Year B - Pentecost +13 or Energy to Witness 13
August 26, 2015
This passages gives some hints at a common phenomenon in religious work—accuse and whine.
Up to this point Ephesians might be said to rely on a realized eschatology that “victory” is already won, wholeness and health is assured.
Now we get what some have called a general’s call to battle based on other similar historic calls. We are to strike out, crusade style, to make prisoners of conscience. Armor is a place of safety from which we raid weaker unarmed people, seen as less than civilized or human for they are not us. We go forth to accuse them of being incompatible with G*D. Just the putting on of these garments of war is expected to have power to destroy something called evil (weeds in a field, Jesus would have us leave alone until some harvest time?). “Victory” must be ever won—we have entered a never-ending war.
First we move from a trust that G*D prevails to that not being so sure and we we need to put a final nail in some proverbial Schrödinger's coffin that may or may not have “Evil” dead within it.
Then we find our general is already in chains, a pre-martyr, a willing martyr. And we have shifted into a state of being warred against. It is easy to shift an affirmation into a whine when the affirmation we want to see win the day is in the least way questioned. Supposedly armored Christians in our day are quick to shift from bold declaration able to take death in stride to complaining that there is a war against Christians in the most Christian-affirming country.
To need prayers continuing immediately after a call to arms keeps the whole realized eschatology of the first five-plus chapter anxious. Is it true? Can we proceed without constraining armor never ready for a next development in offensive weaponry? Is faith reliant upon debate rhetoric that can dismantle others and incontrovertibly make my point? Does love need to prevail to be love?
How does this passage sound if put in the voice of resigning disciples, rocky Peter, or realistic Jesus?