Community Post – 28 May 2020
It was lovely to hear CoStA member Olive Malcolm talking about the career of the first abbot of Malmesbury, the pioneering 7th century church planter and evangelist St Aldhelm in Sunday’s online service. The interview had to be cut slightly for the service because of time constraints, but if you would like to see it in full, it is now posted on the Abbey’s YouTube channel and here it is:
Community Post – 24 April 2020
The Armour of God – Ephesians 6: 10-20
This reflection was inspired by the New Testament reading at Morning Prayer on St George’s Day, 23 April 2020 – Ephesians 6:10-20. We all grew up with the legend of St George and the Dragon, and with pictures of St George as a medieval knight on horseback. But the real George was a Roman soldier, a member of the Emperor Diocletian’s Praetorian Guard. He would have worn the sort of armour that provides the imagery for Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 6.
George was a Christian convert who was tortured and killed for refusing to renounce his faith. We remember him, not because he fought a dragon, but because he stood firm in his beliefs even in pain and death. We have no way of knowing what scriptures were dear to St George, but Paul’s words to the Ephesians, about the need to in the face of multiple threats, and his use of military imagery, might well have resonated with him as a soldier.
Paul’s words about the spiritual armour of God, and the protection which it provides against foes seen and unseen, can encourage us as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you reflect on Ephesians 6:10-20, you might like to consider the following questions:
Four times in verses 11-14 Paul urges his readers to stand firm. What helps you to maintain stability in challenging times?
Which piece of the armour of God do you feel you need most at the moment?
In verses 18-20 Paul urges all kinds of prayers. Take time now to pray about the battles you, and those known to you, are fighting at the moment.
Further reading on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: Practise Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing up in Christ by Eugene Peterson, Hodder and Stoughton 2010
Eternal God, We praise You that through Your grace we can have confidence in our salvation. Help us to grow up in Christ, living lives of truth and integrity, grounded in the Gospel, so that we may have the shield of a well-understood faith.Give us the right words to say, and make us steadfast encouragers of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Above all us, give us that readiness to bring good news, to proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, to proclaim salvation, We ask all these things in the precious Name of Jesus, Amen
God of hosts,
who so kindled the flame of love
in the heart of your servant George
that he bore witness to the risen Lord
by his life and by his death:
give us the same faith and power of love
that we who rejoice in his triumphs
may come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
This traditional hymn is traditionally associated with St Patrick, rather than St George, but the words seem appropriate for the theme
I hope you have found these resources helpful. May God bless you as you seek to follow Him in these difficult days.