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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Putting on the Armor of Light

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. Amen.

The collect for the first week in Advent is very grand, taking my mind (at least) back to the 50's and 60's when there was many a Hollywood costume epic: Ben Hur, The Robe, The Silver Chalice, Cleopatra. Ones where the Roman soldiers inevitably walked around 24/7 in rubberized armor not quite head to toe (for some reason, we always saw their knees). Evenings with the History Channel on cable TV has clued me in on the reality that the armor worn "for real" was significantly more bulky, more heavy, more imposing than anything that Richard Burton was ever cinched, buttoned, zipped, snapped or squeezed into.

That armor could withstand blunt blows from sword and cudgel. It could save your life.

We live in a world where, unchecked, cruelty of many kinds can and do breed. Hatred, prejudice, slavery, exploitation or the less obvious - and more insidious - forms of cruelty in ruthless sarcasm, pettiness, half truths, quiet neglect.

This cruelty bludgeons us - with crashing blows or with relentless smaller bumps; it damages our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits.


There are actors who rely on their costume, makeup, props to get into character. In everyday life uniforms are utilized for visual recognition, as a sign of profession, for solidarity. When a police officer is about to dress for duty they prepare themselves to be identified with other police, with maintaining the public peace and safety, coming to the aid of those in need. When a monastic is about to dress in the habit of their order, they ponder taking up again the responsibilities they have to do good in this world and maintain their vows.

We could dismiss this idea of 'the armor of light' as imagery that does not correspond to life in this day and age.... or not. In pondering taking up our Christian responsibility each and every day we could just pull on our clothes, or we could think about being a representative of Christ in our day: if we give that responsibility its due, we need God's grace to set aside our cruelty, our egocentric tendencies, schemes and ploys ('the works of darkness') and don the armor of light. We need God's strength and protection in a hostile environment. Armed then with the love of God, the grace of compassion, the wisdom of truth we can represent Christ here and now. Clothed in the armor of light, let us serve him on a daily basis, walk without fear, and be easily recognized as one who follows the Lord in all things. Amen and Amen.


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