Sunday, September 1, 2013

what to wear.

Today was the last of four Sundays in Ephesians. The author, probably one of Paul's friends or students, ends the letter by encouraging believers to "go all in". Discipleship is not like an Old Country Buffet where you pick and choose your carbs. It's not like designing a new laptop on Dell.com, customizable and tailored to your liking.

It is like full body armor you shlep around. It is like a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, shoes made for walking, a shield of faith, and a helmet of salvation. It is like a sword of the Spirit, which you steward - the sword of scripture and the Story that knits us together with promises from God.

You don't just wear the belt because it's light and fashionable. Or the helmet because it's sunny out. You don't hide the sword when it gets inconvenient to be proactive and proclaiming. The author tells us to put it all on because we never know what we'll need. The future is unknown, but God gives us the armor to weather challenges and create hope. And so we take it all.

Not in a creepy "we're all drinking the Kool-aid" way. There is still a deep need for diversity and questioning, struggle and doubt. We still need to read the whole Creed and then stumble through a few lines we're not so sure about these days. Put it all on. Wrestle with it. Carry it around. Keep it all in the mix so it saturates your worries and needs and dreams.

When I received the offering plates during worship, I noticed a well-worn baggie of quarters. Laundry money. Someone had offered their funds for clean clothes and sheets and towels upon hearing this news of holy armor. Someone had offered their own armor for God's clothing.

I wept in my office a bit before heading home today, partly because I'm hormonal and partly because I'd planned to spend the afternoon doing my own laundry. In my basement. Quarter-less. I am in awe of the faith and stewardship of people at Zion. They give regularly and generously. They give faithfully and creatively. They believe in God's deep protection and provision.

I saved the baggie. It's a sign of the flimsy, but very comforting armor we create for ourselves. And it's a sign of the ways we can offer our whole selves to God's armor and shelter instead.

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