Cluttered Signs

WORDS FROM W.W. December 20, 2011

I had one of those “kairos moments” this morning. It was at Children’s Hospital in Denver, but the site doesn’t matter. It was the circumstances. After prayer in the family I went down to get a cup of coffee, and told them that I would meet them in the waiting area. After coming back from the coffee shop and situating myself on a comfy couch with my java, Lee (the dad) summoned me to a sitting area in the main hallway where he had already taken up residence.
I picked up my cup and coat and went out to where he was. A couple of minutes later the receptionist from inside the w3aiting area came out and said to Lee, “Your pastor must be directionally challenged.”
I looked confused (but it WAS early!). And then she said “You didn’t read the signs.”
“What signs?”
“The ones that say no food or drink in the waiting area where you were first sitting.”
“What signs?”
She led me over to the waiting room area, pointed to the sign standing in front of us, and said “This one!” And then she walked a few feet further and said “And that one on the wall…and then there’s that one that was right above your head where you were sitting.”
“Ohhhh!”
I hadn’t seen them.
But the thing about the signs (this is not an excuse, mind you!) is that each of them said so much that they didn’t say anything. That is, there were so many words on the sign that they looked cluttered, and therefore…ignored…at least by me.
The receptionist was very nice and was giving me some good-intended teasing. Lee, on the other hand, will be looking for the right moment to share about his pastor’s illiteracy.
What it made me think of was the brilliance of God’s revelation in ONE star over Bethlehem, instead of a cluttering of signs that would have brought either confusion or sighted people who were blind.
The Magi studied stars, but God understood the importance of one star. A thousand stars over Bethlehem would have made the event about the heavens instead of a newborn king. One star created a focal point, a comprehension of the importance, a recognition of the place.
The signs in the waiting area might have been seen by me if there was a picture of a “cup” with the words “Don’t even think about it!” written underneath.
It’s interesting that when Jesus was in the midst of the scribes and Pharisees they were always asking him for a sign, but they couldn’t read the very sign that God had placed in front of them. It’s also interesting to me that the wise men traveled a long, long distance because of the one star, but Herod, just a few miles away couldn’t see it.
Personally, there are times when my life when it is so cluttered that I wouldn’t notice a star even if it crash landed in my hot tub. We are in danger at times of missing the simplest, most evident sign of God, because of our obsession with ourselves.
Look for the sign! Beware of the receptionist!

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