Ephesians 6:10-17 - Lectionary for Trinity 21
Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Who are we going to trust? Our Epistle for this week, from Ephesians 6:10-17, reminds us that our strength is found in God, in His power, and in the use of the armaments He has given us.
In my native country, we are fast approaching a national election. It seems over the last several election cycles that we have seen increasingly bizarre behavior, not only on the part of the candidates, but also on the part of the electorate. Many commentators have begun to speak of politics in terms which, just a generation ago, indeed, maybe 15-20 years ago, would be reserved for religion. We have placed our hopes and dreams on particular candidates. People claim Messianic status for individuals running for our presidency. Appointments to the Supreme Court are viewed in apocalyptic terms. While some hints of this behavior can be found in the first half of the 20th century as well, it has reached a fever pitch which has taken many by surprise.
How should a Christian react to such a culture? First, we remember that it is God who is the great king and judge of all. If our hopes are in fallen humans, our hopes will be disappointed. There is no political party or candidate that will be perfect. Those haven't been made for millennia, since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden. We try to identify what will be best for society, but we realize that in the end there will be disappointment.
Second, when we have been empowered to do so, we speak our Christian convictions in the public square, voting for candidates and policies we think will do the most good. We love and serve our neighbors through our political voice, including voting, writing letters and emails to people in office, and urging our governmental officials to do what is good and right.
Third, we pray for our nation and all its people, including those who hold elective and appointed office. They are trying to do a very difficult thing. The leaders need wisdom, courage, endurance, and conviction. So do the people they lead. Hardship will not be eliminated.
Finally, as we see our world is full of dissent and strife, we put on the armor of God. We defend ourselves and others, using truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and the helmet of salvation. In Ephesians these are all defensive weapons. They are God's means of protection for us and for those around us in times of hardship. We also speak the truth of God, His Word, which is the sword of the Spirit. It can kill evil. It can hold enemies hostage. It can cause people to lay down their arms and surrender to God's will, which is for the eternal salvation of all who will believe.
We don't put our hope in elections. We put our hope in God. He is the one who can really rescue us.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
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