Monday of Pentecost 11 – Prayer of the Week

O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever.

Groucho Marx once famously quipped that he would never join a club that would admit him as a member. This prayer says that Jesus has invited us to enter His kingdom through a narrow door. Just what is that narrow door? Is heaven like an invitation-only fraternity, a club in which a member has to invite you to join before you are allowed in? That seems rather exclusive. What is that narrow door and what makes it narrow?

The rest of the prayer helps us here. We are called to enter the door. We have the invitation from the One who has the authority to offer that invitation. We don’t need more qualifications. What we need is the guidance and leadership of Word and Spirit so that we walk through that door and not some other door. But the truly important part of this prayer is that the door leads to feast of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

This whole discussion leads me to reflect on the shape of the cross itself. Its foot is narrow, a single post set into the earth. There is no other post set upon this earth by which heaven is accessed. There is just this one on which hangs the salvation of the whole world. It is a narrow thing. But as you ascend that cruel tree, the arms of the cross and the arms of our Savior are extended wide, in an embrace of the whole world.

Yes, the doorway to heaven is narrow. There is only one name under heaven by which men may be saved and that name is Christ. It is not a double door with Moses, Buddha, or some alternative, only Jesus. But His salvation is broad, broad enough to include the whole of humanity, including you.

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