As I drive along Hixson Pike, two restaurant always have signs with religious messages.
Karl’s, a diner where you get home-cooked food, had a sign this week which read, “To make it in this world, keep in touch with God.” So feasting on the presence of God is a good way to keep up your faith.
Not to be outdone by Karl’s, another restaurant on Hixson Pike, Central Park, features hamburgers and fries. But it, too, has a religious message on it sign. This week it read something like, “God’s love is forever.” So a steady diet of this good news will keep our hearts and minds faithful to our Lord.
“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (2:11) That first sign was when Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. That saved the host family from lifetime embarrassment of running out of wine at the wedding celebration.
But Jesus’ first sign not only saved the day for the host family, but it also revealed his glory as God’s only begotten Son and led his disciples to believe in him.
But St. John recorded other signs when Jesus’ glory was revealed.
Jesus merely spoke the word and the official’s sick son was healed. (4:46-54)
On the mountain top Jesus fed 5000 people with a few loafs of bread and a few fish. (6:14)
Jesus made mud with his saliva, put it on the blind man’s eyes, told him to go wash, and the blind man regained his sight. (9:1-34)
Jesus, Mary, Martha, and their friends stood at the tomb of dead Lazarus. Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out!” He did with grave clothes still binding him. Lazarus was alive again. (11:1-44)
Finally, Jesus suffering and death on the cross, his glorious resurrection, and his appearance to his disciples brought hope and healing. (20:-1-23)
With all of these signs in the Gospel of St. John, the glory and splendor of Jesus was revealed as the Word of God in the flesh. And when people saw these signs they believed in him. They trusted in Jesus as the one sent from God who brings grace upon grace. (1:14-16)
Have you seen the 2002 movie called “Signs” produced by M. Night Shyamalan? It was a thriller. Mel Gibson played the part of a priest who left the ministry and became a farmer. He struggled with his faith after a tragic moment when his wife died.
One day Gibson discovered crop circles in his field. Were they signs of the extraterrestrial? Were they signs of visits from aliens? Were they signs to look for something supernatural in life?
In the end that movie was above faith. Would Gibson have faith to save himself and his family from the aliens who made the crop circles and who were attacking him and his family? Would Gibson have faith to make it in this world and look for signs of God’s presence?
If we miss the signs of God’s presence in our lives, we wind up as people of despair. We end up with meaningless lives. And we will never be satisfied with life itself.
But thanks be to God that the cross and empty tomb are signs of God’s love and forgiveness for all who believe in God’s Son. The bread and wine of Holy Communion are signs that Jesus yearns to dwell deep within us.
As the Gospel of St. John comes to a close, we read, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” (20:30-31)
So we look for signs of God’s loving presence in our lives. We open our eyes of faith and see God’s loving hand gently touching us with mercy and kindness. And even a message on a restaurant sign can remind us of God’s enduring presence.
Thanks be to God.
(Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the bible.)