“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, they will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’” John 10:7-11 (ESV)
Every church sanctuary points us to Jesus. The sanctuary is not just another building for just another group of people to gather because of their shared interests. It is a holy place. It is a place that is radically different from what the world offers. It is a place where people gather to worship and proclaim Jesus Christ.
This can be confusing since sanctuaries often share similar features to other buildings we enter. That is not a reason for us to consider the activity of the church to be equal to that of other activities that take place every day. It is always helpful to remember that though the Church is not a building but a people, the church building serves a sacred purpose for the strengthening of the people of God for the mission of God in our world.
In John 10, Jesus proclaims that he is the door to eternal life. As we enter through the doors of our sanctuary, we should be reminded that it is only in Christ alone, through Christ alone, and for Christ alone that we have peace with God. The doors of the church are a proclamation and invitation to those in our community to come and see that the Lord is good. The doors are open for all to hear the Gospel call of Christ to salvation. That is why it is problematic when the church closes its doors to people who are lost and in need of being found. It is a true scandal when the church shuts out men and women who are weary and heavy laden by the demands of this world because Jesus is clear in his invitation to all those burdened souls to come to him and experience rest (Matthew 11:28).
The doors at Homewood CPC should be a blessed sight in our community. They should be emblematic of the refuge we have in Christ. They should shout to the world Jesus’s proclamation that even though in this world we will have trouble, we must take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). The doors of the church remind us that the mission of God never rests. Even during times of prosperity and relative comfort, the doors of the church emphasize the importance of God’s people remaining awake and not lulled into the coma of comfort. The doors of the church help us hear the words of Jesus time and time again that salvation is available to all. When we forget this, we are exactly who Jesus talks about—those who are thieves stealing, killing, and destroying the very message we’ve been entrusted with to share so freely.
May we always receive the rest of Christ when we see the doors of the church, but may we never slumber in that rest. May we always be pointing people to Jesus wherever God has placed us so that to those who need to hear the Gospel will always know the door to enter. Jesus is that door to life abundant. Amen.