Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lenten walls

There has certainly been a lot of talk recently about national borders
and the plight of refugees.
Some of those ways will be more Christian than others, some less.
More important than one’s plan or scheme for handling immigration
is the question of whether and how much
one’s heart is open –or closed-
to welcoming and serving Christ who stands at the door and knocks,
Christ who is the hungry and homeless stranger, the alien, the refugee.

How can we not think, here, of Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall”

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.

Such a caution should find a place in every human heart
and certainly in every Christian heart.
Perhaps this Lent we might invite Christ
to open our hearts for us to probe a little and to ask, each of us,
“To what homeland do I owe my deepest allegiance?
In what homeland do I claim my citizenship –
not the one on my passport, but the one in my heart?”

Might we look at the walls we’ve built in our own lives? in our hearts?
And might we ask,
What and whom am I walling in?
What and whom am I walling out?
Can we not find at least something in our hearts
“that doesn’t love a wall?”
When we look at Christ upon the Cross we see no wall at all.
All is open, all is laid bare, all is there for all to have.
All are welcome to enter into the kingdom he won for us
by laying down his life for us.

At this table we celebrate, even now, the place we hope will be ours
when we reach the homeland of our hearts
when this life ends and eternity begins.
This table is open to all who would invite Christ into their hearts
even as he invites us into his.

Pray with me this Lent that any walls we’ve built
between us and God, between us and our neighbor,
will begin to come down,
and that we’ll find that in a Christian’s heart
there is indeed something “that does not love a wall.”