Thresholds are the Sentries of Experience. They stand watch as we walk by them every day. Thresholds mark the line we cross whether we enter a friend’s home, a loved one’s hospital room, or a new classroom. They separate one space from another, one encounter to another, one moment en route to another. Thresholds mark the before and after time as we begin a new phase in life, a new relationship, or a new community. Crossing a threshold into a new moment is exhilarating and forbidding. The short step across a doorsill and past the door framed sentries could forever change us from whom we were just a second before we started. The threshold moment forces us to relinquish our expectations as we enter a new potential.
It takes courage to walk into a new moment. I remember the threshold out of the church holding my wife’s hand as we crossed into a new life together. I remember the doorway into the room holding my infant child as I began a new life as a parent. I remember the entry I passed through into St. Mark’s for the first time as a new rector. Each of these threshold moments forever changed me as I grew into the role of spouse, parent, and priest. The enormity of some of the thresholds in life is daunting. We could refuse to cross, preferring to stay on one side of the door. Some things are too scary, the anticipation too great, the potential for loss too overwhelming, which is where faith comes in.
Psalm 23 comes into our heads, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me.” The last doorway for all of us is the most forbidding. Walking through the threshold of death is the last doorway for us all. The journey across the thresholds of life to death and life again is what this faith of ours is about. If God walks with us in the thresholds of our death, why would God abandon us in the thresholds of our daily life? Realizing God is with us in all things is to relinquish our fear and stand firm in our faith. Jesus shows us this in all the things he said and did. Our work is to proclaim a faith, and to have the courage to pass through into each new experience with grace. As we walk, we remember that the true Sentry of the threshold of our life is our God. God does not abandon us but walks with us as we enter each room of our life, from our birth to our death, and every room in between.
The good news in a world full of so many closed doors is that God has called us to cross the threshold of each other’s hearts and to walk with each other as God walks with us. This is who we are as the people of St. Mark’s. This is why we work hard to be a great parish. We are seeking to stand with each other in all the thresholds life has to offer. We stand with each other in life and death and every room in between. We are each other’s sentries. We are the faithful people of St. Mark’s.