new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

July's Verse - Green Gates

The road ended there, at large spiky topped green gates with a big rusty padlock. There was nowhere for cars to go. It was a dead end. How many people turned down that road only to reach the green gates, and then to turn away in disgust at the road that went nowhere?

On later occasions when they came to the junction further back they knew to turn the other way; “There’s nothing down there,” they’d tell their friends, “We’ve been there before.”

We used to go there all the time when I was little. If you looked closely there was another gate at the side, to allow people in. Beyond lay a meadow where gentle streams gurgled and meandered their way through fields of standing corn. Crickets chirped, butterflies flitted about in the still of the summer afternoon, birds sang their merry melodies. It was there I learnt the names of the different birds as we watched them duck in and out among the trees. It was there we found a bird’s nest with its cache of little pale blue eggs, and my mum and I stood and marvelled at the way it was built into the hedgerow. And then there was the tree that had fallen across the river, where I watched my dad, the hero, balance his way across to the far side and back again. And we picked the ripest juiciest blackberries, until our fingers and faces and clothes were stained with the sweet juice.

Later when I was older, it was where I met my first girlfriend, where we went for walks in the rain and held hands.

But those who turned away from the green gates in disgust at their wasted journey, missed the delights of that meadow almost surrounded as it was by the busy suburbs of Belfast. They missed the peace and the calm. They missed the butterflies. They missed lying back amongst the grass and listening to the idyllic chatter of the crickets on a warm afternoon, with the clear blue sky, high above. Chances missed to be the hero, to taste the berries, to meet a first love….

And worse than that, they would tell others, “We’ve been there, to the gates, and there’s nothing to see. Don’t waste your time.”

If only they had looked closely they would have seen the meadow beyond. If in their haste, they had stopped, they would have heard the birdsong. It was there for all to enjoy, but only appreciated by some.

Some people think they have met Jesus, but they have only been to church. Some people think they have tried Christianity, but they have only been religious. “We’ve been there and tried that,” they say, “don’t waste your time.” They have been to the gates and turned away without a closer look, without stopping to listen to the sweet sound of forgiveness.

But those who really know Jesus discover a whole new world, a haven of peace, forgiveness, joy and contentment. That’s what Jesus means when he says,
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9).

Don’t assume you’ve been through the gate if you’ve only stopped and stood in front of it. Don’t miss out. He is the gate – the only way into a new life. But will you find it?

(Verses from the calendar given out by the Baptist church and ourselves)