The pandemic has had a definite impact on my wardrobe. And it wasn’t just the pandemic. Transitioning from hospice chaplaincy, where I always needed to wear slacks and closed toe shoes, to local church pastoring in Pacific Beach, the promised land of shorts and flip flops, shifted my attire in some significant and wonderful ways! And as we have been moving out of pandemic lock down mode over these last months, as I’ve begun to attend a few social functions, I find myself more frequently asking this age old question: What should I wear?
Our reading from Ephesians is a good indicator that this truly MAY be an age old question! The author talks about this very thing…what we should wear. Granted, they’re not talking about what we should wear to church or work or the grocery store. Rather the focus is on what we should wear, how we should clothe ourselves, for “battle” against the struggles we face. This passage is moving for some and troubling for others with its warrior imagery. We’ll spend time this Sunday exploring this text in relation to the last of the “Jesus as bread of life” texts from the Gospel of John.
My invitation to you…put on whatever makes you happy, comfortable and feel like you and join us for worship at 10:00 in the sanctuary. OR stay at home in your comfiest pajamas and tune in to the livestream. We are hard at work to bring the livestream back up to full speed. If you are worshipping from home, know that on Sunday morning there are many folks present in the sanctuary focused on making worship accessible for those who need or choose to stay at home. Hang in there with the hiccups and glitches…we are working hard to include our whole community, in the sanctuary and well beyond our walls.
Beginning this Sunday, childcare will be available for pre-school and elementary age children. More info will be coming soon regarding Sunday School in September. We continue to wear masks, physically distance and HUM along with the singing of our song leaders in order to create a safe and comfortable space for all. COVID guidelines are printed in the bulletin and updated as needed. And just as we’re figuring out in person worship in the sanctuary, we received great news that our Labor of Love renovation project is ready to begin! Construction will necessitate worshipping in Hughes Hall for approximately six weeks. While this may be a bit of a challenge and inconvenience, it is the WONDERFUL kind of challenge as we see the light at the end of the tunnel of this long awaited project. Stay tuned for more information about our temporary transition to Hughes Hall.
May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us in these unusual times and may we be instruments of God’s peace, justice and mercy in our own unique and beautiful ways. Be well, care for one another and see you in church on Sunday!
Ephesians 6:10-20 (NRSV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
John 6:56-69 (NRSV)
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Questions for Reflection:
- What have been your favorite “dress up” outfits or costumes?
- What do you make of or how do you understand the warrior image related to our Christian life?
- What are your unique “struggles” in the Christian life? How do you feel and/or what are your thoughts about ways in which we struggle with forces of evil?
- How have others tried to “clothe” you in things you’d rather not wear? What is your vision of how God chooses to clothe you/us?