O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Whenever I hear this language of doors being irrevocably shut….I always think of the Royal Doors which are used in Eastern Orthodox liturgy.

After the Liturgy of the Word is celebrated and the Nicene Creed is recited, the Deacon shouts “the doors! The doors!” at which point all the entrances and exits to the Church were locked and the cathecumenate (ie. those who were unbaptized) were escorted out of the worship space for instruction. Only the baptized can receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and the locking of the doors suggests that those who are outside have missed their chance to come in and experience Christ.

We shouldn’t necessarily be surprised by this.

As much as we conceptualize Jesus as all-loving and all-accepting, the language of exclusion is not foreign to the Gospel accounts…..remember the parable of the wedding feast??? that guy is subject to weeping and gnashing of teeth. Similarly, plants that do not bear good fruit gets tossed into the fire… . Eek! :S

But there is good news! The doors are not always shut….but rather, they are thrust open week after week, month after month, day after day, inviting people in. We are given the power of our own voice and testimony as we serve those outside the church walls….ensuring that they have an invitation to the banquet of Eternal Life…..and offering them the wedding robe of baptism to ensure that they are not left in sadness or despair.

While God is all-powerful and just, he is also merciful….always willing to extend Grace to the world, and opening the door to all who knock. Lord Jesus, come soon! Come and be born in our hearts!