February Letter 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,
If you see something, say something. You’ve probably heard the expression before, or seen the message posted in public places across the country. It was the brainchild of Allen Kay, a New York advertising executive who jotted the phrase down on a note card on September 12, 2001. A few months later, Kay offered the catchphrase to the Metropolitan Transit Authority for use in public service announcements to build situational awareness among mass transit users. It has since become the defining motto of post-9/11 America. That slogan alone has done much to raise our awareness about potential threats—unattended backpacks, packages, or luggage; suspicious persons; and vehicles parked out of place.
The argument could also be made that If you see something, say something has also made us more paranoid. When sitting at airport gate areas, I keep an eye out for items without people. Walking down the street, I notice my heartrate jump when I encounter people in long jackets. I give unoccupied idling vehicles wide berths, just in case. My concern is that somewhere along the way vigilance crosses into suspicion, and suspicion is the breeding ground for fear. Fear furthers the divide between people. Fear is not the message of Jesus Christ.

I propose we start a new campaign to pushback against the growing clouds of fear and division we see in our daily lives. I call it: If you see something, say something. Yes, you read that correctly. What I propose is that we be on the lookout for good things . . . God things, and when we see them we should share them. When you see acts of grace, mercy, compassion, love, joy, generosity, or self-sacrifice, SAY SOMETHING! If you see someone respond to anger with kindness and grace, SAY SOMETHING. When enemies find common ground, SAY SOMETHING. When the sun comes out on rainy day, SAY SOMETHING. When the delay in getting your morning coffee allows you to take a call from a friend, rejoice . . . and SAY SOMETHING.
In Acts 5, when the apostles were persecuted by the Sadducees, who rounded them up and placed them in prison, an angel of the Lord came and set them free. You wouldn’t blame them if they laid low for a while, but instead they followed the angel’s instruction: Go, stand in the temple and tell the whole message about this life (Acts 5:20). At daybreak, they went on sharing the good news of peace and reconciliation in Jesus Christ.
Friends, continue to be on the lookout for things that might cause harm to others, but be even more vigilant in looking for good—for God—in the world . . . and when you see it, tell everyone you know. Godspeed,,
matt sig