by Angier Brock
As I made my way from western NC to eastern VA recently, having determined to avoid interstates as much as possible, I came to a place where NC Highway 16 crossed a smaller road. Above the intersection hung a traffic light, green at the time, and so I proceeded. Though I did not slow down, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I glimpsed a sign that read, “God is the light on this corner!”
As soon as I could, I made a U-turn and went back to look. Yep, that’s what the sign said. I took a picture: God is the light on this corner! I am still pondering what it means. Taken literally, the sign apparently refers to the traffic light; no other lights are in evidence. I suppose there are worse metaphors for God than one in which the Creator of All reminds us to share the road and suggests when to stop, when to use caution, and when to move ahead.
But perhaps another possibility is that the sign meant that God is the ambient daylight on that corner. If so, wouldn’t it be more accurate if it read God is the light on ALL corners? Perhaps the risk there is that if we speak of God as being everywhere (as most of us sometimes do, when we dare speak at all about the Holy One), perhaps we think on such an enormous (and generic) scale that we miss the specific truth that God truly is here: in this moment, with me, at this desk, right now (8:01 PM on a Sunday evening), as I write this blog about a signboard and listen to this particular CD of lovely and haunting Armenian music. In other words, perhaps the sign reminds us of the intimate and immediate presence of God, even when we are doing such mundane things as driving to or from work, going about our routines, or passing through an ordinary intersection as we drive across two states on mostly back roads returning home from a friend’s birthday party.
“God is the light on this corner!” I have no idea, of course, what the person who put the sign up intended by those words. Perhaps one day, out of sheer curiosity, I will call the pastor of the church that sponsors the signboard and inquire. Or maybe I will simply let the proclamation continue meandering on the back roads of my own thoughts.
Perhaps that is the point: To call passers-by to a consideration of where God is and how God acts. To encourage people to think about—well, about whether God is in fact light to them, and what that means. And to do so in a way that is surprising, even playful. “God is the light on this corner!” This very corner of the road! This very corner of the room where my desk is! This very corner of my life, no matter what road I am on or where I am headed! May it be so.