Rustlings (May 31, 2016)

There is a little store that sits on a highway on the edge of the South Georgia metropolis of Nichols, Georgia. In front of the store, is a rough, hand-painted sign that reads, “Fish Bait, Avon, and Auto Parts.” If you pull into the gravel parking lot (as I did on one particular day because I was thirsty and wanted a Dr. Pepper), you will also see a smaller sign affixed to the door that reads, “If we ain’t got it, you don’t need it.” Among their crickets, Skin So Soft and starter kits, I found a cold Dr. Pepper.

On Sunday, June 5, we will dedicate the new monumental signs that mark the entrances to our parking area at First Baptist. Toward the end of our worship service, we will exit the Sanctuary and gather around the Cleveland Street entrance sign. With song and litany and prayer, we will give thanks to God — and the generous donors of FBG — for these beautiful structures. Long after we’ve dispersed and returned to our homes — and even longer, after we’ve returned to our heavenly home — these carefully stacked edifices of stone and steel will guide persons to a place of healing, friendship and hope.

I hope you’ll take time to admire the signs before and after June 5. Remind yourself of the meaning of the church logo — we are a broken people, each unique, but gathered around the cross to form a family of faith. Remind yourself of what it means to be Baptist — a gathering of people committed to the sole competency of every believer, the autonomy of the local church, the authority of biblical text and the separation of church and state. And note, my name was not affixed with Velcro…there was a rumor. I think the only thing missing on the sign is a tag that reads “If we ain’t got it, you don’t need it.” But I’m guessing folk will figure that out when they come inside…

— Jim