The Church with the Open Door has always been My Church. It still is, according to the official church roll. However, in recent months I have been open to exploring other options. I decided to go Free Range for a while in order to observe the way Other People do things.
Last Sunday my husband and I attended worship services at The Church with the Closed Door. We were greeted warmly and were immediately asked (tactfully) about our brand. When we admitted that we were members of The Church with the Open Door, we were told (several times) that we would not be allowed to partake of Holy Communion unless we registered and spoke with the pastor ahead of time. Otherwise we would be excluded.
That was okay with me. I respect their beliefs. I didn’t even feel bad about it. I guess there has to be a line somewhere. After all, you can’t have “just anyone” at the Lord’s Table, can you?
As I sat in the pew, I read the finer points of their doctrine in regard to Holy Communion. As it turns out, even if I had spoken with the pastor, I would not have been able to pass the test due to one question that, if I answered honestly, would have elicited a big red “X” on my paper. That one wrong answer would have been enough to fail me, I’m afraid.
The worship service was lovely, though. A lot of Scripture was read and the sermon was centered around salvation. As the hymns were sung and the confirmed ones knelt and received the blessing from the minister, I began to consider our commonalities rather than our differences. When I heard the music and lyrics of “Lamb of God” rising to Heaven, I began to celebrate the knowledge that in congregations around the nation and the world during the course of The Sabbath Day, worship was occurring. Praises were being offered to the One Who Sits Enthroned. I thought maybe He was smiling.
In this Journey To Know More that I have embarked upon, I find myself wondering more and more where I fit in. I find that I am just slightly too open for The Churches with the Closed Doors and just a bit too closed for The Churches with the Open Doors. Maybe I need to find a Half-Open Door somewhere.
The communicants were almost finished. The row ahead of us moved out, and the usher leaned over to my husband and asked in a whisper whether we were confirmed in that denomination. Since the answer was “No,” he moved on. As far as I was concerned, one more earthly door had closed, however gently. I would have to seek and knock elsewhere.
All these doors that we have put up — whether Open or Closed — I wonder what God thinks about the constructing of them in the first place. He may be amused (or not). He may be appalled at the audacity of any of us to think we have a corner on what is or is not acceptable. I am presumptuous to even speculate on His reaction.
I just hope He is leaving His Door standing slightly ajar.