Perhaps it isn't particularly reverent to tune out during Morning Prayer, but I just couldn't help it. The first lesson from 2 Kings was chock full of unpronouncable names, so it was easier for me to fix my gaze upon the Jerusalem Window behind the altar. During the early morning hour, the light not quite streaming in through the stained glass, made the rivets holding the different panels in place stand out. And, at 7:25am, they were gleaming, like small lights dotting the landscape of the scene in the window...all on the other side of the closed doors to the city.
The more I looked at them, the more I thought of those lights as being representative of the many people who routinely get left standing at the gate. The most obvious would be all the people currently affected by the shutdown of the federal government: children in Head Start programs; those who depend upon the services provided through Women, Infants and Children or WIC funds; Native Americans on the Indian Reservations; those who work in a "non-essential" federal job. The list can go on and on.
But my mind took me even further than this obvious crisis to thinking about those who see the doors to the church closed to them for whatever reason. Not accepted because of their gender identity or their sexual orientation or their status as divorced or any number of other reasons that the people of God have invented for deciding who is allowed in and who must be kept out. Even the poor, the very group that Christians should be the most conscience of and concerned with building up, will be pushed along sometimes so as not to disturb the decorum of the church. How many times have we left behind Lazarus to be licked by the dogs?
How many bright lights will gather outside the closed doors to Jerusalem? How much brighter will their collective light shine outside the city that remains dark within?