A few weeks ago, I attended a performance by the Men & Boys Choir of New College, Oxford, at St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, the final stop on their U.S. tour. The choir was superb, of course. And the venue superb too; resounding acoustics in the 1962 creation designed by Francis Palmer Smith perched on a magnificent hilltop in a bend of Peachtree Road in Buckhead.
Among the inspiring offerings in the Choir’s repertoire that evening was an enlightening new commission for them with music by Toby Young and words by Thomas Ken, a 17th century Fellow of New College. The text, dating from 1657, was a surprise. His prayer for the sanctity of doors made me think of our industry of houses and specifically our own work of finding and making home. His writing is below along with a few favorite images of our doors.
Passover and Holy Week coincide this week. Many of us are opening our doors to family and friends and maybe even strangers. Whether the words on your lips as you greet your guests this week are “Pesach Sameach” or “Happy Easter” or anything else, may your doors always swing wide in love.
“O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship; narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power. God make the door of this house the gateway to thine eternal kingdom. Amen.”
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