One of the unfortunate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was our need to isolate from one another. Here at St. Andrew’s, Coldwater it meant cutting back on all of our “in-person” activities…
…and locking the doors shut when anything at all happened in our building.
Even as the restrictions eased and we were allowed to have folks gather together for things like our “Caring Closet”, numbers were limited greatly…
…and the doors were locked shut, requiring guests and volunteers to ring or knock in order to enter in.
We weren’t alone. Many volunteer organizations and businesses took similar precautions, allowing access to their facilities only through locked doors. Where once we could access whatever service or facility we needed, we were offered only limited and controlled opportunities to shop, work, or do what we pleased. Locked doors became the new “normal” to keep us stay safe and protect one another from being exposed to, or spreading, the COVID-19 virus.
Now, as the Pandemic seems to be under control, doors are being unlocked and we’re able to gather together without having to pass through stringent security checks. We still have to be cautious, and wearing a mask is still the rule in many places (including St. Andrew’s, Coldwater) but at least we don’t have to wait for a door to be unlocked before going to get our morning coffee.
I wish I could say the same thing for many human hearts. God gave us hearts with which to love and care for one another. It’s a risky thing, no doubt about it. Loving others with unlocked hearts means opening the door to being hurt or rejected. It means having our kindness thrown in our face or taken for granted. It means giving without expecting anything in return. It means caring for folks who don’t care for us, or anyone else.
An unlocked heart opens the door to it being broken but that’s no reason not to leave it open, because when our hearts are locked, love simply can’t happen.
Yet that’s what happens when folks reject others because of their sexuality or gender identity. When racists speak out against folks with a different skin tone, they do so with hearts bound and shackled and unable to love the way Jesus calls us to. Locked hearts hoard wealth and deny the needy their fair share. Locked hearts fail to see a neighbour in anyone different from them. The saddest thing of all is that a locked heart not only fails to love, but keeps itself from truly knowing and experiencing love. After all, when nothing is allowed out, nothing is allowed in, either.