K is for . . .


There’s a well-known painting of Jesus knocking on a door. Did I first see it in Sunday school or at home? Maybe both.

Regardless of when or where I saw it, I understood it from a child’s perspective: Jesus would keep knocking until the person opened the door. Persistence. Commitment. Urgency. It was a good Sunday school lesson, almost as compelling as those happy paintings of children sitting on Jesus’ lap.

As an adult, I wonder more about the painting’s perspective.

If I’m the observer, I’m watching the Nazarene at work from my comfortable distance. Good for good old two-dimensional Jesus, I hope he gets that stubborn person inside to open up.

I can also easily imagine being on the inside, pretending the knocking is only branches clacking in the wind. Or it’s those mean kids from next door, smacking baseball bats against a fence. I convince myself it’s unsafe outside; it’s smarter to stay inside. I’ll just turn up the TV’s volume and drown the irritating noise.

The old painting was right about one thing: he’s persistent. For me, Jesus is a defiant example challenging the part of me that prefers to let someone else do God’s work. Jesus is also a compassionate example nudging me to acknowledge where I’ve built walls between others and myself.

Jesus keeps knocking.

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