He said therefore, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’
Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us”, then in reply he will say to you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.’
- Luke 13:18-30
As I read these verses in preparation for today’s Meditation, my first thought was, “narrow door”, I don’t have a shot. I’ll probably be weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth. I searched the annotations and scholarly commentary on this scripture looking for loopholes. Nothing.
But hope springs eternal. What about the capital campaign, stewardship, bible study, usher duty. Certainly, I can get through the narrow strait. But what if I don’t give enough capital, or increase my annual giving, or miss usher duty. How much is really enough? Wait, what about justification by works, or is it justification by faith? Is the capital campaign “works” or is it “faith”. You know, faith that the capital will be used for good works. Can either be used at the narrow gate?
But hope does spring eternal. The mustard seed became a tree, often considered Christianity, and birds made nests in its branches. Nests are where I live. And our lives can really be the path to the narrow gate, successful or not. Our Sunday school class has been reading a book by an author who has published numerous works on spirituality and theology. The author cites St Paul, “Your life is hidden now with Christ in God”. (Colossians 3:3). He goes on to explain the verse saying, Paul “is simply calling attention that our lives are now mysteriously caught up in Jesus’ own story”. How incredibly profound. My life is caught up in Jesus’ story. Does this help me at the narrow gate. My two new grandchildren were baptized in the past couple of years. I hardly remember my children’s baptisms but these recent baptisms are fresh. I heard this, “sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever”. Myself, my children and my grandchildren are traveling the path to the narrow gate, marked as Christ’s own forever.
Now I do not suggest that because of this, I have it made with the narrow gate and all, but I do believe that the owner has not shut my narrow door and it remains open. Now about Usher duty…
Musical Reflection - Your Labor is Not in Vain - The Porter's Gate