The door of reconciliation
Craig Krueger, pastor First Presbyterian Church
There is an ancient door on display in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The rough-hewn door has a rectangular hole hacked out of its center. It is called the “Door of Reconciliation,” and gives rise to the Irish expression of “chancing one’s arm,” which means “to take a risk.” The door became renowned when two Irish families who were feuding finally made peace.
In 1492, Sir James Butler, Earl of the Ormonds, holed up in the Cathedral. After several weeks, Sir Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of the Kildares, decided he wanted to end the feud. Sir Gerald went to the cathedral and requested entry. He promised he would do no harm. Sir James was suspicious, and refused him. Sir Gerald used a spear to hack through the wooden Cathedral door a hole just big enough to put his arm through. He then offered his hand as a gesture of peace. James shook his hand, the two were reconciled, and the feud ended.
How passionately are you willing to pursue reconciliation? Many, if not most, of us give a half-hearted apology that, upon rejection, gives us the excuse to walk away thinking we have given it our best shot. But, have we really? Have we hacked through the barrier that separates us from the one we should be in relationship with and chanced everything by sticking our bare arm through first? It’s so easy to wait for the other person to come to us and, when that doesn’t happen, to assume peace is not wanted or possible.
What if Jesus Christ had done that for us? What if God had decided not to make the first move? What if Jesus had taken the attempted crucifixion as a sign that all humanity had lost interest in any restored relationship with their creator? What if Jesus had only come halfway? If we are to be truly Christ-like, should we be expected to give anything less?