This week we begin our 40-day run up to Easter. Some of us are very comfortable with the idea of recognizing the Lenten season, others are unsure what that means, and still others may be uncomfortable with the idea altogether. Wherever you sit on this continuum, let me encourage you to reflect on your role as a signpost. There, that’s pretty much it. Just think about being a signpost. That helps, doesn’t it? . . . No? Perhaps I should try to explain.
Several years ago, when I was first trying hard to take my faith seriously, I ran across a book by John White entitled, The Fight: A Practical Handbook for Christian Living. This wonderful little volume helped me put several of the thoughts and feelings I had held for most of my life, into line and I gained a grasp on how to begin to live this new life in Christ with meaning and purpose. White talks about our call to be witnesses to Jesus. He relates this to the job of a signpost. I have found this to be profoundly helpful. He writes: “A signpost points to a destination. It matters little whether the signpost is pretty or ugly, old or new. It helps if the lettering is bold and clear. But the essential features are that it must point in the right direction and be clear about what it is pointing to.” (p.87) He goes on to say that most of us don’t really remember much about the signposts along the road. If they serve their purpose, they get us to our destination. We probably don’t think much more about them. A good sign is clear and concise. Its message is easily and clearly understood. It is self-effacing. It does not draw attention to itself except to help a traveler see how to reach the destination it is pointing to. As witnesses to Jesus, this is our job as well. Our lives and our faith should be lived simply and clearly so that those we meet who are seeking for God can see our lives pointing in the direction of Christ. It’s really as simple. . . and as complicated as that.
That is the reason I have taken up the practices of soul searching and reflection every year at this time. For me, this 40-day season before Easter has become a yearly routine where I re-examine my role as a signpost. What is my life pointing to? How clear is the message I am giving, for those who look on? Were others to follow the direction to which I am pointing, would they end up at Christ?
Our sermon series this season will focus on what the Gospel of John calls “signs” performed by Jesus. These acts of wonder are intended to give us reason to believe. They help us define who God is and what it means that Jesus is the logos in the flesh. Reflecting on them should guide us in how to live and point others to Christ. May these signs of Christ act as lights along your path.