“Put on the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6.11)
In Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus he uses the metaphor, ‘the armour of God’. I will be honest and say I wish that he had come up with something less militaristic, but there is one thing I deeply appreciate about the metaphor.
Roman soldiers going into battle would be equipped with weapons and armour, such as a sword, a shield and a helmet, but these items were not the strength of their army. In the Roman legions, a significant portion of their success was attributed to the fact that the soldiers fought in lines, with each soldier protecting the soldier to his left. The true strength of the army was in its collective nature, in the fact that the soldiers could rely on their companions to protect them.
Part of what Paul is pointing to here is the need in community for us to be able to trust and rely on each other and on our leaders. I feel like a cranky old man when I say this, but I worry that modern society is losing a sense of collective responsibility, as we seem to be buying into the story that it is all about the individual, rather than a real concern for our fellow ‘soldiers’.
I had hoped, and still do, that COVID-19 has taught us about the importance of collective responsibility, especially caring for those who are vulnerable. After all, if we do not learn lessons from a virus with such wide-sweeping ramifications globally, how can we collectively face any future crises?Jump to next article