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04/06/2011

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Mike Poteet

I liked your meditation on doors, and on what it all means for how we greet people at them -- and also how we usher them out when the worship service is over. Are you familiar with the following benediction text? I first found it in Shane Claiborne et al.'s "Common Prayer," but I don't know if that is its ultimate source:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.

I like its image of the church building doors being open and ready to receive us as we come back again after another week (or day) in the mission field.

David Gambrell

Thanks, Mike. I didn't know that benediction, but I do like it.

Teresa Stricklen

It's interesting to me to think about this in connection with all the text (see Ex. 26) that's given over to specifying how the curtains for the tabernacle are to be made with "cherubim to be worked into them," as though it is the angels who form the perimeter of the worship space around the presence of God.

Thanks for the benediction, Mike!

David Gambrell

Thanks, Teresa. Another angle is the entrance liturgies and songs of ascent in the psalms ...
Psalm 15: "O Lord, who may abide in your tent?"
Psalm 24: "Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!"
Psalm 84: "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to live in the tents of wickedness."
Psalm 122: "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!' Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem."

Dan DeBevoise

Thanks David for this post. Ever since reading it I've been thinking about a poster that showed church doors of the PCUSA. One of my favorites are the doors at the Bethel Mission (a ministry to farm workers) in Wimauma, FL. Beautiful wood carving of Jn 15:5. It represents not just a door to a room but to a life together; a ministry.

It also reminds me of what Gordon Lathrop says in "Holy Things" about how what happens at the entrance is the first step into the "ordo". So that we are invited in with a "welcome and a warning"; here are holy things for a holy people.

Good things to think about as we worry whether we have the snazziest outdoor banners for Easter.

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