Monday, April 27, 2015

Leaving the Gate Open

So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep.  All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.  I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
                                                         John 10:7-10 (Common English Bible)

When I was a little boy, I had a dog named Scamper who was small, black and white with a mask.  He was a mutt but this didn't diminish his value to me in the slightest.  I loved him very much.

The bad thing about this dog is that he tended to run off when he got outside our yard. We would usually have to chase him down and he thought this was a great game!

Once, Scamper got out when we didn't know it and he wandered off and got lost.  We left the gate open and I prayed for him to be safe and to find his way home but he didn't. Days passed and we didn't see any sign of him.  I became distressed when I went into the backyard and discovered that my parents had closed the gate!  I quickly opened it up again and scolded them for this seeming loss of hope.

My prayers were answered the next day when my mother saw Scamper in a schoolyard playing with the children there.  He must have been surviving on the lunch scraps these kids gave him at recess.  When my mom called him he ran to the car and was so happy to see her.  She took him home and he drank his weight in water and then ate a couple of bowls of food.  She said that he then slept for the rest of the day.

He didn't try to get out of the yard anymore.

"Those gates are gonna swing wide!"
As we think of Jesus as the Gate, I think about this lost dog of mine.  I think about making sure the gate was open to him so that he could return home anytime he wanted.  I think about the unwavering hope of a little child.

This divine metaphor of John's speaks volumes to the human condition.  As in the hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" we sing, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love."

It is comforting to know that the Gate remains open to us even then.

Picture by Albert Bridge [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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