This is the door of reconciliation in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. At the time Christopher Columbus was sailing for America, two warring factions were locked in battle in Ireland. One group was forced to retreat to the cathedral were they were trapped. The others pounded on a locked door asking them to open so they could have a treaty. The ones inside were naturallyskeptical fearing that if they opened the door they would be killed. Therefore, the leader of the group outside cut a hole in the door and stuck his arm through it, risking having it cut off by a sword, extending his hand in peace.
This Sunday we will kick off a series considering events in the life of John Wesley that point to spiritual truths that shape us. We will consider one of the most important sermons Wesley preached called Catholic Spirit. In that sermon he used a text from 2 King 10:15 where Jehu says, "If your heart is as my heart, lend me your hand."
Reconciliation begins with lending a hand to another, accepting that person as a brother/sister, seeking peace and trust. To do this often requires risking something, maybe our comfort or peace. As well, it usually requires letting go of something such as having our way or holding onto our point of view. But this is what the door of reconciliation looks like: risking, letting go and trusting. This is what opens the way to peace and the possibility of a better future.
Some in our United Methodist family believe that because of our differences over LGBT rights in the church that permanently locking the door and building all new cathedrals is the only way to peace. And this could lead to peace...for a time. My experience is that people being people will not take long to find something else to get divided over. The more Methodist way, ah, even the more biblical way, is to look for doors of reconciliation and find ways to walk through them even with our differences!
A door can shut as well as open. Paul encourages us to be openers. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." Thanks St. Luke's for being not just an open community, but an opening community!