My grandchildren’s school is changing its uniform, so it going to be an expensive time for their mum. They are all expected to turn out in the new colours, looking all smart. I like school uniforms on the whole – I think it helps them to act smart too. We had another sort of uniform back in the 70’s – remember the blue jeans? You couldn’t wear anything else back then if you wanted to look part of the in-crowd. I remember David Dundas even wrote a song about it. And then there’s the suit. That’s a uniform in many workplaces, especially offices. They all look alike, till you look closer and notice the big cheeses wear the better cuts, that little bit of extra finish that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Poor old Joe – his clobber got him into so much bother! (Genesis 37:23, and Genesis 39:11-20) First his brothers had been mad jealous because his father had given him a fancy robe, and so they sold him into slavery to get rid of him. Then his master’s wife took a shine on him, grabbed him by his cloak and tried to seduce him. When he refused and ran off, she used the cloak as evidence against him, making out he had been the aggressor. Is there anyone less free than a slave? Certainly there is – a slave who is in prison. And that’s where Joseph was put.
Strangely though, Joseph found a new freedom there in the place of captivity. He may have been dressed in prison uniform, but he stood out from the crowd. Not because his outfit was a better cut, but because ‘the Lord was with him’.
There have been times in my life I’ve had to wear a uniform, both at school and at work. There have been times, including the present, when I’ve been free to wear what I please. Personally, I’m not that bothered either way; there’s pro’s and cons to both uniforms and mufti. What is important is whether I stand out from the crowd. I know the Lord is with me – he has promised it, but is it obvious to anyone else?