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Chaplain’s Chat                      Rev. Dun Gordy


Their clerical collars identified then as "men of the cloth", but there were no identifying insignias to designate their particular denomination.  The ladies who sat next to them as well as the wedding bands they wore was pretty good evidence that they were not a couple of the Pope's "unwed fathers".  That seemed to narrow the choices down to Anglican or Lutheran though I've seen other denominations who wore such garb. 

Across the restaurant were a couple of tables of men and women of the law.  All wore uniforms of their particular department of service.  Though they had no insignias, the combat boots wide belts with handguns, handcuffs, big flashlights and whatever else cops carry in those little leather pouches that hang all the way around their waist gave them away their profession and hinted at SWAT team.

I wonder why the clerical garb of any of the denominations I'm familiar with do not have an identifying patch on their sleeve or an insignia on their shirt?  His uniform easily identifies a deputy sheriff.  You will never doubt that a the man or woman with that white jumper and trousers, black scarf and highly polished black shoes and flat hat are proud sailors in our Navy. A US Marine is easily distinguishable from an Air Force flyboy.  And both will display their rank on sleeve, collar or shoulder board.  And enlisted men may even display the stripes on his arm to testify to the number of years he has served.

Uniforms and other identifying insignia are important as a means of recognition.. And whether you've worn the uniform of a military personnel or been one of those who have stood in appreciation and admiration when our fellow citizens came parading down Main Street, returning from faithful service in Iraq, you can appreciate a uniform.  Dare I confess that one of the greatest motivations this now overgrown kid had for joining the Cub Scouts way-back-when was the privilege of wearing that beautiful blue shirt with the bright yellow scarf?  And becoming the proud owner of that costume, I could hardly wait until Thursday when I could wear it to school in preparation for the Pack meeting that afternoon.

"I Love A Parade" the song writer declared.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that we males of the species have a reluctantly admitted love affair with uniforms. Why do you see so many authentic team caps on baldheads of men too old to play baseball?  A Dale Earnhart T-shirt stretched over a bulging belly or a "Red Wings" hockey jersey 2 sizes too big on a 7-year-old boy?

And since it shows up in us at such a young age I can't help but wonder at what early age it began.  I mean, "age" as in the church age.  Did the Disciples come to Jesus with the suggestion that He issue special uniforms to those who "made the team"?   He did not do it. 

But He did give a way to recognize His disciples.  He said in John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”   Someone coined this little couplet:

Living above with saints we love – oh! That will be glory.

But living below with saints we know – now that’s a different story!

It may be a different and even difficult story.  But it is the Christian way.  The Christian’s “uniform”.   And when I stand inspection for our Commander, I wonder how well my uniform conforms to His standard?