ALVEY: What kind of signs does world need?

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2017

By JACK ALVEY | St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

You’ve seen them before. Church signs. Some of them are funny. Some of them fall short of funny in efforts to be clever. Some of them are true. Some of them deceive the truth. Others use guilt tactics. A lot of them make good “water cooler” conversations.

But most of them do little in terms of attracting those who aren’t involved with a worshiping community.

I noticed a sign recently that simply said, “Grief Support Group: Wednesdays at 6 PM.” I thought to myself, “that sign has some depth.” I know that church signs and websites and propaganda only do so much—you only really know something once you’ve experienced it. All of this is to say, what kind of signs does the world need from the church today?

We might take a clue from Jesus. The Gospel according to John records seven signs from Jesus, signs that are displayed in flesh and blood. John the Evangelist also says that Jesus gave many more signs that aren’t written in the Gospel text. The seven signs of Jesus include turning water into wine, walking on water, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and raising Lazarus from the dead. Talk about signs with depth and truth…

What is the common denominator? All of these signs are evidence of the new creation that God is establishing through Christ. In other words, these signs represent the new world that God wants his people to be a part of. Ultimately through the Resurrection of Christ, God is showing us a world where things that were thought to be impossible are now possible. This new creation includes healing for all. This new creation is a place where no one is too rich and no one is too poor, a place where no one goes hungry. God’s new world includes life where there was previously death. As someone once said, “this is Resurrection country,”

Every church has a sign (or signs) to show to the world. I am not just talking about literal signs now. I am talking more about the signs like we see in John’s Gospel. I am talking about signs that are displayed through the words and actions of church communities. Every church and every Christian has an opportunity to show signs of God’s new creation alive in the world today. What signs can we hang? How are we healing? How are we feeding? How are we telling people that with God all things are possible? How are we living in God’s new world created through the Resurrection of Christ?

The world is tired of catchy slogans and empty promises. The world needs eternal truth. The church has the opportunity to show these signs of God’s new world

God has given you a sign to display through Christ, a sign of healing, a sign of hospitality, a sign of new life.

It doesn’t have to be big and fancy. It just needs to be authentic and true to your lived experience in God’s new creation.

Invite a friend or stranger to church to worship, serve, learn or have fun with us. Invite a friend to experience Resurrection country.