On this Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost we will explore the closing verses of the Letter to the Ephesians. The imagery in our reading is most often associated with the Roman Army, yet the author takes images of war and turns them into the strength and protection of God's Spirit for Christians. We will explore how this imagery works (or doesn't work) to help us imagine how God is with us in our lives of spreading the grace and mercy of the Good News of Christ.
Our Scripture passage is found in the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Ephesians 6:10-20).
For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):
Read the assigned Scripture passage from the closing chapter of the Letter to the Ephesians; reflect on the imagery of the Scripture and consider any thoughts or reactions you might have regarding the author's use of items normally reserved for the military.
After reading the "WHAT..." paragraph in the guide below, consider actions you and others might take in your lives that effectively cause you to "preach and live the Gospel" - how do these actions make you vulnerable? How does the fact that these words were inspired by the Apostle Paul, who was sitting in prison, impact your answer?
After reading the "WHERE..." paragraph below, reflect on the words of the Scripture lesson and imagine you are one of the early Christians in Ephesus: how might the first century context of this lesson (with Roman soldiers everywhere) change your hearing of the lesson; and how does this lesson teach that the gospel of peace is shared through the people, who are given spiritual protection through "armor" and "shields?"
After reading the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below, consider the lives of the people listed in the paragraph, and reflect on your own life - what might be the "spiritual armor" that you possess in your life to help you lead a Christian life with joy and confidence?