Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Jesus Gate: Let me recommend the journey
This morning - on my "devotional walk" with Scout - I paused for a moment and noticed the way the path ahead seemed to beckon, as if inviting the journey. So I took the picture - at left - with my cell phone. I didn't snap the image because it was particularly dramatic or aesthetically pleasing so much as to remind myself of the insight that came along with the moment.
I realized how often I am drawn to take photographs of paths. Not roads so much as pathways. And I thought about how the appeal of the path is not exclusively the destination but more the journey itself.
I also like doors, windows, and gates. I especially like gates. And in thinking about it I realized that I like gates that are not locked. Not standing open, necessarily, but open-able. And I thought about the way Jesus described himself as a gate.
It's this idea of a full life, of completeness - it's a recurring theme with Jesus. And he talks about it in terms of being a gateway; a personal gateway. And there is such freedom in the image: Come in... Go out... Find pasture. The Jesus gate is fluid. You don't have a gate without a path.
And you don't have life to the full without passing through the gate, and continuing along the pathway...
Yesterday evening Andrew flew in to Tampa (TPA), and I parked on the rooftop at another gateway, a stopping point on a very long path. I arrived at the very tail-end of twilight, the last light fading in the west and the airport landscape beginning to recede into darkness. The views were spectacular, from downtown Tampa in one direction to Clearwater and the Gulf in the other. And the air was warm, breezy, inviting.
Andrew flew in for a long weekend. He's been in the States three weeks teaching - briefs, meetings and lectures - he's the designated people-person, charged with communicating and building relationships on behalf of his Battalion. Since we saw him at Christmas he's been in Bahrain, Germany, the Netherlands, Oman, The UAE, Italy, Sardinia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
But this morning I couldn't help but think about the airport as a gate and about Andrew's life as an extended journey. And I am so thankful that he has invited Jesus to be his guide along the way.
I truly believe this is a journey God intends to be as fulfilling along the way as it promises to be at the destination. I'm not diminishing the destination - it's just that I have no way of comparing it to what I have now. Jesus said "I am the Way." Jesus also said "I am the Gate."
As for me, I say, "Both the pathway and the gate are underutilized. Let me recommend the journey."
Posted by Derek Maul at 6:13 AM