“I am the gate for the sheep.” – John 10:7b
I went to a wedding last weekend where the reception was in a gated community’s country club. It was a beautiful place and I felt very posh as I rolled up to the gate house. I had on my wedding finest. John was in a suit. Dori had on an Easter Sunday dress and the boys had on pants that weren’t sweats or jeans. We were looking good!
As I got up to the gate, I rolled my window down and told the attendant we were here for the wedding. I expected her to ask which wedding or my name and check it off of some list, but instead we were just allowed to proceed.
In a way I was a bit stunned. Where was the security? Can I dress up and try this at other gated communities? Part of me was let down too. Here I was invited to this fancy event and you don’t even want to know who I am? I must be important or on a list somewhere right?
Jesus talks about sheep and gates in John 10:1-6. I don’t always like the idea of Jesus keeping people out or in but there are some great things about gates that I do like.
1) Gates keep us together. We may not want to be in the same pen as the black sheep but we’re all in this together. Maybe that’s for a good reason. Perhaps we should learn how to live together and support each other. Togetherness can be a good thing if you have the right attitude about it.
2) Gates set us apart. There’s a very different image of sheep wandering along a mountainside grazing for food then of sheep together behind a fence. If we pass a farm in America and see a few cows in a pasture we’d say “Moo!” but if we saw hundreds of cows behind a fence we’d say “Wow! Look at all the cows!” There is something to be said for being set apart and how others will notice our behavior.
3) Gates help us to be at home. I don’t live in a gated community but I do have a garage door. After a long journey, I’ll hit the button to open up the door and know that I am home. When I”m at home and I hear the garage door opening I know that one of my family is coming home. For me, being at home is a great feeling of comfort and grace. At home, I’m loved for who I am and not for whom I’m supposed to be.
If Jesus is the Gate, then he keeps us together, set apart, and helps us feel at home because he loves us for who we are. He doesn’t care what we are wearing or if our name is on some list. He invites all who want to come in and tells them “Welcome Home.”
Until Everyone Hears,