The Signal of Virtue

Bumper stickers have bugged me for years. My problem is not that they don’t come off. What bugs me is that it’s a brief monologue about what’s in that person’s head. Sometimes it’s innocuous, like a bumper sticker about someone’s school or favorite dance studio. Nowadays it’s generally not. Unfortunately the bumper stickers have evolved into these stupid yard signs. I support the right to express yourself via yard signs, but it’s like a bumper sticker on another level. It’s not just a monologue anymore. It’s more like a commandment. Thou shalt agree.

As these yard signs become more ubiquitous, I came to a realization. We have witnessed movements become religiously fanatic. They demand complete and total subservience. The weight of the law is laid on heavy for all to follow and keep. Thou shalt agree. Thou shalt never question. There is only one way and anyone who strays shall be ostracized, doxxed, and punished.

So what does this have to do with yard signs? Yard signs have become more than the bumper sticker monologue. The point of having a yard sign isn’t so much what is on the sign itself. The point is what it means. Coupled with the religious movement that the signs stem from, they offer a greater message than the sign itself. They become like lamb’s blood over a doorpost. So long as someone has the correct messaging in their yard, they are no longer a target. The mob will pass over those houses. The right sign means you’re on the same side, that you are supporting the cause, that you know that they know that you know.

The right bumper stickers, the right signs, the right images in the windows of your shops or your homes, these are all signals of virtue within the movement. Someone is made clean with the right signs. The right kind of people live or work here and people of the same mind can now shop in peace, rest in peace, knowing that the virtue is present for all to see because the sign is out. And what is this virtue? It’s that one supports the cause. This virtue blindly agrees. It never questions. It promotes the movement no matter what. This virtue claims elevated status because of its ability to communicate in Newspeak.

My problem with these yard signs has increased beyond the mere annoyance of a monologue on a stick. Now it becomes a litmus test for the religious. It is a new light that cannot be hidden under a bush. Oh no. It is a beacon, a shining signal of virtue. A virtue that pleases only mankind and does not last.

Could it be that there is a truer and better sign that points toward real virtue? It’s not from a cheap plastic sign probably made in China. No. The true sign of virtue comes from water and the Word of God. This is a virtue that is imparted, not self-made. It brings real peace with our Creator because of the blood of His Son. It is a virtue given to someone who has died to sin and is now alive to God in Christ Jesus. Righteous virtue is given to God’s people in Baptism.

In our Baptism, we are washed, renewed, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit that was richly poured out for us. In the eyes of God, a dead sinner is spiritually resurrected. You see, by the work of Christ on the cross, by virtue of His work, we are now virtuous in our Baptism. If ever we doubt our place in the Kingdom of Heaven, we look to our Baptism as a sign pointing to the virtue of God on the cross for sinners.

Our neighbors also need to hear this good news. It doesn’t come from putting a sign in your yard. It comes from developing rich relationships with others, even if they vote differently than you. It means having patience, showing genuine care, and praying that the Word of God would enrich them as it has all who believe in the virtue of Christ who gave Himself to save everyone.