From the District Superintendent

Seeing the Signs

Posted 15 February, 2018 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

It's not that we didn't notice the sign, it's more that we didn't fully understand what it conveyed. We left the cabin in West Virginia and made our way out of the property along a rutted, former logging road, then at the entrance gate we had a choice. We could turn right and take the narrow paved road down the mountain, cross the river, that still bore signs of the flooding the was caused by the previous year's hurricane, and turn onto the main US two lane highway that would carry us back to Virginia. Or we could turn left and take the "back way" that went around and down the other side of the mountain, cross a "dry-weather bridge", and connect into the US highway 25 miles further east. Though we were still newcomers to this community, we had taken both roads before. On that February day we turned left.

It was sunny, and cold. But there was no snow on the ground and it had been several weeks, perhaps a month, since it had snowed in that area. So as we drove past the next farm we did not realize the importance of the "Road Not Maintained in Winter" sign mounted in the gravel edge where the road narrowed. We were quite a ways down the mountain before we hit the first patch of ice. In short order the whole road was completely ice and snow and cell service non-existent. It was a scary ride, even with 4-wheel drive engaged, slowly inching forward, slipping to one side then another.

How deep our sighs of thanksgiving were when the road leveled out, the snow and ice melted away, and the bridge crossing came into sight. It seemed miraculous; we had not slid off the road, into a ditch, or down a hill into a tree. How wonderful it felt to finally stop for dinner, step out of the vehicle, stretch, and celebrate that we had made it!  And we had learned what the sign meant!

Sometimes as a church leader I find that I am unsure what the signs around me mean. What about you? Are there signs of need in your community that you are seeing but not fully comprehending? Are there signs of hope in your community that you are oblivious to? Are there signs of racial, economic, or educational barriers being broken that you are not fully attuned to. Are there signs of spiritual despair that you should pay attention to? Are there signs of spiritual awakening, growth, or engagement that you should notice? Where do you see signs that God is at work, that Jesus has shown-up, that the Holy Spirit is on the move? What are the signs that God is beckoning you, inviting you, urging you to do, say, believe, become?