Ben Johnson’s book, I Stand at the Door, is written in the first person. The voice is the one who comes knocking on our door – the one for whose birth we await. Listen to these words, imagining they are Christ’s words to you and me and the church in our time.
“Behold, I stand at the door of my church waiting to be recognized. Who will hear my voice?
I call out again and again, for many still have no awareness of me, no understanding of how they need me in their life.
The scientific spirt of the age is edging me out fo the consciousness of the culture.
Materialism cuts people off from me by making itself a god.
False and ill-ordered priorities have sent my church on fruitless crusades. Many of my leaders have forgotten that the kingdom breaks in as a gift through divine initiative. All these distortions of reality separate me from my people.
So, I stand at the door, and knock!
Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and eat with you, and you will eat with me.
I wish so much to fill the leaders of my churches, their denominations, their plans, and their dreams. I cannot fill buildings or offices or books. None of these breathes. Only persons are alive. Only persons choose and create.
So I come to the church, my body on earth. I knock, hoping that someone will hear my voice and open the door.
I come to persons, to individual persons in my church and knock. Those who hear the rap on the door have an opportunity to greet me. I wait for them to lift the latch and open the door.
So many live their lives with only a vague awareness of my living presence. Church attendance is sometimes little more than a meaningless habit. For many, prayer has become a lifeless ritual because they have never encountered me as a living presence. They are discouraged.
Listen, you downcast, I am here, I have come to you. I present myself to you. Can you hear me?
I want you to open the door. You open the door by listening to me, and listening requires you to shift your attention.
You have given your attention to your job, your career, your family, your dreams, and your pleasures. Give me your attention. Hear my word.
I continue to speak to persons through the Bible and the life of the community of faith. I also speak in the deep silence of your soul…in the persons you meet daily…in the providences of your life. You have ignored me by writing those encounters off as chance or coincidence. There is no such thing as chance; chance does not exist. Listen to the words of your life. They come to you in the people you meet, in the mail that you open, in the television programs you watch; even in the light moments of frivolity and levity, I am speaking to you.
My presence transforms all that it touches. I always create anew. If you will give me your attention, you will be changed. You will receive a new consciousness, a deep awareness of my presence, a new center from which to make all your choices and to select your values. This center will give you a new way of perceiving reality. Do not be afraid of this change. It will unify your life, liberate you from meaninglessness. This new center is the fountain of life.
To the degree that you give me your attention, I will transform you life; and to the degree your personal consciousness is transformed, you will revitalize my body, the church. Like a candle burning in the darkness, your life will dispel the clouds of doubt covering my church. You will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf.
You will be contagious. Your fire will ignite others. In this age of bland, empty skepticism you will be food that feeds the hunger for the divine life.
Your hunger for God will create an epidemic. Let your soul be captured with a yearning for God…ask your questions in the congregation. Unashamedly confess you are a “God-seeker.” Do not hide your hunger for God.
Do I have your assent? Have you heard me speaking to you? Are you ready to listen? I will make it very simple for you to begin.”
– Ben Johnson, I Stand at the Door, CTS Press, 1986, 1-3.
What gets in the way of you listening to Christ?
How have you experienced God speaking into your life? Can you remember a time when you heard God’s voice, God’s will for you – how has God been able to communicate to you?
If you struggle to hear God, what about today’s reflection frustrates you? What about it gives you hope?
What hopes do you hold as we embark on this journey?
Help me to listen for your knock at my door.
Help me to trust that you long to know me more,
that you long for me to let you into the details of my life.
Open my eyes to see, open my ears to hear, open my heart to receive.
Transform me Lord.
Light the fire of hope within me and help me to share of its light with others.