Daily Devotion 29 October 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Ephesians 6:13-18 ‘Wearing God’s Protection’

13 Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

At the moment when we say “protective clothing” we inevitably think of masks, which we all have to wear, and the garments which medical personnel have to don for their own safety as well as to protect others. But before Covid 19, children wore helmets when they went out on bikes; cricketers appeared in what looked like riot gear and ice-hockey players on TV were kitted out as if they were going to the moon! Nor is Personal Protection a modern thing – in the City of London there’s a medieval custom, still followed today, that in official processions the ‘important’ people carry floral posies. At the Election of the Lord Mayor you can see the robed Sheriffs and bewigged Judges incongruously carrying their little nosegays. And why? Historically it was to protect themselves against the evil odours of the crowd and against the dangers of the plague; nowadays it’s just tradition.

Armour of one sort or another for protection has been around for millennia. Think of Goliath! However, to be effective it has to be the right armour. In this passage from Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the whole armour of God and those last two words are vital. It must be God’s truth with which we gird our loins, the truth that God loves us and sent his Son to die for us – not some subjective truth of our own choice. It’s God’s righteousness we wear as a breastplate – not our own, which is often self-righteous or intolerant – it’s God’s justice and God’s goodness that protect us. The next bit of armour that God gives us is the power of the gospel, “our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. That’s why it’s so important to keep ourselves constantly in touch with that gospel. We are given faith by God as a shield; when St. Paul writes of faith, he always means complete and perfect trust in Christ and when we walk close to Jesus in faith we are protected from temptation and evil. Then God arms us with the helmet of salvation, the precious knowledge that Jesus died for us on the cross. And God gives us a weapon in Holy Scripture, ‘the sword of the spirit’. Never forget that a sword can be two-edged – we must use scripture in the right way, not to find justification for our own enthusiasms and prejudices, but to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through it.

Finally Paul writes of prayer, perhaps the greatest weapon of all. It’s through praying constantly, in faith and humility that we equip ourselves with God’s armour. It’s through daily prayer that as Christians we get our daily strength.

Prayer:

May the armour of God protect us;
the strength of God empower us;
the wisdom of God direct us;
the Spirit of God inspire us;
the love of God enfold us;
the grace of God comfort us;
the joy of God fill us.
And may God’s blessing be with us always.
Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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