A man was opening a new business and one of his friends sent him flowers for the occasion. They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, which said: “Rest in Peace.”
The owner was angry and called the florist to complain. After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied:
“Sir, I really am very sorry for the mistake, but if it is any comfort to you, imagine this – somewhere, there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying: “Congratulations on your new location!”
Location is everything – so they say! The Son of God also changed location – “he came down from heaven.” But Jesus’ history with us can best be described as a series of entrances – entrances not into new locations but into new modes of existence and new experiences…. entrances represented in our icons!
Today…Entrance into Jerusalem – one of many entrances that Jesus experienced.
Nativity – incarnation, entrance into human existence. He became one of us, so we can become like him! Potential
Baptism – entrance into everything that it means to be human and entrance into natural world. Sanctification of creation. He experienced everything we experience so he can be our great high priest (Hebrews 2:17-18).
Baptism was his entrance into God’s natural creation.
Jerusalem – entrance into man’s creation!
He made everything holy – both the natural and human creation. While he lived among us he even revealed his divine glory – the glory that touches every one of us. So many ways God has provided for us to share that glory!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.… The Lord is at hand…. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” we heard in today’s reading from Philippians.
But there remained one more entrance – the ultimate entrance, the entrance into death. Our Resurrection icon shows Jesus entering into the realm of death to raise up Adam and Eve, representatives of all humanity.
Our lives are a series of entrances, transitions. It’s how we learn, how we mature, how we share each other’s life. There is no greater joy than to be human and to live here, with our loved ones, with our friends, with our community of faith, with all the other living creatures on this beautiful home planet of ours, in the midst of the stars and galaxies. Endless wonder surrounds us, endless majesty. And that’s what our liturgy reveals to us. “Blessed is the entrance of your saints” are the words spoken at the Small Entrance.
And for us too, there remains a final entrance. But don’t picture it as a change of location. Picture it as a transition into a different mode of existence. As in the Dormition icon.