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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon

24th August 2003

Fr David Shepherd

Trinity 10

Travel for us may be something of a struggle; no trains, traffic jams, airport strikes, the usual Bank Holiday chaos. For St. Paul his travels involved a constant struggle with those in authority. The religious authorities opposed his preaching and the civil (Roman) authorities dealt with him severely whenever his activities threatened public order.

It is unsurprising that when he wrote to the Ephesians about the Christian life he spoke of a struggle against those authorities. For Paul the Christian life was not just a battle against earthly forces but also a cosmic struggle against evil.

In every city that he visited Paul saw Roman soldiers, the physical expression of Roman power. As well as being garrisoned they could also be sent relatively quickly to restore order or crush rebellion. To Paul they were a constant embodiment of his sense of spiritual oppression.

Far from being defeated by the visual signs of imperial power Paul used them for his fight. He turned the enemy's weapons back on itself. How? By telling the Ephesian Christians to 'put on the whole armour of God', thus equipping themselves for spiritual warfare. It's a familiar idea but it does us no harm to recall it once again, to look once more at the Gospel armour.

It is good to be reminded of the struggle that is the Christian life and once again to draw strength and encouragement from St. Paul's armorial picture. So we are led to pray for one another and to realise how important a weapon prayer is in the Christian warfare.


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Last updated 24/8/2003 18:00 Author: Fr David Shepherd