The Unlocked Church Door

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I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord (Psalm 122:1)

Eagerly, the nine year old turned the church door knob, pushed the door open, and bounded into the small sanctuary. Sunday afternoon sunlight filled the room — exposing hundreds of dust particles in its rays. A slight breeze blew through the open windows. 

Basking in the silence, the boy sat down on the rough pews in various sections of the church — first in the rear, then in the middle, finally in the front. This was his peaceful place; this was his sanctuary. So different from the loud arguing and the violence that were the by-products of his father’s alcohol addiction, the two mile hike was well worth the effort. 

As he changed pews, the boy talked to God — the God he knew would listen. He couldn’t help but feel that God was his audience of one and that he had His full attention. In a few hours, other worshippers would join him, but right now, the place was his own. Then his attention turned to the piano. 

Awkwardly, he tried to pick out the notes to various hymns of the church. One mistake caused him to start over again… after all, it has to be right! Little did he know that God would use music as a key to keep him close to church and close to Christ — all because of the unlocked church door. 

Time has not changed the effect of that door. That door draws the rejected child to the God who rejects no one. That door beckons the man bound by addiction to alcohol, drugs, and pronography to freedom that only comes through the Holy Spirit of God. That door calls the abused woman to healing of her body, soul, mind, and spirit. The unlocked church door waits for them to push it open. 

By the way, the nine year old boy was… me.


Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.

Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children  — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter  — Breanna. 

Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.

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