On fall Saturdays when my beloved Auburn Tigers are playing football, you will find me wearing one of the several orange and blue, logo-enhanced shirts I have accumulated for this very purpose. I may or may not also wear Auburn earrings, an Auburn bracelet, Auburn sunglasses and dark blue pants or jeans, but I’ll definitely have on an Auburn shirt. To anyone in the world with even the slightest knowledge of SEC football, my allegiance is unmistakable. I don’t have to be physically present at Jordan-Hare stadium either. No matter where I might be on game day, I am displaying my colors.
A recent Saturday in Bar Harbor, Maine was no exception.
Steve and I carefully planned our travel itinerary around kick-off, hoping to find a sports bar carrying the game at lunch time. We hit the jackpot with our very first inquiry, and there was the game in living color with no one in the whole place paying any attention. And, to add to the perfection of the moment, there were two seats directly in front of the television with unobstructed views. We figured as long as we kept ordering food and bottled waters we’d be allowed to stay. (No, no booze. You know us better than that.) So, we started with appetizers and settled in. The bartender was amiable. The place wasn’t crowded. Our team had a big victory. All was well.
But, then we left and started visiting little shops on our way back to our parking place. About a block from our car, we passed a couple walking in the opposite direction, and all of a sudden, I heard, “Roll Tide!” Nooooooo. Not in Maine!!!! I whizzed around and saw the grinning face of the voice and asked, “Are you from Alabama?” She said, “Well, I’m originally from Muscle Shoals, but I live in Boston now.” What are the chances that we’d meet on a sidewalk in Bar Harbor, Maine? She was not wearing an Alabama shirt, but MY shirt had brought on her reaction. She KNEW what it meant.
Later that night, I got up after dinner at a restaurant, wearing the same shirt, and heard a man behind me: “Hotty Toddy!” Lo and behold, a man from Mississippi was vacationing in Maine, too, and because he knows the SEC, we had a short, somewhat pleasant, conversation brought about by my shirt.
Wearing a symbol of my college loyalty caused responses from people who knew what it meant.
Now, I COULD talk about how important it is for Christians to behave like Christians when they are wearing clothes with Christian symbols or driving cars with Christian bumper stickers, but my mind took this scenario to a little less obvious place.
What about those times when nothing on my clothing suggests my religious affiliation? How am I “wearing” my Christian faith? Am I kind to shopkeepers, restaurant servers, neighbors, even Alabama and Ole Miss fans? Do my actions, my words and my attitudes reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control? Does my facial countenance display evidence of my faith? Should I be more deliberate, more conscious, more aware and more vocal about the allegiance I profess? If someone passed me on the street, would there be any hint that I was a Christian without me waving a banner or preaching on the sidewalk?
Catholic nuns, Jewish rabbis, Muslim women, for example, all WEAR symbols of their faith. Some Christian women display their denominational preference with their long skirts, long hair and lack of make-up or jewelry. Is that what God wants me to do?
Is it possible that this verse applies?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by a man’s face or height, for this is not the one. I don’t make decisions the way you do! Men judge by outward appearance, but I look at a man’s thoughts and intentions.” 1 Samuel 16:7
I don’t have any answers for you today or for myself. This is just something I’m pondering. Please feel free to chime in.