A Window and a Witness
“I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you.” – Revelation 3:20
At my kids’ school a police officer addressed the question of what to do when home alone. “Whatever else happens, don’t answer the door.”
The kids were perplexed. “Isn’t it rude to ignore the knocking?” The cop got intense. “No! You don’t know who’s knocking. It could be a kidnapper.” Total silence. Then a small voice rose up, “Well, maybe you could write a note and tape it to the door and the note could say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t answer because I’m home all by myself.'”
What naivete! You just don’t answer the door.
But the knocking doesn’t stop.
In the parsonage where I live, there is a window at the front of the house. It looks onto the porch. Whenever the doorbell rings, our youngest son runs to the window. “It’s the neighbor! It’s Violet! It’s Fernando! It’s William!”
That’s what we need. We need a window and a witness. Good thing we have the Bible.
God shows us who God is. And the Bible is a witness to this revelation. Now, scripture isn’t divine. There isn’t a book on the porch. It’s God out there.
But the Bible tells us who God is. When my son tells me that my friend Fernando is at the front door, he isn’t Fernando. But I wouldn’t know who’s knocking without him.
Which isn’t to say the Bible gets God perfectly right. It can’t. It’s human. My son once thought a guy delivering a pizza was trying to sell us magazine subscriptions. Witnesses aren’t always accurate.
But over and over and over again the biblical witness tells us that the One knocking at the door is love.
Someone’s knocking. Scripture just came running from the window to tell us who it is. It’s Jesus.
He’s safe. Let him in. He doesn’t want to overwhelm you. He wants to be with you. To sit at your table. To eat with you. Catch a second naivete. Follow the wisdom of that little kid. Hang a note on the doorway of your very self. “I’m here. I’m all alone. Dear God, come in.”
I’m here, I’m all alone, Dear God, come in. Amen.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.