Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Today’s devotion is a gift of a friend, Rev. Ben A David Hensley. Ben travelled with several busloads of us to the State Capitol on Advocacy Day. He lobbied in favor of our transgender siblings in Christ who face discrimination almost daily. I’ve come to value his Christ-like heart and many talents as a recently ordained associate minister of a sister United Methodist congregation.
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley, Pastoral Counselor
"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." Ephesians 6:10-17
A Word of Hope
Powers and Principalities
This passage in Ephesians, known for its images of virtues like righteousness as pieces of armor we wear in defense against evil, is one I remember learning about as a child growing up. Later in life, I never understood what "cosmic powers of this present darkness" really were, and had a hard time believing that I NEEDED any armor.
This state of mind reminds me of the cleverness of C.S. Lewis in his book, "The Screwtape Letters," where a member of “hell's upper bureaucracy” (lowerarchy) advises a demon named Wormwood on effective ways to lead a young man to hell rather than salvation. In one letter, Screwtape advises Wormwood, "... the safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
It's easy to ignore evil for what it is, especially when it is embedded in everything. Evil isn't wielding a pitchfork and horns. Evil shows up in the things we admire and enjoy. And evil can subvert how we celebrate Christmas.
In what ways have we been led to obsess over the traditions (presents, parties, obligatory charitable-giving) of Christmas in lieu of remembering that it is one of our most important stories as Christians? How are we led to forget about refugee children when Jesus himself was a refugee child? How are we led to forget about our neighbors who are in need when Jesus' family was denied their basic needs when Jesus was born?
Protecting God, deliver me from temptation and keep me from the time of trial. I need you in my life as a bulwark against fear. Amen.
Devotion Guest Author
Rev. Ben A. David Hensley