Mark 8:11

Here the Pharisees came out, and began to argue with Jesus, asking him for some sign from the heavens, to test him.

every jot and tittle needs defending
there is no place however unknown
outside constant vigilance
for contagion can start anywhere

enter stage left prodigal partyers
from stage right decibel enforcers
no venue is to small
for ubiquitous Purell®

in its over use
stronger impurities are bred
short-term holy protection
requires hair-trigger reactions

such hyper-alertness to boundaries
insists on fragile nuclear options
involving heavenly authority
expected to be tempted to death

Isn’t this a test we have of everyone we meet—What sign of “heaven” do you bring? Those who make our heart go pitter-pat or our mind perk up and pay attention are the folks we ask particularly about that which is beyond us.

This σημεῖον (sēmeion, sign, meaningful character of an event or object) has come down to us more familiarly as semantics or semiology.

The widest view of this approach to meaning is described by Umberto Eco—“semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign”. Those not acquainted with semiotics might start with the freebie, Semiotics for Beginners by Daniel Chandler [].

To be in the presence of a different perspective is a blessing. It is not so much a temptation to leave where you are as to give opportunity to test to see if we can hold steady without causing moral injury to ourselves or another by doing so. This brings testing to even a looked-forward-to opportunity. In such a test we reveal to ourselves and others whatever integrity between word and deed we still hold. There is no end to testing and so learning to appreciate it is of paramount importance. When we grow weary of a test, we have grown weary of wrestling meaning from signs all around.

It is not outrageous to ask for another way to see what has been before us so strongly that we have flattened its small-t truth into big-T Truth based on too small a sample. If you are claiming, demonstrating, or having power attributed to you, those who are challenged by such literally need to either disappear you or bring a test.

It is better to be tested than disappeared. Now both can grow.