"Take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one." - Ephesians 6:16b
Paul wants us to "put on the armor of God."
How does that feel to you?
Does God want us at war?
Does God need us to take on the role of aggressor, sacking our foes?
Or: is Paul acknowledging that the battle already exists?
Sometimes it is easy for me to forget that most people in this world are, in one way or another, experiencing war—many living directly on battlefields. For war to feel distant or strictly conceptual—as it has, at least, for me—is the height of privilege.
Paul is acknowledging to the community in Ephesus that he understands their intimacy with violence. His hope is that, when they have nothing else, their faith will shield them from ultimate harm. That gift of grace says God will shield the part of you that no one can reach. God will witness the violence you have known. God will bring you peace.
O God, be my witness, my shield, my hope in times of trial. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.