Devotional for the week of May 3, 2020
As he prepared to return home near the end of three years in a state prison, the man wrote to the church where, before his arrest, he had worshiped, attended Bible study, and played guitar in the music program. While an inmate, he went to chapel and showed up at Bible study on a regular basis. He was ready and hopeful to return to his faith community. Days before his release, he received a letter from the church: “We cannot allow you to fellowship with us until our mission committee meets to decide whether to admit you.”
“I am the gate,” says Jesus, the shepherd and the bringer of life. Jesus is the one who opens the way. For all who suffer rejection—barred from entrance and denied community because of who they are, how they behave, where they come from, what they’ve done, how they look, or what they believe—it is shocking to hear Jesus say, “I am the gate, and I came to bring abundant life to all my sheep.” We may think, Really? Me? Can it be so?
To the religious leaders who saw themselves as gatekeepers—the deniers and allowers, the definers and approvers, the deciders and assigners—Jesus voiced his graced rebuke: “No! I am the gate, and the gate is open. All with ears listening and hearts aching for mercy, come this way. Enough of those who kill your hope, destroy your spirit, steal your worth! Thieves and bandits they are, in righteous disguise.”
And to the church, Jesus voices this nonnegotiable word: “I am the gate. The gate is open, bringing goodness and mercy to all. There are no exceptions and no exclusions. So, my sheep, pour my wine, break my bread, splash my water, serve my meal, spend my life, be my body, welcome all as my own. The gate is open.”
Devotional message and art based on the readings for May 3rd, reprinted from sundaysandseasons.com.
Copyright © 2019 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.