A recent article in TIME magazine caught my eye. It was discussing how certain colors are used in various protest movements around the world. Yellow is the color of people power in the Philippines. Folks in the Ukraine dress in orange when they protest. Democrats in Iran dress in green.
But in Uganda, the opposing security forces have taken up spraying dissidents with a vivid pink spray. It is “a mark intended both to humiliate dissidents and make it easier for police to nab them.” Apparently the Ugandan authorities got the idea from South African officials who sprayed purple to mark those who were causing disturbances.
It got me to thinking about the concept of being marked. Certainly our culture is inundated with people marking their bodies with tattoos of various colors. It is not a brand new concept. A 5000 year old body was found in the mountains between Austria and Italy and it had some 57 tattoos on its body. Through the ages, cultures all around the world have utilized tattoos to signify position, rank, race and power. But in our own culture, until the last 30 years or so, it was sailors, circus folks and the criminals who had most of the tattoos.
Not so today. It is clearly a fad, a part of a generational expression. We mark ourselves as a means of identifying with a sub group within society. In the New Testament, Paul uses this same kind of concept when he declares in Galatians 6:17 that he “…bears on his body the marks of Jesus.”
The root word for this kind of mark is the English word for “stigma.” By definition this stigma is a scar, a mark, a spot on the skin, or a birthmark.
Paul wants everyone to know of his allegiance to Jesus Christ. He is bearing the very scars from his beating and scourging as a sign of pride. He is screaming through those marks, “I proudly belong to Jesus Christ! I am marked for life!”
This week you and I will probably not wear a particular color of outfits to signify our displeasure with the government. Nor will our government likely spray us with a marking color either. But we should bear a mark; a stigma if you will that identifies us with the cause of Christ.
That mark might take the form of public prayer, or a kind word spoken in the marketplace, a gesture of graciousness given in the name of our Savoir. However we show our “marks,” this is a great time to remember that because of His stripes we are indeed healed!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel