G is for Gate
Most days, as I leave to go to work, I have to unlock the church carpark gate to get out. There’s a fiddly padlock that drives me bonkers, but I wrestle with it and once I’ve sorted it, I’m on my way.
We live in the flat above the church. Opening the gate reminds me that even though it is our home, it’s not wholly ours and we have a responsibility to look after it. Someday (hopefully some far away day) someone else will live here, we hold it in trust for them.
Sometimes the gate troubles me. We have to lock it at times; for security and to make sure the car park is not used as a public one. We have to keep the church locked too. Even I can remember a day when churches were left open. Those days are well gone.
There are a number of ‘gates’ in the Bible; gates of righteousness, gates of death, temple gates, the gates of hell, North, South, East and West gates, and lots and lots of city gates. City gates helped to fortify a city. Along with the walls of a city, they kept people safe within and helped to keep enemies out. There are those who don’t like Christians and churches; but I don’t want our gates to keep anyone out who would like to enter them.
I sometimes have ‘security’ fears and was encouraged and reminded recently by one of our elders who said that it is not locks and bolts that protect us, but God. Now he was not saying , ‘don’t lock your doors’; he was just saying that we should trust God. I want God to teach me to be a wise, generous and fearless gatekeeper. The church building and gates may be locked at times, but I pray our church, our church family, will always be open and welcoming.
When I’m on the early shift, I admit I don’t ponder such deep thoughts. I’ve only enough brain function to get myself to work. But for as long as we’re here, I hope that gate will help keep me accountable to a few things.