On one of our gas stops, I got out of the car to use the restroom. As I walked around the side of the building I noticed three signs – Men, Women and Colored. No Colored Men and no Colored Women signs – just Colored. I had never seen a sign like that in my thirteen years of life. I really had to go to the bathroom, but all I could do was stop and stare. I can still see that sign in my mind’s eye.
What made that sign so degrading and wrong is obvious. What is not so obvious is that we could have signs like that hanging in some parts of the United States and not in others – both at the same time. Some of those who lived daily within this prejudice accepted it as a reality of life.
This morning, I am asking myself where in my expression of faith do I have similar restrictive signs in place. These are signs that I accept as my assumed reality that lumps people into narrow groups and assigns them a lesser-than-me designation. We unconsciously put “Colored” signs over the doorways of people groups and experiences with which we are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. We do this over styles of worship, how people respond to the moving of God’s Spirit and over anything we think is different from our limited perspective. There is only one sign in God’s Kingdom and Jesus wrote across its face the words, “Follow Me.” That is a sign without personal prejudice and it invites all of us to step through its doorway into a place of real freedom.