Doorway to heaven and finding mercy
"I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I've been knocking from the inside." Rumi
Our spiritual quest may be compared to the man Rumi describes who has been looking for a door all his life. He finds the door, knocks on it, only to discover he is inside that door.
Our search for God is baffling at times because we fail to know that God is all around us and sustains us with the gift of our very breath. We are like the fish in the ocean who asks his mother to teach him about water. The mother says, "Everything around you is water."
In Genesis 28 Jacob had a dream about a ladder that extended all the way to heaven. Angels were ascending and descending. Jacob woke up and realized God was in this place. “This is the gate of heaven,” he said.
Like you and I, Jacob was a sinner. He stole his brother Esau’s birthright by deceiving his dying father Isaac and receiving the blessing and inheritance that should have been Esau’s. God chose to work through Jacob just as he worked through King David and St Peter and a whole list of us sinners.
That is the wonderful news! Every place is a holy place, even the houses and doors we inhabit. Jesus is present right where we live. The presence of a crucifix or prayer corner can aid us.
We can picture Jesus sitting in a chair opposite us, and that can make our prayer corner special. Jesus wants to be with us, and we are always at the place where earth meets heaven.
There is a story told about ancient monks who searched the earth looking for the door to heaven. Finally, they found the place where earth meets heaven. When they opened the door, they were back at their monastery, where they lived their daily lives.
The good news is that God desires to be close to us daily, to watch over us and to forgive us our weaknesses. I remember a situation of stress with one of my sons when I reached out my hand toward him. He flinched back as if I were going to strike him.
I did a double take and quickly analyzed my behavior. Now I realize that God loves us more than we love our children. God would never be vindictive or judgmental. If we come near God, we are likely to get a hug and not a blow.
In Madonna’s song “Looking for Mercy” she says,
Every night, before I close my eyes
I say a little prayer that you'll have mercy on me
Please, dear God, to live inside the divine
[To have] Somebody to teach me to love
Somebody to help me rise above…
[I’m] Looking for, looking for, looking for mercy
We are all looking for mercy. This prayerful plea in Madonna’s music is reminiscent of the spiritual poetry of Lenard Cohen.
Jesus said, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” Matthew 9:13. Jesus goes on to explain, “I didn’t come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners.”
A kind word, a drink of water, a visit to a shut in, a smile! That’s all it takes.