This Sunday I was ushering at the North door, and I opted to sit out in the narthex. On occasion, I really love doing that. Especially in the summer. I love sitting there, looking in on the service while all the doors around me are open – the doors leading from the street into the church, and the doors leading into the sanctuary. I love what it says about our community. That one small gesture of opening our doors suddenly makes our service and our community permeable.
Tourists enter, glance in at the sanctuary and see our community gathered to practice our faith. Perhaps they take an order of service and join us, perhaps they continue on. Either way, it is so important that they see us there, much more than the beautiful architecture of our building.
And even if they don’t come inside, they hear us! Our prayers and hymns float out onto the sidewalk, mingling with the noise of traffic on Wellington. And the outside comes in to us – we hear that traffic, and feel the cool breeze as it comes through our doors.
All this noise – traffic, prayers, hymns – resonated for me in the words of our reading today: speaking in tongues, cymbals clashing. We were reminded, in one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible, that love is the basis of Christian life.
And what a beautiful reading to hear, if you happened to be wandering through our doors today. So often read at weddings, it is easy to forget that the type of love that St. Paul was writing about was not romantic love, but the everyday love that we should practice towards everyone – patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, honesty, and hope.
And what lovely words for us to send out through our open doors, into the din of traffic, hopefully to find the ear of someone who will hear it, and be better for it.
We gather at church today and every Sunday to learn how to live those words, to be reminded how important it is that they become more than mere poetry for us, but a way of living and being with each other. It is easy to open our doors, much harder to open our hearts. But we strive, with Christ, to do that and send his word out into the world.