CHURCH DOORS WIDE OPEN
Seems hard to believe that churches being open 24/7 has gone the way of the dinosaurs--extinct--and with good reason. Actually it is harder to believe that they were left open in the first place, Except for Sundays and scheduled meetings and celebrations, the only way you can get into a church these days
unscheduled is with permission, a key, and a door code. I realize that a person can pray anywhere and there are many places you can stop to worship, but think about it. How wonderful would it be that at any time of the day or night you could just walk through an open door and go into church.
I am not proposing that we leave our places of worship open and vulnerable. My goodness, so many churches including mine have been vandalized on the grounds that I can't even imagine what would happen to the inside of a beautiful church. Even a simple chapel with only a wooden cross and a few candles would eventually be abused. Our churches, like our homes, have to have their doors locked and be protected. So what can a person like me, who would love to step inside a holy place often and unscheduled to do?
Well, my first line of defense, is to have the nave (as we Episcopalians call it--sanctuary if you are Baptist) open with the lights on before and after celebrations and meetings. The second line of defense is just more weekday services. And my third line of defense is cyberspace.
One good thing about the internet is that you can go to church anytime day or night, 24/7. You can watch a service of the denomination of you choice, enjoy sacred music, listen to just sermons or if you want just stillness and quiet, you fill your screen with a beautiful altar. I am very fortunate that my church has a website with a full 360 degree view of the inside of our church. By focusing on the familiar, I return to the place I need to be. It isn't perfect but neither is our world. I have accepted the locked doors and that people now only go to "open" churches in old black and white films.
And finally, if I really, really need the full experience of a prayer chapel, I can always go to the hospital. Hospitals are open 24/7 and so are their non-denominational chapels. Sad thing is though, they usually are very, very empty. This I believe is an indication that most of us only think to go to church on Sunday so we might as well keep the doors locked.....but wouldn't it be awesome if all the church doors could stay wide open?