I passed a church another UM Church on my commute in to my last appointment. It was a small congregation that had a half to quarter time appointment. They were located on a busy road that during rush hour hundreds of cars always slowed down right in front of their place. They had an old marque brick sign out front and for most of the three years I drove past it, it read, Open Hearts, Open Doors.
Now I thought that was the most honest church sign I had ever seen but I wondered what non-UMC people thought and if they appreciated their honesty. We all know that our igniting ministries slogan is Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors, we are the people of the United Methodist Church. This church at least was happy to let you know that there hearts and doors were open, but not their minds. Refreshing honesty on a marquee.
Many of us say that we have all three, Open Hearts, Minds and Doors. But let’s face it our doors are hard to get to from the parking lot, the ones some visitors try are locked, and don’t ever try to get in on any other day besides Sunday. Churches lock themselves in constantly and make it hard for people to get in. So how can we truly have Open Doors?
We are like the disciples crowded in the upper room, fearful of the ramifications of Jesus’ missing body. The doors are locked. They don’t want to suffer the same fate as Jesus. They don’t want to be blamed for his missing body. They are all up there scared and not knowing what the next move will be.
It is here that Jesus comes in and says, Peace be with you. The resurrected Jesus comes to the disciples, just like he promised. He comes and reminds them that everything he promised is true. He comes to take these 10 and later after Thomas believes 11 disciples and make them into apostles. Instead of just being followers, Jesus turns them into proclaimers of the gospel.
For the churches who’s doors are constantly locked and makes it difficult for people to come in, need a resurrected Jesus to come into their midst again. We all need this Upper Room experience in order to remind us all that we are not a community of followers who lock ourselves in a room out of fear. Our faith is not private and hidden. We are called to move from being followers to being apostles. We have to remove the locks from our doors and truly open them up. Not only to let others in but so that we can go out.