Sunday, 15 December 2019

Open the door and let light of Jesus in

I READ recently a reflection that was about the front door of a house.

The author likened our homes and the security and safety they offer us to our inner selves and he asked the question, “Is your door open to Christ this Lent?”

It was an image that didn’t quite work for me, although I could see what he was getting at — are we spiritually safely ensconced behind locked doors or can we, particularly in this season of Lent, allow the door to swing open and let Christ in to the whole of our lives?

The author also cited the well-known painting by Holman Hunt, The Light of the World, showing Jesus standing at the door. It’s a painting that is much-loved. Some years ago, I sought out the original in Keble College chapel. It was well worth the effort. The painting itself is, of course, glorious but the chapel, too, is rather wonderful and it was a joy to be able to spend time there and to savour the experience.

I’m reminded, too, of a prayer exercise that I first came across on a retreat.

We were invited to imagine in our prayers, Jesus coming to knock at the door of our actual home and once we had invited him in, to take him around the house showing him all the rooms, telling him along the way something about each one.

The exercise, while seeming a little forced at first, was revelatory as I became all too painfully aware of the parts of my home that I found difficult to talk about, the places that held some sort of pain perhaps. “This is my daughter’s room” — she left home a while ago but we still think of it as “hers”. Or the fact that my kitchen cupboards were less clean and tidy than I’d like, which seemed to say something about my spiritual life as well!

So, this Lent I am thinking about that door and whether or not to invite Jesus in. It feels like the tables have been turned this year. Instead of me doing something worthy for God, I’m actually asking God to come and do something for me. I’m surprised at how hard that is!

I’m seeing that I’m so task-orientated that I often don’t take time to reflect and learn from life. I wonder if that’s true of many of us?

As parents and partners, how often do we let others simply love us and care for us? As professionals and employees, how much time do we spend feeling under pressure instead of taking a few moments to be thankful for the privilege of work and the benefits we enjoy?

Maybe the generalised anxiety that prevails in our lives is perhaps driving us to keep busy?

When we’re afraid, we instinctively batten down the hatches. Maybe right now there is an invitation to swing wide the doors and let the light in?

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