Pentecost 11, 2022

Jesus speaks of a narrow way. Our culture does not like narrowness. We see it as an intolerable vice. Ironically, we can be very narrow minded about narrowmindedness. If you ever watch Bill Maher, you know that he makes a great deal out of pointing out this contradiction in the current cultural climate. It has a certain comedic possibility. But Jesus does not see the narrow way as a problem. He sees it as the only solution. The preacher will need to be willing to speak accordingly.

Eternal life does have a double door, with a cross on one side and some other symbol on the other, say a crescent or the yin and yang of eastern religions. Passing through any other door simply does not bring one to the same place as Jesus, who is the door, brings us. There is a scandalous particularity to Jesus’ claim. There is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved.

At the same time, the preacher of Jesus narrow door cannot forget that Jesus came because God loved the whole world. He would that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus died and rose for every sinner. These are not incompatible, but need to be held in their proper tension. I have always liked the image of the cross for this. It has that singular foot, that narrow pole, which contacts the earth. There is only one point of access. Yet, after one goes up that cross a little ways, one encounters the arms which are spread wide to embrace the whole of this broken creation.

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