Last Sunday I gave my first reading in church. I don’t have any problems reading in front of people, however I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about it. Here you are getting up in front of a group of people, your spiritual family, and sharing something sacred – you want to do a decent (or at least competent) job. Thankfully it went well and I would certainly like to do it again.
Perhaps what helped was the fact that after I read the verses a few times myself, I found that they resonated powerfully with me. These words are undoubtedly a spiritual call to arms; there is no subtlety here about what we are being called to do. But at the same time it is a message of complete hope and reassurance. God is letting us know that He is with us in the struggle we find ourselves in; he is our sword, our helmet, and our shield. Paul’s words to the Ephesians ring true through the ages with the strength of the Holy Spirit and the uncompromising truth that is the Word of God.
I shall be meditating on these words for the coming week:
“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