A Spear and the Door
In 1492, the same year Columbus sailed the seas from Spain to America there was a dispute between two leading dynastic families of medieval Ireland, the Butlers, (Earls of Ormond) and the FitzGeralds, (Earls of Kildare). The Ormonds and the Kildares were caught up in a struggle for power. The fighting escalated and at one point Black James, nephew of the Earl of Ormond, fled with his men and family from FitzGerald’s soldiers and took sanctuary in the chapter house of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. At some point in the siege the Earl of Kildare, Gerald Fitzgerald realized the foolishness of two families living in the same area, worshiping the same God, under the roof of the same church who were now trying to kill each other. He wished to end the bloody feud and pleaded with the Black James through the barricaded door to come to peace. Black James was not to be persuaded by words.
Not to be dissuaded from his conviction Fitzgerald went about cutting a hole through the centre of the door separating the two families. Having explained his desire to see peace between the families and his commitment to this end the Earl of Kildare thrust his empty hand through the hole in the door. It was a risky venture; any of Black James’s heavily armed men could have hacked off the Earl’s arm.
Instead, the hand was grasped by the Ormonds. The door was opened. The two men embraced and the family feud was ended.
All true reconciliation begins with an extension of ourselves toward the other and a reciprocation of trust. Perhaps you need to extend your hand through the door. Or, you may be the one who needs to unbar the door and open it.
Each of us were at one point on the inside of the door, separated from God and in fear of his wrath towards us. But Jesus, through his own death on the cross has cut a hole through the door. Through his resurrection from the grave he extends his hand to us – and we can be reconciled.