photo by Charles Edward Case

Halloween came early to my neighborhood last weekend. Charlie and I are renting an apartment not too far from the Javits Center. Often, we have guests from far and near walking our streets from various conventions, getting air or looking for restaurants. Last weekend, New York Comic Con was in residence, so our visitors were more colorful and more noticeable than usual.

The costumes were incredible! People dressed up like superheroes, supervillains, characters from recent and not-so-recent movies. The outfits were detailed and often hand made. The wearers seemed very happy to be among others who shared their interests. They were with their people, the energy was good, and the rest of us were transported to what seemed like the back lot of a movie studio for the three days the convention was in session.

While not many of us identify with Anime characters—or have the sewing abilities to create an outfit in their likeness!—we all do clothe ourselves in identifiers that signal our allegiances: some wear hats from favorite sports teams, some wear jerseys from colleges or favorite vacation spots. Crosses, hijabs, yarmulkes all signal religious affiliations. Some might say that we are what we wear.

Such outward and visible signs of inward commitments can be fun, or useful, or even necessary to our lives and work. Sometimes they broaden our vision. Other times they remind us where we have fixed our hearts. In any case, all such trappings are temporary tools as we navigate the world around us. Here is what Jesus says: ultimately, we will be known by the love we assume and offer to the world.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35