Focal verse

“The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore” (Psalm 121:8).


The season of the open door is upon us. With warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, my children are in and out of our house. They take to the yard for a soccer game or run across the street to the park. My son heads to play with the neighbor and my daughter rides her bike around the block. They come back in for snacks and water. Their voices echo: Can we go to the playground? Watch me swing? Can I go to my friend’s house? Each time the door opens and they burst outside or come running back inside to me, I give thanks for the community. I cherish the chance to do life in this particular place with these particular people.

This open-door season teaches me to keep a posture of welcome and hospitality. I never know who will walk through my door in need of a water break or to use the bathroom. We’ve had kids and parents in our front yard dashing across our zip line. We’ve had bags of grapes and cookies on the porch shared with whoever is at the park. In every encounter I have a chance to practice openness and provide a safe place for neighbors. Jesus modeled this kind of welcome as he traveled from town to town throughout his ministry and when he invited people to eat and meet with him. Jesus didn’t shy away from people; he welcomed them.

There are times when it would be easier to keep my door closed and say no to the invitations. Yet each time the door opens and I meet a fellow community member, I’m reminded that I meet a beloved child of God. I get the chance to delight in this season where an open door leads to encounters of grace and joy.

This month may you be the recipient of an open door, where you are welcomed just as you are, and may you also be the one to open your heart wide.


  • Move one of your meals outside. Pack a picnic and enjoy time in your neighborhood. See who walks by and say hello. Get to know the people, places and sounds of your community, and give thanks.
  • Read a few Gospel stories about Jesus being on the move and welcoming others. See if reading them outside in your community makes them come alive in a new way. Try Mark 10:13-16, Mark 2:13-17 or John 4:1-42.

Prayer practice

Take a walk around your neighborhood and community. As you pass by houses, say a prayer for the people who live there. Pray for businesses and schools and all who work in your community. As you walk, lift up prayers for the flourishing of all people. Pray together: Dear God, we thank you for this community. For the land and people who inhabit these spaces, thank you. For those who long to feel welcome, we pray they will know peace. For those who desire a safe space to live, give them refuge. For us all, help us to open our hearts and homes to welcome. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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