By Ken Asel
A Reading from Ephesians 6:10-24
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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. 13 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. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 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. 19Pray 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, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
To put on the full armor of God, we need each other. It isn’t a solo act. How will we do it in the coming years?
It has been now some fifty years since I entered seminary. Where the school was located there were four Episcopal congregations in the town: one was “low church”; one Anglo-Catholic; another consisted primarily of Anglicans from Africa and the Caribbean; the remaining one, “broad church.” We were required to attend each parish at least once before we settled in. Over seminary breakfast it was common to have heated arguments around which congregation was a reflection of true Anglicanism. (First year seminarians are experts of many things.)
Much has changed. Several of these four churches have closed at least temporarily, the Anglo-Catholic parish has a female rector, and the multicultural parish has more fully embraced its heritage.
What other change will we see in the coming years?
Loren Mead, founder of the Alban Institute, spent much of his professional life imagining The Once and Future Church. To Mead, “everything is outreach.” Whether in soup kitchens, after-school tutorial programs, lessons and carols, or Christmas midnight Mass, every activity of every parish must somehow reflect the Word of God to a secular and often estranged populace. But Mead was not the sole innovator. Even John Donne believed the task of the Church is to be visible to the world.
Might Christians, Protestant and Catholic, Eastern and Western, and all kinds of Anglicans, yet be transformed into a vibrant beloved community mutually caring for the forgotten and left behind, rooted in the love of God? To quote Dean Alan Jones once again, “Right believing results in the development of a certain kind of character. … Worship (especially the Eucharist) and prayer are central in this understanding of orthodoxy. Faith in the end, isn’t argument; it’s adoration.”
“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie & he have been married 30 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Akot (South Sudan)
All Souls’ Church, Oklahoma City, Okla.