I do not have enough information.
Today, though, I decided to be intentional in my observations as I walked along the sidewalks of a variety of different neighborhood streets where we are currently staying in Oregon.
Unlike in Johannesburg, where our family would be now if the pandemic hadn’t restricted and then delayed our travel back, when we walk about the neighborhood here in Oregon, we can view homes quite easily. There are no walls or tall fences to prevent us from enjoying the homes and gardens of the people who live here. Viewing the homes and gardens of others is one of our favorite things we do as a family right now. Unlike Johannesburg, people are free to walk right up to a person’s front door and ring the bell in Oregon.
Our youngest son, Caleb, especially likes walking about the Oregon neighborhoods and viewing the different houses. He is interested in viewing the front doors – what color they are, what size, and where they are positioned at the front of the house. Caleb also takes note of which houses are for sale, which are pending, and which have sold in the neighborhood. It’s one sign we notice on our walks.
There are other signs, too.
Do Not Trespass Signs
No Soliciting Signs
Beware of Dog Signs
Dogs Live Here Signs
Grandchildren Welcome Signs
Be Kind Signs
In Our America Signs
And most recently, Black Lives Matter Signs
Today, as I walked, I decided to count some of these signs. Over the course of our family’s forty-five- minute meandering along a handful of different streets, here is what I counted:
7 Welcome Signs
16 No Soliciting Signs
1 Be Kind Sign
2 Dog-Related Signs of Welcome
32 Black Lives Matter Signs – in windows, on walls, and in yards
8 In our America Signs
However, by and large, most of the houses I passed had no sign posted at all.
As I surveyed these different houses, I posed some questions to myself.
Would a house with a Welcome Sign have a No Soliciting sign?
I found two houses with a Welcome Sign and a No Soliciting Sign.
Would I see a Black Lives Matter or In Our America Sign with a No Soliciting Sign?
Again, the answer was yes. In fact, a Welcome Sign, No Soliciting Sign and a Black Lives Matter Sign were all posted outside one house.
One more question.
If no signs are posted outside of a house, what does that mean? Is it possible to make a judgment about the people living inside a house if there are no signs displayed outside their home?
One last question.
Does it matter?
Does it matter whether someone posts a sign of welcome, sign of kindness, sign of constraint, or sign of support outside their home?
You may wonder. Does my family have a sign outside our home in Johannesburg?
As a matter of fact, we do.
We have a Welcome Sign.
It’s a juxtaposition to the brick walls, barbed wire, electric fencing, and motion detectors that surround our house in Johannesburg. However, we want our guests to know that if they arrive at our gate and enter our house, they are welcome. Regarding solicitors, they come to our gate often. I’ve written about our gate experiences in the past. For John and me, we believe that being open and available to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, means being willing to answer the calls at our gate – even if it is an inconvenience to us.
What kind of sign would we post outside our house if we lived in Oregon?
I believe we would still have a welcome sign to greet others.
That’s the message I want to convey to people as they pass by our home.
You are Welcome
This week, I’ve camped in the book of Leviticus. Actually, the chapter that has caught my attention is Leviticus 19. I haven’t spent much time unpacking this book over the course of my life. However, Leviticus 19 gave me pause. Like Romans 12, Matthew 5 with the Beatitudes, Leviticus 19 offers some direct, practical ways to care for, revere, and love others – no matter who they are.
Here are some of the exhortations from Leviticus 19:
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.” verses 9-10
“‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.” verse 14
“‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.” verse 16
“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” verse 18
“‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” verse 32
“‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” Verses 33-34
If I were to sum up these verses, they reflect the commands of Jesus. He asked us to love God with our whole heart out of our whole being and demonstrate our love for Him by loving others like we would love ourselves.
This love demonstration means that we provide for those in need.
This love demonstration means that we honor and care for the vulnerable.
This love demonstration means that we protect those about us.
This love demonstration means that we speak well of others.
This love demonstration means we show respect to the aged.
This love demonstration means we honor and embrace our neighbors with generosity and grace.
What kind of sign would we post that indicates this kind of welcoming, embracing spirit of love found in Leviticus 19?
My mom gave me a sign this week. I think that it might do the trick:
I want others – no matter who they are – to know that I am glad they are here when they come to my home and come into my life. Period. Because in my mind, I believe:
What kind of sign would you like to post outside your home that conveys your heart to your community?