We have this term in our language which refers to opportunity knocking. “When opportunity knocks” we say. And to be honest, if there is a rest of that phrase, I am not sure what it is. I guess we are to think that when opportunity knocks, we need to answer the door.
Over the desk in my bedroom at which I do personal correspondence to my closest fiends (I still very much like to write letters in the peacock blue ink my grandmother used (Sheaffer and Co. sells it)) – over the desk hangs a picture of Jesus knocking at a door without door handles. It is overrun with weeds and brambles as if the pathway to it is not often trodden. Jesus stands with a lantern. the painting hangs at St. Paul’s in London and is stunning in its greens and blues and aquas and browns. (for more on the paining http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Light_of_the_World_(painting) )
I know that for me, there is that American need to climb – to find opportunity and grab at it. But as I age, I find that the tendency is abating and it is an enormous relief. All I want is an authentic life with some good food and a few close friends with whom I eat and laugh and occasionally cry who cook for me as much as I do for them. And I have found that here in Denver. I want good work which improves the world and helps the poor and I have that. And I want a warm, dry place to live with my dog who daily reminds me that I am loved by a God who is simply crazy about me. And I have that too.
The door knocker in this picture always transports me back to my childhood to the first viewing of SCROOGE in A Christmas Carol which I often read out loud with friends in Advent as a reminder of how hard it is to see that one’s life has become curdled with greed, envy, and – worst of all – indifference to suffering. These things hurt my heart in society and they nearly kill it in the church. But all I can do is to know that the opportunity which knocks on my own heart every day is Jesus who depends on my opening a door which has no outside handle on it. Most days I do. And when I do, Jesus never lectures, scolds or criticizes. He simply sits and looks at me with a look which reminds me that I am loved and that all shall, indeed, be well.