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Ephesians 6:10-20

  

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (ESV)

Bring It On!

Wednesday of Pentecost 7

15 July 2015

As you stand at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery you can become mesmerized by the snap and polish of those who guard its precinct. You might even find yourself attracted to the military life by the crisp uniform, the measured steps, the clarity of purpose, and the acceptance of discipline. It used to be said that women were attracted to a man in uniform, although this is perhaps not so much the case any longer. A young man in his dress military uniform is a sight quite different from a battle-grimed man in his fatigues. He sits wearied in body and soul by the burdens of the arms, contemplating the horrors of actual combat. He does not relish the work, but undertakes it under orders to defend constitution and country; an evil job that good men must do. When they march to war they are grim-faced and filled with agony. This is no longer the parade ground exercise that looks so precise and even gloriously beautiful. The reality of battle is quite far from the parade ground.

 

We too are called to battle by our Lord Jesus. We too must be arrayed for combat when He calls us to arms. We choke on this image of soldiers marching as to war in our squeamish age, when the editors of new hymnbooks decline to print among their hymns the great old standards of militant Christianity like "Onward Christian Soldiers." What gives? Why this squeamishness? It misunderstands the call to arms which Jesus sounds. He does not call us to jihad. He does not ask us to take up our M-16s to mow down the infidels. His arms are not the power unto slaughter. His victory does not mean that we will stand with our boot upon the throat of our enemies. Rather the opposite case is more likely; that our enemy will stand with his boot upon our throat. Our loss, suffering, and trial are all signs of Christ's glorious shining victory over suffering and even death.

 

We must remember who our commander is, what His battle dispositions are, the weapons with which He equips us, and what His victory looks like. We should not fear the battle to which He calls us, because He has led us there having Himself faced down such fell enemies as death, grave, and hell. He leads not from an entrenched position behind the front, but leads the very vanguard into life, as the firstborn from the dead. He will not fail, no matter how grim the battle appears, no matter how many seem the losses. We may approach our enemy's lair without fear or trepidation. We needn't flee from the clash of arms or the cacophony of battle. We may go in our best dress uniform adorned by the weapons of light; weapons given by Him who is the Light of the world. Who goes to war dressed like the bridegroom in his tuxedo, except one who is quite certain of the outcome, dressed for the cessation of war and the signs of ultimate peace? We can waltz into war, because of Christ and His weapons. The battle is joined. Bring it on.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light' (Rm 13:12). The day is calling us to battle array and to the fight. But do not be afraid when you hear the din of battle and the clash of arms. For in the case of the visible suit of armor, to put it on is a heavy and burdening task. But here it is desirable, and worth being prayed for. For the arms are fashioned of light! Therefore, they will set you forth brighter than a sunbeam. Giving out a great brilliance, they place you in safety. They are arms, and dazzling they make you, for they are arms of light!

 

"What then, is there no necessity for you to fight? Yes, it is still necessary to fight, but not to be distressed and burdened by the toil. For it is not in fact war, but a wedding dance and festival day; such is the nature of the arms, such the power of the Commander. As the bridegroom goes forth with joyous looks from his chamber, so too he who is defended with these arms goes forth. He is at the same time soldier and bridegroom."

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 24 
 
Prayer

Lord Jesus, You are commander of God's armies. Lead us to victory bearing the arms of light. Amen.

 

For Robert Brimberry, who is suffering from bronchitis, that the Lord Jesus would grant him a recovery of health and breath

 

For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he would find rest and recreation during his vacation

 

For those who are confused about the good gift of human sexuality because of the oversexualization of our culture, that the Lord who created man and woman would lead them into His Word and give them true peace 
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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