Shortly after moving to a new town and joining a new church, my wife and I became active in the church’s internal carryings-on. The location and denomination should remain buried for reasons that will soon become evident. My wife, an elder for three terms elsewhere, affiliated with the women’s organization. I said I was interested in the Facilities Committee. Little did I know that the committee would illuminate some of the most bizarre and mysterious human behavior.
Early on in the committee it seemed like the usual run-of-the-mill stuff; cobwebs under the pews in the sanctuary, parking lots that needed a new surface, rooms that needed fresh paint, and a roof that leaked. The strangest item in the committee’s discussions involved the side entry door to the oldest section of the church. There was an aura of secrecy that entered the room every time that door was mentioned, almost as though the spirit world was an integral part of our discussion. That door, which was the nearest entrance from the south parking lot, was to remain closed and locked at all times. Indeed there was a sign posted on the inside and outside of the door which said “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY: This door remains locked at all times”. This evil door, in the flesh, is pictured below. It is even numbered E1 (Evil One). The devil himself must have full access to this door!!
As always happens, the good folks who come to church on Sunday were curious about the door, the signs on the door, and the reason for our inability to use the door except in an emergency. As the closest entryway into the church on Sunday morning, there were dozens of voices raised which observed: I guess there must be some good reason for this door to remain locked, except in an emergency. But why is it not possible to unlock this door for convenience, at least, on Sunday morning? The answer to this question was never answered directly, as the spirit world rushed in immediately to protect us all.
As the months and years passed, the conversations of the folks often migrated naturally to the door. Eventually it was learned that a select member of the congregation, who was heavily involved in maintenance of the church, was a vocal supporter of the policy surrounding the door. On one occasion, the education committee strayed into discussing the door, and had suggested that, regardless of the history surrounding the door, it should certainly be available for use on Sunday morning. On hearing this frightening news, one of the members stated that if this conversation continued, she would fetch her husband, who would set the committee straight about the door. This veiled threat was all that was needed to put a damper on further discussion. From this it might be inferred that the door should be of no concern to the education committee, the worship committee, indeed of any committee other than the facilities committee. And so it was!
While almost everybody in the church knows who is behind the mystery of the door, it has only recently come to light exactly what is behind this strange tale. It seems that one day, presumably when the door was not locked, a totally naked adult male was discovered, half conscious, in the church sanctuary. Imagine the commotion and emotion at such a discovery. Imagine the panic and anxiety of all the members of the church as soon as this sordid story circulated throughout the congregation. It is only reasonable that keeping the door locked is, at least, quite justifiable.
As luck would have it, the police were called in to investigate this sordid event, a desecration of any church sanctuary. Following a thorough investigation, the police concluded it was a sordid event. They added it was unfortunate that the man in question had no clothes, and was recumbent in the church’s sanctuary. It never occurred to anybody that it was the responsibility of the church to feed the poor and clothe the naked.
Finally the police discovered and reported that the naked man had entered the church through a window, and had left compelling evidence of that fact. Presumably clothing and other personal items were found on one or both sides of the window, and the window was left open in his haste to bare it all in the church sanctuary. The window entered was far removed from the door in question, an issue which is difficult to reconcile given the church’s long history defiling the door. It is almost as though a cross of blood was placed over the door, marking it forever as a sacred entryway.
It is likely this church policy remains in effect years later because the spirits within the church are more powerful than the folks who attend church on Sunday morning. The fact that the naked man entered through a window, rather than the door, is brushed aside as irrelevant. If this story was common knowledge throughout the church, there is little question the door would be open for all comers on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the spirits remain in control of the door years later, while our ageing and infirm congregation must walk around this nearest door to protect us from whatever demons may enter with us on Sunday mornings.
Since that incident, it is a paradox that on that day in question the only person comfortable at rest in the church was the naked man who came through a window. For years since, the folks in church are unable to relax because of the evil which enters the church whenever the door is unlocked. The symbols of evil appear to migrate at will, and often have human accomplices.