My heart has been heavy the last several days. Heavy about the attacks in Paris as well as the attacks in Beirut and in Iraq. Heavy about the palpable fear that is being expressed on social media and by politicians and others. Heavy about the calls for more and more restrictions on refugees who are trying to flee the very terrorism and violence that we witnessed in Paris.
It is into this heaviness that I saw this door today. These are doors for Episcopal neighbors near our congregation. I believe most every Episcopal church has a set of these red doors. They signify the church as a place of refuge. It goes back to the days where a person fleeing an enemy was safe if s/he went though a set of red doors and the enemy was not allowed to pursue.
I stopped outside these red doors today and prayed for the millions of refugees whose lives have been thrown into even greater uncertainty since the Paris attacks. Whether it’s here in our country or in places across Europe, will they find places of refuge and safety? Will they find red doors opened to them?
I am grateful for the challenge that the red doors give to us. I am grateful for the example of Jesus who was himself a refugee and for the example he gave in his life of welcoming the stranger and the hurting in his midst.
I understand the fear and concerns that people are lifting up. I really do. But I don’t want to live just out of fear but trusting in the hope and strength we receive from Christ in being willing to open the red doors of our lives to others. I want to live in the spirit of what Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7, “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” Power, love, and self-discipline. Power to me is trust the power of God beyond ourselves. Love – for loving those as Christ loved. Self-discipline – the power to live beyond what our (often irrational) fears are telling us.
I am grateful for red doors.