How many times do you cross a threshold every day? It’s not something we even think about. We go in and out of rooms. We enter and exit buildings. We pass through gates and other openings as part of our normal routine – unless we’re forced to crawl through a window when we lock ourselves out.
In the Hero’s Journey motif, “Crossing the Threshold” is an early stage in the quest for adventure or treasure or some other goal. It’s symbolized in a husband carrying his bride into their new home and beginning their new life together. Ancient near eastern cultures took thresholds very seriously, and had rituals to protect their homes and other sacred buildings.
When I was a Wesley Foundation director, the university gave us a room in the Student Center. It was a welcoming gathering place for many. But most students passed by our door without ever entering. One young man, whose brother participated in our programs, would pace back and forth in the hallway. He was trying to get his brother’s attention so they could leave together. It took weeks before this guy ever came in. After he entered the room, he warmed to our fellowship. Eventually, he become one of our most active members, and he grew in sharing his faith in Jesus. Crossing that threshold was a big step for him.
On a spiritual level, we may stand outside of the next place in our spiritual journey. As those doors open to us, we may not understand what’s going on in there. It’s easy to criticize or ridicule what others are experiencing if we are standing on the outside looking in. We may not understand it, because we only know what we’ve been told about it, not having experienced it for ourselves. We may be afraid to take the next step, because it means surrender to the Lordship of Jesus in a deeper way.
He told us, “I am the door.” He is the One who calls us in.
I wish I could give credit, but honestly don’t remember where I heard this metaphor. I love the illustration of our spiritual life as going to the Father’s house. We go through the gate of the picket fence to get into the yard. We hang out on the front porch awhile, before getting the courage to cross the threshold through the front door. You’re in, but some never leave the foyer. There’s a whole house for you to explore and enjoy. Many rooms are in the Father’s house.
C.S. Lewis wrote a great line in The Last Battle, which completes The Chronicles of Narnia:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”
I can identify some definite thresholds I’ve crossed over in my spiritual journey. Can you?
Standing outside looking in is not enough. If you hear the invitation to “Come in,” you must cross the threshold. The Father welcomes you home. Trust Him as He shows you all around this marvelous house that we share as family.