Clothing ourselves in Christ – Reflection for Trinity 12, August 22 2021

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Ephesians 6: 10-20

stained-glass-test-2

Military metaphors for the Christian life, particularly in hymns, are often regarded as outmoded in Christian circles. Yet with the news of the terrible events in Afghanistan this week, such metaphors are perhaps more relevant than we would care to acknowledge. In his letter to the early church in Ephesus, written around AD 60, St Paul speaks of the cosmic battle between good and evil. However we understand this, without doubt there is evil in the world. In response, as Christians we are invited to ‘clothe’ ourselves in Christ. Paul enjoins us to do this by putting on the whole armour of God to protect us against all that is evil.

‘Clothing’ ourselves in Christ might seem an odd concept. Yet it should be as familiar as putting on a favourite jumper or a winter coat. It should be something we do daily as a matter of choice, remembering that cosmic evil has been decisively transformed in and through the cross of Christ. For St Paul ‘clothing’ ourselves in Christ means being people who speak and act truthfully. We are to be righteous, people who stand up for all that is good and true as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We are to proclaim the Gospel whilst remaining rooted in prayer and the study of the scriptures. We are to travel together, praying for one another on our journey of faith.

As you pray for the world, for individuals and for yourself, you may like to make the following prayers your own:

Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death;
victory is ours through God who loves us. Amen.     (Desmond Tutu)

All our difficulties, we send to the cross of Jesus.
All the devil’s works, we send to the cross of Jesus.
All our hopes, we set on the risen Christ. Amen.     (Common Worship)

Rev Canon Nikki Arthy, Rector

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