Why a Red Door? A beacon, and an ancient tradition.
The colour red is commonly associated with love, courage, sacrifice, blood, fire. From early Old Testament, a Red Door takes us back to the red lamb’s blood that the ancient Hebrews spread on the door posts and lintels so that God would pass over them in Egypt. In the blood, passion and death of Jesus, the Lamb of God, we like the Hebrews are saved from death as we enter the church, through His blood, and under His protection.
The colour red is also symbol of the Holy Spirit. From the tongues of fire over the disciples at Pentecost, to today, individual Christians and the church are filled with the Holy Spirit. So again, entering a church through a Red Door is symbolically appropriate.
The Protestant leader Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses on the Red Door of Wittenberg Castle Church, prompting Red Doors on many Lutheran churches, while historically a Red Door indicated a more Catholic bent in the Church of England. As Anglicans we have a tradition of the middle way and the Red Door symbolizes that we have both Protestant and Catholic heritages.
The sacrifices and blood of Christian Martyrs throughout history have helped to build the church throughout the world. In Medieval times the Church became a sanctuary, a place of protection from evil. Even today people seek refuge in Churches, behind the “Red Door”.
And in another long held tradition, painting the Church door red when the mortgage is paid off can be seen as relating to Jesus paying off our debt through the shedding of his blood for our sake on the cross.
St Benedict’s is a place of God, protected by God; where Jesus’ way is taught; where strength is received from the Word, the Holy Spirit and each other; a place of refuge and a place of history, tradition and change. Let us be bold to invite our friends and neighbours inside our Red Door, to be renewed by God and led by the Spirit to grow and thrive.