Monthly Archives: August, 2018
I remember walking into a religious book/gift store many years ago (down at Rockwood – Sign of the Fish) when I was still working as a DCE. As I went in, my eyes were drawn to a mom and a young boy, maybe 3 or 4, at the checkout counter. She was paying, and he was happily opening the package and putting on a small shield, helmet, gloves, and waving a sword. I remember thinking at the time, even many years ago, “No, no, no, that is wrong. It is not biblical.” Fastforward to August 5, 2018, and I saw the news from Portland, OR, where a Prayer Patriots Rally was taking place. The camera stopped on a man clad mostly in green, with long gloves and a mask, carrying a shield, and with something, either a megaphone or a weapon, slung over his shoulder, joining the crowd chanting, “Go home! Go home!” Again, my first thought was, “No, that is just wrong. If you are prayer patriots, you must know that is not what Jesus says.” And I was reminded of the little boy in armor, so happy to wear a shield and wield a sword in God’s name.
This epistle passage uses the language of war because that was a language the people of that time would understand. The people of Ephesus may even have been in a war at the time. Soldiers of that era would wear a belt around their waist to tie up their loose robes, in order to keep them out of their way in the battle. Special belts would signify higher office. They wore breastplates of leather or metal, on their front and sometimes on their backs. They wore sturdier shoes, for their time, so that they would not lose their footing. Any good soldier would carry a shield. Many shields in ancient times were big enough to cover the whole body. They were usually made of leather or of wood, and they might be soaked in water before battle, in order to extinguish flaming arrows. Helmets were needed to protect the head. And every good solder had a sword, in this time long before guns were invented. People of the first century would know these images because they saw them all the time.
But the writer, who was possibly Paul, but more likely a disciple of Paul writing in Paul’s name, took these familiar images and turned them on their head, much as Jesus did in his teachings. Instead of a belt, he said, Christians should wear truth. And instead of a breastplate, live in righteousness, in right relationship with God and with one another. Instead of worrying about the right shoes, Christians should make sure they are grounded firmly in the Gospel message. Christians are shielded by faith, and their heads and hearts are protected by salvation. The only sword a Christian should carry is the Word of God. These are the weapons needed to fight a never ending battle, says the author, this battle against evil.Read more....
The Haiti Medical Mission Team is preparing for its fall trip, September 29-October 6. This year the team is handling collections a bit differently: Instead of donating items, we’re asking folks to “sponsor” products with a donation of cash or check. The team has connected with a supplier to purchase items in bulk at a considerable savings. Team members have a table in the Courtyard with a sampling of the supplies needed. Please drop by to learn more and consider leaving a donation or putting one in the offering plate marked for the Haiti Fund. We’re grateful to God to know we can count on the Westminster family for generous contributions and continued prayers for Haiti’s people.
Are you seeking to learn more about God and living a life of discipleship? Check out these new electives for the fall, both offered on Sundays, 9:45-10:45am, beginning September 16:
- Bible 101 (Room 205) Have you ever wanted to know more about the Bible or to respond to a child’s questions about the Bible? If so, then Bible 101 is the place for you! This study is designed for folks seeking basic information on biblical interpretation to create a fuller understanding of God’s Word. No biblical study background is needed or assumed.
- Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in Their Time of Trial (Room 204) Whether it’s cancer, death of a loved one, long-term illness, loss of a beloved pet, or another significant challenge, we all know someone facing trials. How many times have you wanted to do the practical thing when someone you know is in a hard place, but had no idea where to start? We’ll explore what is needed and appropriate depending on the relationship.
Children and youth are invited to come meet their Church School teachers at 9:45am in the Fellowship Hall, while parents confirm their kids’ information on the class rosters. Breakfast snacks and beverages will be served. At approximately 10:10am, children and youth will go to their classrooms with teachers. Adults will stay to hear about upcoming adult Christian Education opportunities. If you’ve never been part of a Church School class or elective, come learn more about these wonderful offerings and meet the people leading them.