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Oh, Church Signs…

I was driving from Houston to Amarillo the week of Palm Sunday when I saw a church sign that read,

“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.”

I initially laughed because the reference to getting up to change the TV station is almost obsolete now I realized this is something that would make no sense in a few years. I wondered how the congregation felt about their church sign. As someone who was incharge of changing a church sign for a short period, I know it’s not a mindless task, and that it takes some planning to decide what you put up each week. At Friends we often use our sign as an outward symbol of our community beliefs and to profess our care for those who might be outcast in this community. What might those congregants or that minister hope people get out of their sign?

Then I sat with the theology of that statement. “Get up and change it yourself.” Are they talking to me? Am I supposed to get up from my seat, go out into the world and make changes to my life? In many ways, I think that message is a good one. We often have many ways that we are being called to “get up” and “change life ourselves.” In fact, when I think about Easter and the next few Sundays we spend purposefully reflecting on and celebrating the resurrection, I know that Jesus is going out and “doing it himself” because he is the only one who can.

But that brings me to the troubles I had with this sign. Many of us cannot “get up.” Whether it is because of a disability that prevents us from physically standing or from systemic oppression that holds us down, not everyone has the same opportunity to get up and start that change.

Suggesting that removes us from the real world that we live in. As Christians in the glory of the resurrection we have the knowledge that this real world of pain and oppression does not bind us. Our God and our beliefs lift us out of it. But that does not mean that we get to close ourselves off from the rest of the world.

I’d like to offer a revision to the sign.

“Life does not have a remote. But Jesus will walk with you as you try to change things for the better.”


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