Friday, September 2, 2016

“Making A Better Door”

If anyone has ever said to you “You make a better door than a window”, you probably already have a sense of what the phrase means.  Wictionary, the online dictionary, defines it in this way:

(idiomatic) To obstruct someone's view, especially as a result of thoughtlessness.   Usage notes:   Often used in the second person — "You make a better door than a window" — as a tactful way of asking a person to move aside so that one may see.

I leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a “tactful” way to ask someone to move.  But regardless of your feelings for the phrase, it came to mind last week when I was reading about the Wheelers Avenue Baptist Church in Huston Texas.  I was reminded because this predominantly black congregation had some front doors with a story.  It seems that during the days of segregation, there were numerous doors in the city that you were barred from using if you happened to be born the wrong color.  One set of these doors adorned the front of the Loew's State Movie Theatre.  And so, years later when the theater was being torn down, its doors were purchased by the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and installed in the front of their new church building.  So every Sunday the worshippers passed through doors that use to exclude them, but now welcomed them in.

Every Sunday, thousands of African-American worshippers stream through them. Every week, Wheeler's custodians polish them. And every once in a great while, the church's pastor or Lawson (now pastor emeritus) will preach about those doors, the doors that the civil rights movement opened. 

Doors can do two things.  They can open up to welcome people in, or they can close tightly to shut people out.  And it seems to me that in a real sense, we are all doors. We can openly welcome people into our lives and the fellowship of God’s Kingdom; or we can close up tight and keep people out our hearts and our fellowship.

This is a good thing to remember as we enter the month of September.  During this month we will be having a special worship service every Sunday.  On the 4th we will recognize workers, inviting folk to come in their work clothes, with special music featuring Jessica Moore.  On the 11th we will have one service at 10:30 at Collett Park, where we will celebrate those who serve others, like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, followed by a pot-luck.  The 18th will have young people involved in our worship participating and sharing their talent.  And the 24th will be a musical extravaganza – a celebration of our unity – with a meal to follow.  

We hope you’ll participate in all of these services and invite your friends and neighbors.  These will be good services, but more important than any program is the friendship and love offered by the individual members of our family of faith to the visitors who walk into our midst.  And in this area, I feel very confident.  Maple Avenue is a welcoming congregation, and it does my heart good to see how our church family can quickly embrace others.  

To this end, this is a good month to be intentional about being the best door possible.  The United Methodist Church, over the past few years, has used the slogan:  ‘Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.’  This September let’s make this personal.  It’s our hearts that are open.  It’s our minds that seek to grow.  And we are the inviting doors through which people can enter into the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
So the next time someone tells you that “You make a better door than a window,” respond with an enthusiastic “Thank You!  I’ve been striving to be the best door possible!”  We have a congregation full of nice doors, and September is a time to swing into action.

Your’s in Christ;
David Rockhill