Lift Up Ye Gates

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Hello Dear Blog-Nog Friends from frozen Decker Hills,

Yes, January did indeed bring snow – record breaking snow and ice, and freezing temperatures that kept us marooned on our hill for over a week.  It was so cold that two bobcats (rarely seen) came roaming by.  But, today, Winter’s gate will be opening to let warmer weather in.  Hurray!

Perhaps many of you were also caught up in this Arctic Blast from the North Pole.  I felt that we were only a snowball’s throw away from a “Narnia” Winter.  It made me wish for one of those warm fur coats I saw hanging in the actual wardrobe that inspired C.S. Lewis’ classic tale, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

I had the delightful experience of re-enacting little Lucy’s inquisitive opening of the “gate” to Narnia in Lewis’ story, where she opened the wardrobe door, pushed aside the fur coats hanging in there, and discovered the land of Narnia.  Narnia where it is “Always winter and never Christmas.”

The occasion of my adventure was a visit with my son, Kevin, to the Marion Wade Center at Wheaton College (Kevin’s alma mater).  The Center houses the original works, letters and memorabilia of C.S. Lewis.

It was fascinating to read some of his handwritten manuscripts.  This was his method of writing – an amazing feat, when you consider the hundreds of pages in just his “Chronicles of Narnia” alone!

However, when I came face to face with the original wardrobe from Lewis’ boyhood home in Ireland, what could you expect from Christian Mother Goose?  Naturally, like Lucy, my curiosity opened the door, pushed aside the fur coats, and felt the wonder of Narnia’s atmosphere still there.

I’m sure Lewis’ grandfather, who handcrafted and beautifully carved the wardrobe, never dreamed of the “gate” he was preparing for the delight of millions of children around the world.  The gate through which they would find Jesus, The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, reflected in Aslan, the lion of Narnia.  And so we come to the theme of today’s  blog: “Gates.”

A few miles down our country road is a lovely buffalo ranch.  The entrance is a stunning iron gate with a steel, painted buffalo mounted on it. The buffalo was crafted by a young Indian man. It is so real, it often fools those driving by.  We periodically buy choice, all-naturally-raised buffalo meat there.  And if you look at the health statistics of buffalo meat, you’ll see why.  It beats beef, pork and chicken in every category for being the lowest in fat, cholesterol and calories.

This handsome gate is an invitation to scenic beauty, health, and a chance to sing the cowboy song: “Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam…”

The importance and strength of gates in Scripture were representative of their power to guard the city.  They were also the most popular and busiest place in town.  Merchants were there by sunrise to set up shop, followed by city elders who would settle disputes, witness business transactions, and render important civic decisions.

The city of Gaza woke up one day to find their mighty gates had vanished overnight!  In an incredible feat of strength, recorded in Judges 16:3, Samson, (Israel’s Mr. Universe ) pulled up the gates of this enemy city at  midnight, and carried them away on his shoulders to Hebron. That’s a distance of over thirty miles!  Instantly, Samson became number one on the Philistine’s  most wanted list. On the other hand, he was Israel’s hero, and probably number one strong man for Israel in any forthcoming Olympics.

Just recently, I was reading a book on archeological evidence of Church life before Constantine, by Graydon  F. Snyder.  A  most illuminating entry about a gate was listed on a Roman Papyrus Document dated  February 5, 304, titled: “Declaration of Church Property.”

Under oath, a certain Aurelius Ammonius certified that his church owned nothing except a bronze gate!  It went on : “Neither gold nor silver nor money nor clothes nor beasts nor lands nor property either from grants or bequests.”  Simply one gate!  What food for thought!

This revelation led me to think of the significance of such a church statement: “One gate.”  Our Lord Jesus, by His own words, taught us He is the Gate, the only Gate to Heaven and eternal life.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing.  Salvation, peace and His loving arms of welcome are at that Gate.

This week a memory came to my mind of the fate of beautiful wrought-iron gates in World War II England.  Whatever those gates were built for, whatever they kept in or kept out, all individual purpose was now secondary to the defense and survival of a whole nation.  The gates were delivered to the furnace and melted down to become armaments for the winning of the war.

Today, as I think of those gates being sacrificed, I see the picture of Jesus hanging on the Cross, dying not for just one nation, but for the deliverance of the whole world from the great enemy of sin and death.  Jesus, the Beautiful Gate Who was delivered to the fires of judgment in our place; to pay the penalty of Heaven’s court that we couldn’t pay; Jesus, the Gate to eternal life, all because “God so loved the world….”

King David, writing Psalm 24:7-8, gives a resounding cry to his nation, which I apply, not only to Israel, but to the gates of the minds of God’s people everywhere. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.”

May we enter this challenging year of 2015 with the gates of our minds open to let the King of glory in; rejoicing that, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

Thanks for visiting me at the gate today.  Warmest wishes for a blessed New Year!

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Christian Mother Goose®

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