Having recently finished Ephesians, armor and war have been on the brain, especially the analogies we make about war. There was a time when war involved the entire populace, not just the soldier. Everyone sacrificed. Wars have always been paid for by the sacrifice of lives. However, there was a reason home was referred to as another front. Goods and conveniences were sacrificed on the homefront to support the battlefront. We no longer feel the extent of this as we once did. There are no bond drives that cause the populace to directly pay and truly realize the financial cost of war. Agriculture and industry no longer transforms, and neither does its workers. The soldier no longer goes off to fight and possibly die knowing the homefront is sacrificing as well– fully behind his effort with their every effort.
The tragedy? In lieu of sacrificing we haven’t even achieved John Adam’s desire to study war that his sons could study math and philosophy so their children could study painting, poetry, music, and architecture. Rather, we seem to have exchanged our study of war to achieve poetry in the form of incoherent narcissistic texts posted on Twitter from an iPhone.
To understand Paul’s analogy at the end of his letter to the Ephesians requires a breakdown of the Roman soldier’s armor and its uses. This is understandable since we no longer have Centurions walking among us. However, the spiritual battle that requires the need for us to put on the full armor of God may in this age need further clarification. Much of us know not the true nature and fear of war as a privileged and protected society. Rather than transforming our lives because a war is raging we offer little to no sacrificial change in our lives. Sadly, much of what can be said of our current society regarding war can be said of much of the current church regarding its war.
The truly frightening thing? The war which Paul speaks constantly rages around us. The enemy has powers beyond that of man. Having lost sight of what it means to sacrifice on the homefront is a tragedy, for we aren’t even afforded a remote battlefront in this war. The fight is at our doorstep, no, right in our very homes. We are in enemy territory, constantly surrounded– broken relationships, lies, immorality, greed. The consequence in losing this battle is much greater than any war we can imagine taking place on this earth. In prayer we strap on the full armor of God, and prayer should be our cadence. While the war rages we place our hope in the same power that rose Christ from the dead. We have hope, for there will come a day when the war will end, we can take off the armor, and we will be home.