is most definitely still happening. In beautiful ways.

And the horrible part of me that was mildly disappointed to see that things go fine without me was also delighted to be warmly received. I love the community that happens at Strength for the Journey.

And, I love it when "church" opens its doors wide enough to make space for people living with HIV/AIDS--gay and straight, male and female, young and old, sick and healthy, Anglo, Hispanic, African-American, at all places in their lives of faith (or lives without faith). If only it were all the time and not just for a week, up in the mountains.

'Til then, I'll try to enjoy my new, wooden door. And keep it open as much as possible. Celia, my neighbor who taught me that "elotes" means "corn" like corn-on-the-cob, is extravagant in saying hello, and I'm starting to feel more like I know my neighbors.

I've had two fabulous visitors last week and this--friends from college. Getting to offer a little bit of hospitality to people I love is cool. Plus, it's like making time-travel doorways that span 10 years. So, thanks for visiting, David and Z! What fun it is to open my door to you.

1 comment:

karen said...

What a beautiful post, what a beautiful metaphor.

But it is more than metaphor.

In some ways, it is literal metaphor -- how mind-bending is that?

Even the labyrinth you took up to SFTJ opens doors.

The safe and welcoming and affirming place that SFTJ creates has begun to happen more than just for a week in the mountains, but not much more. But a good bit of that at our church is your journey to the mountains each of the past six years AND your return to open that doorway a bit wider in our church.

I painted my onw threshold this summer, making it much more welcoming. I smile every time I approach it. And, as you know and have been a gracious part of this summer, I am working to create a more inviting reality inside that threshold, too.

As for time travel, did you see the story this week about the research into time travel that says it could really be possible for travelers from the future to venture to our present. But, get this, the only way it could happen under this theory is if we, in our time, intentionally open a threshold. (I'm not making this up.) We would need to create a doorway in space -- like an artificial black hole -- through which future travelers could travel.

May all the thresholds we travel through be as welcoming as yours, as affirming as SFTJ as hopeful as a doorway opened in the sky to unknown strangers. And may our church and our church in the world be all of these things and more.

Thank you for this extension of Vespers. Thank you for this prayer.