By Judy Howard Peterson
Lectionary reading for 3/16/2022: Psalm 105:1-42; 2 Chronicles 20:1-22; Luke 13:22-31
Selected passage for reflection: 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13
Luke 13:22-30, NLT
Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God. And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”
For much of my life I would have been the one inquiring after who was going to be saved. Was it going to be the whole lot of us or just a certain few? But now I’m more interested in the fact that Jesus doesn’t answer the question, but rather shifts the conversation back towards the life of the individual who asked it. I find this interesting because this is so often what Jesus does with me.
“How about you? Are you someone who is interested in a deeper intimacy with me even if it required some additional work on your part? Would you consider putting in that effort sooner rather than later? Are you interested in pursuing an intimacy with me that is greater than the show you can so easily put on?”
I appreciate the redirect because I know from personal experience that it’s not the difficult to become so consumed by ultimate outcomes that we miss out on present invitations to enter into deeper intimacies. It’s actually not all that difficult to become so consumed with whose invited in and how narrow the door may be, that we lose sight of the fact that we ourselves have been extended an invitation that is waiting for a response. And because there are no verses that can be quoted where Jesus ever said, “tricked ya.” this must mean that the door is at least wide enough for us to walk through.
And this is what I hope we will all do during our Lenten journeys, accept the ever-present invitation to walk through God’s wide open door, to dive into deeper intimacy with the God who has little use for the show, but is always eager to spend some time diving into deeper intimacy with each and every one of us.
So how about you? Are you someone who is interested in establishing a deeper intimacy with God even if it requires some new work on your part? How about you? Would you consider putting in the effort to center your relationship with God sooner rather than later? How about you? Are you interested in pursuing an intimacy with God that is greater than the show that perhaps you, like me, can so easily put on?
God who holds the door open to greater intimacy, help me not become so distracted by the width of the door that I lose sight of you, the one who is holding it open.
About the Author
Judy Howard Peterson splits her time between Chicago, IL and Marinette, WI. She currently identifies as a “Pastor-at-Large", providing pastoral care and spiritual formation for countless spiritual nomads and preaching and teaching across the country. She received her MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary, once walked across the United States, is married to Jeff Peterson, and is passionate about the gospel of Jesus being good news of great joy for all people without exception. You can follow her @walkingpastor on Instagram and Judy Howard Peterson on Facebook.