Having a few days away after Easter took us to Cambridge which is a fine city with plenty to do. Around the Colleges there are book shops and coffee shops. We could stroll along the river, watch the punts and walk across the wide areas of open space like parkland. The ancient Colleges themselves looked magnificent in the spring sunlight, the ancient stonework reflecting the architectural styles of hundreds of years.
However, the students were (we hope!), at work and the colleges were shut. They are built around courtyards of immaculate grass, their privacy protected by high walls and gate houses, and gate keepers. It was tantalising to glimpse the inner sanctums through gateways and have that feeling of ‘being on the outside’, and that the real heart of Cambridge was not accessible to us mere mortals!
That is until 6.30, when we turned up at the grand gatehouse of St John’s College and asked the gate keeper if we might attend Evensong in the College Chapel. “Of course,” we were told, “go straight in.” And so we were free to walk through the gate, around the private quadrangle and into the glorious chapel. Here the college choir sang Evensong superbly and we all sang the hymn ‘Thine be the Glory’. What might have been the most difficult place in Cambridge to get into, became the easiest when God was involved!
As we have recently remembered at Easter, Jesus is unique and deserves the highest honour. He changes the future of the world and of us through His awesome, cosmic sacrifice and resurrection. Such events as the Transfiguration and the Ascension show us His glory. He is indeed the Lord of Heaven and Earth. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that He is not easy to access. Ancient temples and even some ancient churches have lots of gates to make sure ordinary people don’t get into the holy of holies. But on the first Easter Day, the curtain of the temple was torn in two; God gave us access to Himself.
As in Cambridge, there are lots of places closed to us in the world today, and people don’t really let us in to their inner feelings, but amazingly Jesus says “Knock and the door will be opened to you”. And it is, and He welcomes us. Let us not think it unlikely that Jesus makes Himself available to us, and so neglect to ask. Let us organise our churches and their worship so as to make it clear Jesus has made Himself accessible to everyone.