The continuing wave of barbarism in the Middle East, which must be a cause of concern for all people of goodwill, has achieved a new low through the systematic identification and suppression of the ancient Christian communities of that region. Amongst the countless horrific and mindless acts that have been related to us in the news, one of the most sinister is the marking of the homes of Christians with the arabic letter, nun, the first letter of the word ‘Nazarene’. This practice is perhaps particularly shocking to us in the west, who cannot avoid making an unhappy comparison with the plight of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
Despite the unsettling nature of these events, and despite their physical distance from our own homes and places of work, many of us would nevertheless recognize this sign, were we to see it. This is because many Christians, in solidarity with those suffering, and in opposition to those who spread terror and division, have adopted this as something of a badge of honour. Whether on their clothing, or through social media, by this act of defiance the symbol has been removed from its intended purpose of fear-mongering and mockery, and transformed into an icon of resilience; subversively but clearly professing and witnessing to faith in Christ.