The trees bent over me like a canopy — ushering me along with their red and orange leaves, some of the tips yellowed from the changing of seasons. It’s my favourite drive: the 12 minute back roads from my house to the town of Binbrook.
The windows were down and my hair whipped around my shoulders. The sun was warm on my face, and that’s just how I felt inside: warm, filled up, and profoundly excited for what was to come for the town I was driving in.
We’re starting a church. (We being my brother-in-law, my sister, their baby Noah, dozens and dozens of other people, and me.) It officially launches October 23rd in Binbrook, Ontario, at one of the local elementary schools. Mountainside, it’s called — named after the place where Jesus made disciples.
To say this is exciting would be a vast understatement. This church has been in the making for a very long time, and as I drove beneath the trees, their colours changing before my eyes, I turned down my music and started to pray — for the church, for the people, for the trees and the roads and the cars and the children and all of the things that make up this town.
As I drove, I saw something like a movie take place in my mind. The movie went like this:
It was just me, alone, and I was in the hallway of the elementary school looking down at all of the doors and lockers and rooms.
Suddenly, each door was swinging open.
I felt safe, not afraid. I watched as each door swung wide, swooshing with a loud breath — and then, I heard each one click. The doors were bolted open. I tried to close one of them, pushing the door as hard as I could, but it remained wide open. There was nothing I could do to close the doors of this school; nothing I could do to try and close the doors of what would soon be the church.
You’re welcome here, it seemed as though God was saying. You can’t close the doors because I have opened them — and I am the only one to make them close. Whoever walks through the doors of this building is welcome here.
I told people, later, about what I had seen in the movie that had played in my mind. I drove through the town, praying for the houses and the people who lived there.
“You’re welcome here,” I told the houses, although the people inside couldn’t hear me. “The doors are staying open for you. You can walk in, just as you are, and you’ll be welcome here.”
This has become my prayer — for my life, for my school, and now for my church:
Jesus, keep the doors open for me.
And please let me keep the doors open for other people, too.
Let us be welcome here.