A few years ago a big church opened up in Silver Spring where I used to live. It was built right next to the SDA world headquarters. There were lots of rumors about how much the church cost to build. Estimates where in the millions. When the church was opened they put on a huge service where thousands of people came. I was curious about the infrastructure so I decided to roam around and see what the church was like in other places besides the sanctuary.
At the time I was what you would call a "nominal Christian." I was not opposing God but I was not searching for him either. So of course, my impressions of who God was and what he was like generally depended a lot on how the church members acted and what the church did. As I roamed through the long hallways I was impressed but severely annoyed. Impressed by the building but annoyed by the deacons that were following me. I was met up with locked doors and deacons standing in front of doors as if they were protecting the president. Upon sending me off they would speak into their ear pieces like CIA agents. Maybe I read too much into it but I am pretty sure they were giving the heads up to the other deacons to watch out for the roamer with long hair, shaggy beard and baggy clothes.
I was unimpressed to say the least. It was weird, because as a nominal Christian I never really knew who God was. Was he that cool guy that some of the nice folk made him out to be or was he the strict mature boring jerk that put body guards to guard his temple from wandering teenagers?
This morning as I was spending time with God I read through Revelation chapter four where John describes God's temple in heaven. I have read this chapter many times. It is highlighted, underlined and has footnotes on it. My favorite part is where John says God had the appearance of "Jasper and Carnelian". I like the way the word carnelian flows off the tongue. try saying it slow: carnelian. Nice eh? But something stood out to me this time around, verse one: "There before me was a door standing open in heaven."
When John goes into vision in chapter one he sees Jesus in the first room of the temple. He falls to his face in fear! As a Jew he knew that the 2nd room of the temple was most-def off limits, that is where God's throne is! But when Jesus is done speaking to the churches John looks looks over and the door to the second room is open and he is invited to enter.
John did not have time to change into his "Sabbath's best." in fact, he was probably in his exile rags. Dirty, tired, smelly and sweaty. And here he is, with an open invitation to enter God's throne room: just as he is.
I do not think John just jumped through that door. I am sure he was scared. Scared that maybe he was overstepping his bounds. Scared that he would be struck down for entering a prohibited place. Scared that he was disrespecting the holy place (or in the words of the well intentioned old school brothers at the church "being irreverent in the sanctuary.") Confused as to why the door to the most important place in all existence is open. Confused as to why he would be invited to go into such a place. If Obama where to invite me to the White House I would be very confused. What could the president possibly want with me? In a similar way, what could God possibly want with John? But it was not about John. It was about God. It was about God revealing himself to John. God left the door wide open because he intends for people to stumble in. He left the door open because his temple is not a milti-million dollar building built with hands that must be protected with locked doors. He left the door open to let us know that we can come in whenever we want and he will meet with us. I suppose this is why the author of Hebrews wroite,
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
The most majestic and holy scene in all in the Bible where God's throne is depicted with all of heaven worshipping begins with an open door.
Many doors have been shut in my life, but it is good to know that the one that leads to the most important place has been left wide open for me.