Reflection: Sunday 22nd August and for the week ahead:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power: put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For 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. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6.10-15)
In these Covid-dominated times we have all become familiar with ‘PPE’, the Personal Protective Equipment donned by health workers, visitors to care homes, dentists, and others . Its purpose is to protect the wearer from being exposed to the invisible but potentially deadly virus that has changed life for all of us in ways that we could never have imagined.
So it is not hard for us to understand Paul when he speaks of spiritual forces of evil and cosmic powers of darkness, invisible, like the virus , but deadly in their ability to spread malice, hatred and fear.
The Personal Protection that Paul describes is not a plastic apron, but the conscious exercise of the Christian virtues: truth, righteousness, faith, prayer... These both protect us against the unseen ‘virus’ of evil, and help to prevent its spread.