Do you wear a deliberate decoration? Something with a meaning, and perhaps a purpose?
It might be a cross, a ring, a tattoo. You know what it means, and why you put it there. And the fact it is with you, does it say something important to those who see it?
Can be a provocative thing, though, because the same symbol can mean such different things to different people, and can use them to pick a fight. There was a soldier on the radio I overheard recently explaining that if something gives the fact away that he is a soldier, it may lead to respect from some people, but may mean he becomes a target for violence from others. Just think about the symbolic marches in Northern Ireland, and the deep division they exacerbate.
Jesus didn’t wear any provocative symbol. We get the impression he was rather self-effacing, but he did exhibit signs. He did miracles, healed people, spoke words of irrefutable wisdom relevantly into people and situations. And he caused conflict, because the same thing was seen in diametrically opposed ways.
When opposing views are help, particularly in enmity, then I guess an appropriately timed event as a flashpoint might be just what is needed to bring peace and reconciliation after a controlled explosion. I think Jesus was not afraid to do that, and hold his ground as the truth became clearer and clearer, even if people continued to oppose and deny it.
We are called to be those kind of peacemakers, who stand firm and see the truth, with healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, established.
One of our dear Area Dean’s symbols is his sandals. Let that be a sign to you. We need to follow suit. The desert boots of peace are part of our armour. But they are a decoration of power. Along with the others…