Weighed Down

“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:11

“Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.’ So David removed them.” – 1 Samuel 17:38-39

Truth? You want me to wear truth?
That’s a heavy burden to carry on the belt.
My hips are groaning just to think
of carrying the truth. I cannot walk with these.

Righteousness? You want me to wear righteousness,
to face the world with generosity presented
as my face? I can’t imagine feeling any more
vulnerable than that. I cannot walk with these.

Faith? You want me to bear faith?
I tell that, as bucklers go, faith wears a little thin.
The barbed and flaming arrows pierce it through
even as I strain to lift it. No; I cannot walk with these.

Salvation? You want me to wear salvation?
This one sounds good, I grant you, but it bows the head.
I’d rather revel in my sovereignty than yours,
which makes me bow. I cannot walk with these.

The hardest of all to wear are the shoes
that make me ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
Where might they take me? Into what risks?
And what protection do they offer? None.

No and no and no. I cannot walk with these.

And yet… I try.

A poem/prayer based on Ephesians 6:10-20, the Revised Common Lectionary Second Reading for Year B, Proper 16 (21).

The image is Philistine Shields and Spears from The pictorial Bible and commentator: presenting the great truths of God’s word in the most simple, pleasing, affectionate, and instructive manner, by Ingram Cobbin, Daniel March, L. P. Brockett, and Hesba Stretton. Image obtained through the Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14763830682/ Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/pictorialbibleco00cobb/pictorialbibleco00cobb#page/n301/mode/1up, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43907449.

2 thoughts on “Weighed Down

  1. I so appreciate this reflection as I struggle with next weeks sermon (after 14 weeks in one church a new one this week) You bring me back to being serious. OK this passage with Psalms 84 has so far generated the title: Birds in Church and the Sunscreen of God. You can see I need some of your serious.

    • I’m not sure, Maren. It’s more than possible that I need some of your whimsey. Can we swap some?

      BTW, I’ve literally had to show a songbird the church door in the last few weeks and my dermatologist has once more directed me to wear daily sunscreen, so your title works pretty well for me.

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