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  • Writer's pictureDavid OMalley

Closed Doors

Scripture: John 20: 19 –21


In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.’

Life Experience

I know it was stupid, but I felt so ashamed. Being a single mother is hard enough, but when your only son is arrested and locked up for violent crime, it is even harder. For three weeks I didn’t even answer the door, and I did my shopping at an out-of-town supermarket. My family was two hours drive away, and I dare not even tell them about Brian’s arrest. I heard the doorbell ring regularly, but I ignored it. I put the rubbish out late at night, and watched so much daytime TV that I nearly went mad. I slept late and woke late. I was falling apart.


I came down one morning. My brother was sat there, in my chair with a cup of coffee. To this day he won’t tell me how he got into the house. At first, I was shocked. Then I was angry with him. What right had he got to trespass into my space! I could have him arrested! Then I thought of my son’s arrest and I slumped onto the settee and cried. I then realised that Alan, my brother, had moved. He was sitting beside me, on the settee, holding my hand.

He was exactly what I needed and exactly what I couldn’t ask for. I had been locked in on myself, trapped by fear and isolated from life. He broke through my shame and disappointment. He reminded me that I still had a life to lead. He made me aware that my neighbours were worried, and that Brian needed his mother more than ever. His warmth and presence gave me the strength to do what I could not do alone. The arrival of Alan was a resurrection moment after my painful few days. From that time on, peace and hope seeped back into my heart and I was able to accept the help of others and not be so independent in my sadness.


Scriptural Meditation

The image of closed doors is one that we all know about. We sense the way people are closed, and know our own fear of being open and honest with others. Some people close themselves off from life by going quiet. Others close themselves off by talking so much that the real inside-story is well concealed. Others just keep so busy that the doors to their own heart are closed even from themselves. But it is in the heart, and in the shadowy parts of ourselves, that we meet the risen Jesus. He sets us free for new life. The disciples had good reason to be scared, they expected that the execution of Jesus might also happen to them. They were keeping quiet. But Jesus just walked through the doors they had locked bringing peace and life and new hope.

In daily experience we will find people and situations where peace, new life and hope suddenly break through. They are moments when the light of the resurrection shines through a good friendship or an honest word. They are probably more common than we think. As followers of a risen Lord there is a challenge for us to be signs of hope. We can help liberate others from their fear by an honest friendship and silent prayer that invites the risen Lord into every conversation.



Lord, you liberated the disciples from fear and taught them how to hope and believe in you, the Risen Lord. I am surrounded by closed doors, people who won’t open up for fear or ridicule, because of prejudice and simply because they are too hurt to trust. Sometimes the same fears and prejudices lock me in and I find it hard to believe. Teach me how to open the doors of my heart to you, to faith, to hope and love. Give me the courage to knock on other doors at the right time and help bring your new life to others. AMEN

The resurrection is not a doctrine we try to prove

Or a problem we argue about:

It is the life and action of Christ himself

In us by his Holy Spirit.


Thomas Merton

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