March 14th Lenten Devotional

The Narrow Door

Allison Byerley

Luke 13:22-30

 In a church that I served was a man about my age in years, but whose mental and emotional age had never grown much beyond a child’s. He had a hunger and yearning for God that I have rarely encountered and spent much of his time going to church. All kinds of churches. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal. He was at some church every day of the week.

Not surprisingly, he became confused by the different interpretations of Scripture and tradition he encountered. He found great comfort in the rituals and practices of traditional liturgy, especially as practiced in the Catholic church he attended. But when he went to some of the “low church” congregations, they condemned those rituals and practices, even condemning him for participating.

Every Sunday, we had time for silent prayer at the altar during worship. He would come forward, bringing his rosary with him. One Sunday, after worship, he came to me in distress. One of our members had come to him and told him, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to hell because he prayed the rosary. He was frightened and confused.

Jesus reminds us today that the way to him is narrow and that many who called on him will be disappointed to find the door closed. However, the criteria will not be whether we engaged in the right practices or attended the right worship. It will be if we followed Jesus, imitating him in our words and deeds with one another.

I assured this man that God would not condemn him for praying with his rosary. In fact, the one who had no mercy for him may find himself surprised.

Rev. Dr. Allison Byerley is the Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Hawkins, TX. She is one of the editors of this volume.

©2017 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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