Every day, the bus I take to work goes down a fairly busy street past St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. St. Paul’s has a sign in front of the building. Its one of those electronic signs that has a message that is lit by tiny bulbs of some sort.
Of course there is nothing novel about such signs. Lots of institutions have them, including many churches. What is unique, at least in my experience, is the message on the sign. Sometimes, the message is simply informational, like what time mass is or that they are currently enrolling children for their school. Nothing all that unique about that.
But sometimes, as has been true so far this week, they have a short phrase, either from Scripture or the liturgy (which is usually also Scriptural citation of some sort). Each day, when I know we are getting close to the church, I put down my book and watch for the sign. And when the sign is from Scripture, I find it a most fitting beginning to my day.
I mention this because most churches that have these sorts of signs seem to think that cute, inspirational phrases are the way to go. Perhaps they think that these little statements will make them appear fun and hip and attractive. Most of the time they are goofy at best, heretical at worst. I’m not sure what they make people think the church is, but likely no one encounters God through the sign.
Not so with St. Paul’s. Whenever the sign is not informational, it is an encounter with God’s word and therefore, with God. This week, in the wake of Ascension last week, the sign has read “I am with you always.” Every day, as I have ridden to work, I have been reminded that indeed, God is with me and will be with me throughout my day. What a wonderful reminder! What a beautiful message!
So I remind you, as I have been reminded: “I am with you always.”