There is a very subtle, yet powerful theological point being made here. If it is understood correctly, it can be a comfort beyond the speaking of it. “Here I am!” This is a theological truth, of course. We know that God is present, indeed, that he is immanent, that is, dwelling within his creation at all times and in all places. But this exclamation at the beginning of this passage is much more personal, much more directly pointed at each and every one of us. He is exclaiming to us personally, right now, at this very moment, “Here I am!”
But there is the other perspective too. The fact of the matter is that God has been here all the time. It is we who have lost sight of that fact. There are countless reasons for why this happens. We get distracted by things, by our fears, or the complexities of daily life. Our minds fill up with concerns or doubts about the future, or in worrying over the mistakes of the past. Most often, then, it is we who are not ‘here.’ But in this passage, God is calling us back into the here and now. With this, “Here I am!” he jolts us back into the moment, the reality of the now, where he is always present.
“I stand at the door and knock.” What door? Ah, this is a great question. My old, saintly, Irish grandmother, used to tell me all the time: “Always open your door to the stranger who knocks. You never know if it might be Jesus in disguise.” How many times has Jesus “knocked at our doors” and we did not let him in because of the way he looked, or smelled, or spoke? If Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, as we believe, then shouldn’t we be opening our doors to all people, all of the time, and especially to the widows, the orphans and the strangers we encounter each day, seeing him in them? Would we not be imitating him in doing this?
How about the door of our soul? Here is the center of the target. “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Jesus is knocking at the doors of our souls right now. He wishes to enter there and to share the Bread of Life and the Cup of Blessing with us, now—and forevermore.
What is it that keeps us from hearing that knock? From opening our doors? Is it fear? Fear of the unknown, or of the serious changes I might have to make in the way I live my life, if I answer that knock ? Is it pride? Are we saying, “This is my house. I let in or keep out whoever I want to let in or keep out.” Or is it simply that we have been so distracted by the noise of life that we could not hear his persistent knocking there? These are questions that we must answer for ourselves. If I finally hear Jesus saying, in the depth of my being, “Here I am!” what will my response be?
The most important point of this passage is that God is inviting ALL to the messianic banquet. God wants to share his eternal love and joy with everyone of us. All we have to do is open the door. He is offering us an invitation, not making a demand on us. That is the ‘revelation’ of this passage. Though Jesus is always knocking, we have the choice to respond, or not. It is our response to this free and magnanimous invitation that this passage from Revelation calls to reflect upon. If we hear his exclamation, “Here I am!” and humbly open our doors to him, the joyful consequence is that we will find ourselves at table in the heavenly banquet with him forever. If not? Well, that is too bleak a prospect to contemplate.
Let us practice listening for Jesus’ knocking at our doors. Let us go to prayer to listen for it, but let us listen for it in every situation of our days too. What a different world it would be if more and more of us “opened our doors” to his persistent knocking. This is what Jesus wants. To enter the world through our souls, our hearts, our minds and our bodies each day. Listen! Can you hear Jesus saying, “Here I am!” I stand at the door and knock. Will you let me in? And our prayer is offered, as always, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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