Lent/Easter GraphicFor Today ...

By Ray Waddle

Day 15 -- Signs of the Times (March 12)

Driving along this week, I saw one of those curbside church signs. It declared: GOD DOESN’T NEED LAWYERS -- HE NEEDS WITNESSES.

Then another, a few blocks away: DUSTY BIBLES LEAD TO DIRTY LIVES.

Before I got home, one more outdoor church marquee flashed by: YOUR SEAT IN ETERNITY: WILL IT BE SMOKING OR NON-SMOKING?

Which message do you prefer? Do any annoy you, and why?

Church signs are dismissed as trivial, but they’re proliferating. And they stir reaction. Even an irritating one raises the theological question of why it’s irritating.

I’m a habitual reader of them. They reveal our spiritual preoccupations, for better or worse. And they reflect different church personalities and leadership styles - either gloomy, lighthearted, stern or mellow. (One church sign declares TURN OR BURN; another says NO JESUS, NO PEACE. KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE -- Which congregation would you visit?)

By one estimate, we’re hit by 7,000 messages each day -- ads, billboards, junk mail. Some church signs only add to the clutter. The good ones add a redemptive word to the mess of messages.

Some day I hope to see posted my favorite quote from St. Francis: PREACH THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES; IF NECESSARY, USE WORDS.

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