At that time, this song
will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
build their lives on the reclaimed land.
“Throw wide the gates so good and true people may enter” But not immigrants or refugees, obviously. We don’t want their sort. Or gay people, for that matter. I mean they’re just not like us, are they? And we don’t need different people here. We need same people here – so, if they’re white, well-educated Christians who speak the language and are straight…sure we’ll throw wide the gates for them. But not anyone else. I mean, there’s a limit, surely?
Oh, dear. I seem to be reading things into the passage that weren’t there originally. That’s sometimes, often, the problem with scripture. When I read it with an open mind I find things that I wish weren’t there. Or don’t find things that I wish were.
I’m a very humble person. I’m brilliant at being humble – far better at it than anyone else, even better at it than Donald Trump (who may, by now, be the President-elect of The United States). But according to the scripture passage for today it appears that, superbly humble though I am, I’m about to get knocked of my high horse (well, someone else’s horse, I don’t actually have a horse, I’m too humble), because my mind is sometimes set on what I want to do next for myself rather than what I want to do next for God.
Yes, that’s the trouble with scripture It challenges us to be uncomfortable, to think differently – to be different. And if we’re different, then whoever is in charge of the gates might just close them on us…
help me this Advent to keep my mind,
my words and my actions set on you.
Help me to throw wide the gates of my heart
to those who are different to me
so that I can recognise that you love them, too.
Leo Roberts is the Children and Youth Development Officer for the North Western Synod.