When I was traveling in Morocco, I took way too many pictures of doors, arches, and city gateways. They captivated me with their beauty—detailed mosaics of teal and blue tiles against white or clay-colored walls. I have a number of city arches in mind when I read this week’s Scriptures about the man left by the “Beautiful Gate.”
I imagine the gate was called beautiful because it was. But what made it beautiful? Was it lined in similar mosaics of vibrant colored tiles, or perhaps ivy covered its arches? Maybe the name was about the physical appearance of the outer facades, or maybe it symbolized the beauty of what was inside the gate.
Even so, this man was on the outside of that beauty, physically, literally, and metaphorically. The generosity of people who carried the man to the gate every day, and the kindness of strangers who gave him money on their way, was all surely beautiful. But he was still on the outside looking in and, from his vantage point, looking up.
So, Peter and John, in full view of those around them, chose to make clear what walls and gates and traditions often obstruct: the God of resurrection and Pentecost is on the loose in our world, redrawing the lines of who is in and who is out.
In this case, the man literally runs through the gate and into the temple. But in many ways, it signaled that the Spirit of God was loosed beyond that gate and into the world.
That sure sounds beautiful to me.
What “beautiful gates” or fences in your life keep you from fully engaging in the work of God in the world?
Spirit at work in this world, draw us out of our comfort zones and into the beauty of your world. Amen.