Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Doorway To God Is Open To Everyone

A long time ago I signed up to receive daily meditations from the Henri Nouwen Society, and today's was particularly interesting:

"Jesus is the door to a life in and with God. "I am the gate," he says (John 10:9). "I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Still, many people never have heard or will hear of Jesus. They are born, live their lives, and die without having been exposed to Jesus and his words. Are they lost? Is there no place in the Father's house for them?

Jesus opened the door to God's house for all people, also for those who never knew or will know that it was Jesus who opened it. The Spirit that Jesus sent "blows where it pleases" (John 3:8), and it can lead anyone through the door to God's house."

I have wondered about "that" verse (No one comes to the Father except through me) for a long time now. I need to learn more about how the Bible was constructed, but I tend to attribute the verse to Christians in powerful positions putting words in Jesus' mouth to try to corner the market on salvation. Another thought is that Jesus did say those words and that he was just plain incorrect. I could be wrong on both counts, but regardless, I have not believed in "one way to God" for a decade. But here, Nouwen, the late Catholic priest and author, offers another viewpoint. Perhaps Jesus did open up the way to God through his sacrifice on the cross, but the resulting benefits were not only for people who would come to utter the name of Jesus, but all humankind. I find this an interesting and different view from a Christian writer. However, it is still too wordy for me, as I don't believe we have to do anything to be closer or acceptable to God. The spiritual movement that I belong to, called Unity (founded in Missouri in the late 1800's) believes that all human beings are one with God/Spirit and thus the way of spirituality is not to reach outward in striving for a way to become more acceptable, but to look inward and find God within our hearts.

Many non-Catholics find it unpalatable that Catholics often go through their priest in order to approach God. Perhaps in the future we will look back and be puzzled that many more Christians once felt the need to go through one man in order to be in God's good books.

To sign up for daily meditations from Henri Nouwen (most written in a contemplative Christian tone), or to learn more about him, visit the site of the Henri Nouwen Society.