This morning’s excerpt comes from Chapter Four, which is about Jesus breaking the boundaries of the priesthood. Enjoy!
“Priests were meant not to work alone but to serve and encourage others. Somewhere along the way they began serving as gatekeepers, those who stood as buffers between God and the rest of us, doling out religious goods and services to those deemed worthy. Institutional religion has always been quite good at this. It seems there are plenty of creative ways to stand at the gate and choose who comes in and out. You can use doctrinal statements, make people sign declarations, ask people to jump through hoops to become members, require strict codes of conduct–the list goes on and on. But Jesus did not act as a gatekeeper or call himself a gatekeeper. He did, however, call himself a gate.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus describes himself as the gate through whom sheep pass to find safe pasture and abundant life. He doesn’t describe himself as a gate (or in some translations, a door) because he wants to keep people out. He is the door because he wants to provide a way in. And once this door is open, people can come in and go out and find a good spot on the grass. When the curtain tore in two, Jesus was letting all of us know that the door into God’s presence was permanently open. Jesus shows us that a faithful priest is not a gatekeeper but a door opener.”