God on a sign

I walk my dog, Jimmy, every morning. I really enjoy this time. It’s just me and Jimmy. It’s usually pretty quiet and still. The temperature is not bad. Jimmy likes to sniff all around – he’s part hound after all. We walk, he sniffs, does his business, and occasionally attempts to run after a random bunny or squirrel. I’m never sure what he thinks he’s going to do with one once he caught it – I would guess he doesn’t either.

It’s now the beginning of August and for the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed political yard signs starting to pop up in the neighborhood for a variety of candidates running for a slew of offices. Since when did we start putting up political yard signs in the middle of summer and think that this was normal? I’m not sure. Back when I did politics professionally, the rule was you couldn’t put them out more than 30 days from the election. And no one wanted them in their yard before that. Now, there are many people who put these yard signs out months in advance.

Something I learned from doing political campaigns was this – after about 2 weeks, people don’t actually notice the signs. They just become part of the landscape. Which means that it’s much better to wait to put your signs out until closer to the election, but that seems not be followed much any longer. But I don’t think it changes the reality that the signs just become part of the landscape.

In our neighborhood we have signs for Democrats and Republicans. The humorous thing about this is that they all seem to be surrounding our house, with us being the buffer zone with no yard signs.

As I was walking Jimmy one recent morning, I happened to notice something interesting about one of the yard signs. It had a verse of Scripture listed on it. Not big, but large enough for me to see it walking by. I was intrigued by this and looked up the verse. The verse had a word that the candidate likes to use. But I’m not convinced that this candidate understands the context of the verse or what the word actually means in a theological context. The candidate is just using it like a proof text. The candidate has made God into just another rhetorical line in the never evening ideological battle that goes on in our nation. There are no winners ultimately in this battle – we all lose. But hey, we get to claim we are right as the nation burns itself down to the ground. Yippee!

Since our house and yard sit as a no mans land in the middle of the neighborhood sign war, I think about crazy ideas – ideas about what sign I could put out.

Maybe I could get a sign that states: “My sign is better than your sign.” Or “You’ve got to be kidding.” Or “Sign: Office 2022.” Or “This is a sign.”

All this has be thinking, what are the signs that we display with our lives? What is it that we are proclaiming to the world about what we believe and support? We invest a great deal in proclaiming to the world which ideological leaning we think is best. We invest a great deal in broadcasting which team we support or which brand we are loyal to. We invest a whole lot in the things we buy.

But I wonder what signs we are putting up in the front lawns of our lives showing who we follow. I wonder what signs those of us who claim to follow Jesus are putting up in the front lawns of our hearts and minds showing who it is that we worship and follow? The yard signs of our faith are really just the ways we live our lives, what we say, and how we treat others. The yard signs of our faith display what it is we actually believe. The yard signs display if we see the image of God in others, have empathy for others, and follow the law of love for neighbor and enemy. The yard signs of our faith display how we treat foreigners and strangers. The yard signs of our faith are posted all over for so many to see – on our social media accounts, in our conversations, in what policies we support, in our interactions with strangers, and more.

I only hope that our faith yard signs are not Scripture verses taken out of context, but rather lived and acted out faith that shows Jesus to those around us. Otherwise our faith is just about as useful as a political sign that sits out on a lawn for months on end. No one will notice it after about 2 weeks.


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