Open Your Door
Open your heart
(Part 1 – The Talk)
Maybe it was something in the air at church February 12, 2012, maybe it was the “dust”, whatever it was there seemed to be many weeping eyes sitting in the pews, staring longingly at Pastor Bill, absorbing every syllable like it was the touchstone of their lives.
I could never recreate the magic that was floating in the air, but I can use words (Pastor’s and mine) to try and recreate the feeling. That’s the best I can offer.
I asked Pastor Bill to forward his notes. I recall the first time I asked him to do this and he said to me, I can but I usually don’t follow them and they may not make a lot of sense. As I am reading his notes from the other day, and recalling his words in church, I chuckle at just how far off of them he started and then finished. He did preach the message intended, so not too far off. I will add, though, that he is as eloquent in winging it as he is in pre-writing his talks. Only a person passionate about what they are doing could be so successful on both ends.
Pastor Bill talked about how disconnected we are from society. How we are a society that survives behind closed doors, and automated systems (from customer service to knowing our neighbors). In his words, “Call us a fast society, and efficient society, but don’t call us a personal society. Our society is set up for isolation. We wear ear buds when we exercise. We communicate via e-mail and text messages. We enter and exit our houses with Gates and garage door openers. Our mantra: “I leave you alone; you leave me alone.”
Have we truly lost all sense of being able to socialize with strangers? Neighbors? Family? Friends?
It is all about opening doors and opening your heart to allow God to lead you into the lives of those that are around you. Every life, neighbor, friend, family, will have an impact on your life. It is those lives that are physically close to you that will have the most visible impact, whether we care to admit it or not.
Think about it. If your house catches on fire, you will have your friends and family around to help you, but unless they live on your street that help will come when it arrives. It is your neighbors, those that are physically close to you, that will be your first line of support. How can that happen if we constantly close our doors to the people around us?
Pastor Bill’s solution… Well, let’s put this part in his words:
“Something holy happens around the dinner table that will never happen in a sanctuary. In the church auditorium you see the back of heads. Around the table you see the expression on faces in the auditorium one person speaks: around the table everyone has a voice. Church services are on the clock. Around the table there’s time to talk.
Hospitality opens the doors to uncommon community.
It’s no accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they both lead to the same result healing. When you open your door to someone you are sending this message: you matter to me and to God. You may think you are saying, come over for a visit, but what your guests hear is, I’m worth the effort.”
Solution – Open your door to your neighbors, to people you’ve meet but haven’t taken the time to really get to know, and allow them in to your world. Some relationships will blossom and flourish while others will be thankful for the chance to share a meal with someone.
Pastor Bill, “Do you know people who need this message? Singles who eat alone? Young couples who are far from home? Coworkers who’ve been transferred, teens who feel left out, and seniors who no longer drive? Some people pass an entire day with no meaningful contact with anyone else. Your hospitality can be there hospital. All you need are a few basic practices.
Issue a genuine invitation let to your guests know you want them to come. Call them on the phone, or step over to their desk at work. Are they neighbors? Knock on their door and say we would love for you to join us at our dinner table tonight. Please come. People whether so many daily rejections. The doctor can’t see them. The kids didn’t call. The airplane is booked. But then you invite them over. We have room for you! Life altering.”
And then the crème de la crème of questions is thrust upon us as we proceed forward in considering what opening our hearts and doors.
Pastor Bill, “Can people of such varied backgrounds and cultures get along with each other?
We wonder the same thing today. Can Hispanics live in peace with Anglos? Can Democrats find common ground with Republicans? Can a Christian family carry on a civil friendship with a Muslim couple down the street? Can the divergent people get along?”
Well, what do you say? I have my own opinion but this blog is not just about reading but participating. Here is your chance to have a voice. What do you think? Can we all live together, peacefully, accepting our differences and celebrating our similarities? Can we find common ground? Or at least respect the ground we all walk, even if we don’t understand it all the time?
As you consider this question think about this, and again, I do have my own viewpoint but will share when the time is right. My children reminded me that February is National Black Heritage month. A month, 1 out of 12, that is dedicated to recognizing and remembering blacks. Think about the message here, think about the question from Pastor Bill, and think about God in your heart and behind your closed door.
For now I will leave you with this question to answer. If you are willing to share we would all love to hear what you are thinking, but if not publicly take a moment to answer this question for yourself.