November 2018: Thought For The Month

October 29 2018

Kiss the badge

Any sports fans out there will be all too familiar with the multiplicity of ways in which sports men and women celebrate success. A big race win, a crucial goal, or a match winning century provoke an outpouring of delight far removed from the gentlemanly handshake of a previous era.

One popular expression of this is the kissing of the badge – grabbing a handful of polyester mesh and planting a big smacker on the team’s logo. This communicates loyalty, passion and commitment to the cause; and immediately endears the individual to the team’s fans.

Watching this the other day got me thinking – how do we ‘kiss the badge’ in everyday life. In the political sphere we see politicians kissing the badge of Brexit, pseudo Brexit or Remain. In speaking up for what they believe they’re expressing loyalty to a cause, which may or may not align them to the political badge they usually kiss. In the context of community we ‘kiss the badge’ as we express wholehearted commitment to our family, our friends, perhaps a club or organisation. In the workplace our loyalty is expected and may extend well beyond our contracted hours, as we buy into the vision and commit to the cause.

At times we may not know which badge to kiss – the competing demands leave our heads in a spin and we struggle to work out our response to conflicting priorities. For some, faith is just another badge thrown into the mix – an extra interest requiring a degree of loyalty, but no more significant than any other call on our time and energy. A Sunday badge perhaps, if there’s nothing more pressing vying for our attention.

Jesus would have something to say about that. Addressing his friends, he said: ‘If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.’ In other words, he called for an ultimate loyalty, an overarching commitment to his cause, which put other loyalties in the shade, and included a strong element of sacrifice. He makes the same call today, it might sound heavy, but the amazing thing is that as we kiss the badge of allegiance to him, our other loyalties find their rightful place and take on fresh significance and perspective. Life becomes more complete.

If you haven’t done so already, why not pop along to one of the local churches to explore what that looks like in practice.

Rev Paul Peterson

Associate Minister

Christ Church Downend