Meanwhile, Saul was still spewing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest, seeking letters to the synagogues in Damascus. If he found persons who BELONGED TO THE WAY…” – Acts 9:1-4
If I produced a catalog of my photographs, several themes would emerge. Much like the “voice” I have developed in my writing, my eye has also evolved its own lens, or selective preference in framing the way I see the physical world.
While beauty certainly gets my attention, I am even more interested in story. But I have also found I don’t just capture the stories I see (journalism), I view the world around me through the framing of my own story (commentary). It’s not that the things I see aren’t already there… but that the way I see casts light on the things that are important – and becoming important – in my own story.
In consequence, my catalog includes a lot of open doors, archways, open windows, passageways, paths, roads, and bridges. At first I didn’t really think about it, they just caught my eye. Now I believe I understand why. You see I have noticed that I engage life as a journey; open windows and doorways – especially where there is light or something beautiful the other side – communicate ideas to me such as “invitation”, “hope”, “possibility”, “exploration”, “journey”, “adventure” – “come and see”.
The path forward doesn’t always have to be illuminated by searchlights, clearcut, or impossible to miss; sometimes the trail is more of a suggestion or a possibility. It’s like my friend Wendy said once, when someone wanted her to see the next step – after a tragedy – as something unavoidably obvious: “I don’t see an open window… but I can feel a breeze coming from somewhere….”
THE WAY – THE GATE – THE INVITATION:
I love the way Jesus describes himself as “the gate” in John’s Gospel. “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:9-10).
And then, in an almost comical indictment of the legalism that dominated the teaching of so many religious leaders (and still does to this day), Jesus said this by way of contrast, pointing out that, while he is an open invitation, they slam the door in people’s faces: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13).
So I love paths through the woods, archways into gardens, windows letting in fresh air and light, bridges, open gates, open invitations; I love Jesus.
I can’t get enough of the open invitation, but I also can’t even begin to understand how readily and how enthusiastically so many “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.”
“Yes, I am the gate… My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life!” – Jesus
Here are a few slides from my recent walk in the woods at Camp Agape – DEREK