Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

Well I am still here.

There was much hubbub and to-do about May 21st. Sunday morning came and I stood in the pulpit silent, with all eyes on me, the congregation waiting for me to say something. I looked over the congregation and said, “You will be glad to know that just in case I wasn’t raptured last night I did prepare a sermon.” Everyone laughed.

I have been thinking about Semiotics, actually I think about Semiotics a lot.

Semiotics is defined as:
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or (in the Saussurean tradition) semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically. Semiotics is often divided into three branches:
•Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
•Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures
•Pragmatics: Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them

I try to look for God in the everydayness of life; I guess that is why I write these breads. I look for signs of Him and then talk about what I see.

I first saw the “end of the world billboard signs” a few months ago. It was shortly after I first saw them that people started talking about them. The billboard signs stated that the end of the world would come May 21st at 6:00pm. This never really affected me personally. My thought pattern went like this, “If Christ comes on May 21st at 6:00pm great. If somebody has figured this out (which scripturally I find troublesome) but if they had and Christ comes, fine I’m ready. And if May 21st comes and goes without His coming I am ok with that too. He is God and I am not. He will come when He is ready. That was and is my thought pattern on the Second Coming.

People really started talking about these billboard signs though, mostly negatively, making fun and calling people “stupid”.

I started to think of that Jim Carey movie, “Bruce Almighty” where he is standing on a road screaming to God that if He exists show him a sign, and all these road signs are flashing in front of him, a funny movie taken for what it is.

Anyway, time is ticking and May 21st is growing near, more and more people are talking about it. I began to wonder, “Why all the conversation? If you are not concerned about Jesus’ coming, if you are right with God and know of your salvation is secure or you don’t believe at all, why are you so busy talking about it?”

I began to think about the Old Testament prophets, like Amos, who came out of Judea and into Israel telling everyone to get right with God. Amos, like so many others was ridiculed and eventually “run out of town.” Funny thing about 3,000 years ago, they didn’t have cars so obviously they didn’t have billboards, no they had prophets.

May 21st comes and goes and here I am standing in front of a congregation preaching out of the book of Mark on the calling of the first disciples and the miracle of the catch. I am talking about how four men followed Jesus and became His disciples. The funny thing about this text is it starts with Jesus standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and there is a crowd of people crushing in on Him as He teaches. At the end of the text four fisherman follow Him after the miracle of the catch.
I talked about the billboard signs and how God uses things. With all the conversation surrounding the billboard signs it became obvious to me that people were affected. If people looked at these signs and were confronted with their own mortality and these signs caused them to wonder, this is a good thing. If people merely thought, “I don’t want to be left behind.” and started to wonder about Christ, then this is a good thing. We call these “day of visitation” moments; where they have been confronted with Christ. If people know Christ but start to think that maybe they haven’t been walking the right path and are “awakened” to a deeper understanding and desire to walk with Christ, then this is a good thing.

Semiotics, the study of signs and what they relate to; seeing God in the everydayness of life, sometimes it can be a billboard.

I will leave you with a funny story:
A pastor was holding a prayer meeting at a members house and it was a hot summer evening. All the windows were open, because it was hot. All the doors were open, because it was hot. The only doors shut were the screen doors, as they allowed the breeze to come through. Just as they started to pray a cat started scratching at the screen door, it was very distracting. As they prayed, the cat scratched and meowed. The pastor started to pray to God to quite the cat, the cat still scratched. The pastor prayed that the cat would go away, the cat still meowed. The pastor even prayed that something more devastating would happen to the cat, anything to shut it up. After the prayer ended conversation arose surrounding the cat. Everyone commented on how distracting the cat was during the prayer. At this point an elderly gentleman offered his opinion. He merely said, “I wonder what God was trying to tell us through the cat?”

Semiotics, the study of signs and what they relate to; seeing God in the everydayness of life, sometimes it can be a cat.

Something to think about.


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