Last week my children had gone to bed and were asleep—about 9–that’s usually when I get my homework done. We live in a 2nd story apartment and sometimes I remember to leave the porch light on at night. My dad and I were watching a football game…we had our feet up and he was talking on the phone, filling in the day for Mary Jane, one of my sisters from New Mexico. Fiona the boxer was sacked out for the night.
The doorbell rang and I jumped out of the rocker and halfway across the room. I held out my hand and shushed the dog back in one look. When I looked down the stairs towards the double door windows, I couldn’t see who it was, so I tiptoed down and thanked goodness that my girls hadn’t so much as made a peep.
As I got halfway down I saw it was a man. In my head I said a defensive prayer—yeah, I do that sometimes—“please let me know if he means us harm.” And then all the related prayers—“I know I’m not supposed to open the door to strangers, but he might be lost and I might be able to help…” It is a small town. And once I can see someone’s eyes, I can use my intuition. I opened it, and he said “I’m sorry. I must have startled you…”
Wisely or not, I opened my door to the stranger. I didn’t invite him in but I did stand on the porch and talk with him. I told him that my children were asleep, otherwise he wouldn’t have startled or bothered me. He explained that he was a guest of the seminary and that he had gotten turned around and thought maybe this was where he was staying. I directed him to continue down the street in the dark and he thanked me and apologized again, then walked on.
Isn’t it amazing how are we opened by God? Sooner or later we will all be faced like Peter, with a challenge to our prejudices. We might even know we need to be pushed. God asks us why we only hang out with our family or our usual gang of friends. Does God ask us to give the gift of the Gospel to a person we know who doesn’t speak ‘Christianese’? Or be an ally to people who have suffered from other people’s prejudices? One day may God open us up so we will recognize like Peter’s gang of friends that God has a bigger plan in mind for the church and the world than we do. Who are we to hinder God? Do we resist God? Better yet, as The Message translates—How could I object to God? We hope to all be opened to the Life we have in Christ—and listen carefully to that nudging or nagging that pushes us past our own ‘gang.’