Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"I lock my door upon myself"

Cindy Mercer Photography

My wife loves doors. Yes, doors, old doors primarily, doors with character. She has taken hundreds of photographs, from around the world, of doors. For me, it's been an acquired taste.

Doors communicate. They bid welcome and convey rejection. Open doors invite the fellowship and hospitality of home, family, and church. At times, we pass through them racked by the fear and anxiety that attends personal confrontation or an unknown future. Closed doors announce security, privacy, and safety, or they declare exclusion, condescension, or even mystery.

The Scriptures are rich with door and doorway imagery. One must pass through doorways to enter the courts of the temple area and the Holy of Holies. The closed door of the ark signals safety for Noah and his family (Gen 6:16; 7:16), the blood-signed doorposts set the Israelites apart on the evening of the Passover (Ex. 12:22–23), and Paul writes that “a great door for effective work has opened to me” (1 Cor. 16:9). The “ancient doors” are commanded to be lifted up so the King of glory may come in (Ps. 24:7, 9).

During this hectic season, no doubt replete with comings and goings, let Christina Rossetti’s haunting lines remind you that no matter whom you shut out or let in, there is in the end only one door that matters, the “One” who breaks the yoke of sin, frees us from ourselves, and calls us to His praise and glory. It is He who declares, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).


God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?


God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys.

Myself, arch-traitor to myself;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.

Christina G. Rossetti (1876)

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