Opening Gates

On May 3rd we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel (John 10:1-10) Jesus calls himself “the gate for the sheep”. A gate of course is a throughway of a fence. We usually put up fences to provide security, keeping people out or locked in. An unlocked gate is inviting and welcomes people to pass through. In this image we see Jesus as the Good Shepherd who opens the gate and invites all to enter. He offers us security and protection. Jesus is our model for life, showing us by his example how we should be a gate and shepherd for others. But how do we do this?

A Metaphor

Opening our gate to let someone in, especially someone we don’t really know, can be very difficult for some of us. Peter writes (1 Peter 2:20-25) that in our own hardships we should show patience when we are doing good things for others. But how easy is that? When Jesus was insulted, he did not insult back. When he suffered he did not threaten back. Can we do the same? When someone hurts or threatens us don’t we sometimes strike back and then close the gate? Let’s take this image of a gate and apply it to ourselves.  Our gates should be open and remain open for each other. How can we open the door for others if we have vines growing over our gates? Vines grow out of control and choke out the light and any new growth. In order to let the door open freely, we have to remove them.

Spiritual Gardening

I used to live in an old house that had a metal fence and gate. There was ivy growing all over and it had encroached onto the gate, making is difficult to open. The ivy had even begun to take over the garden. It was nice to look at, but it was out of control. Removing the ivy was hard work but well worth it. The result was a bright new space with room for new growth. Let this Season of Easter be a time of new growth as we open our gates to new life and each other.