If you have read my recent ramblings, you will know I have been mulling over what I should do with the Ephesians 6 'gospel armour' passage. After a re-write, I think I now have an acceptable sermon - though I can see all the holes in it and the vast omissions/assumptions that are needed if anyone is going to deal with it in 20 mins.
As I pondered the images of the Roman soldier and the Aaronic priest I found myself wondering what might be contemporary parallels and realised that what is being described (in Ephesians anyway) is tantamount to what is nowadays called 'Personal Protective Equipment' or PPE. In my industry days it was hard hats & toe-tectors (shoes with steel toe caps), for police officers it is stab vests and perhaps riot shields, for medics its gloves, gowns and masks - the list was endless.
I suppose I was struck by how much is, in principle the same as for the Roman soldier - no loose, flapping clothes, vital organs covered, sensible shoes and head covering. In many roles there are equivalents to the shield - even if it is as much about distance as a physcial barrier and all have something akin to a sword if you define this as the item needed to take action to complete the task - a surgeon's scalpel, a tree surgeon's chain saw, a mechanic's spanner (engineers do NOT mend cars or washing machines!), even a cook's rolling pin?!
OK so none of these civilian roles quite fits the idea of the spiritual battle in Ephesians 6 (except perhaps a police officer in riot gear) but it was fun looking for parallels and wondering just what might be an appropriate, 21st century image. 'Put on the toque of salvation' or 'the clogs of the gospel of peace' doesn't quite have the same ring as the original (to say nothing of the 'foundation garments of truth'!!!) but I can't help wondering if by relating the 'armour' to the PPE of real life occupations, there is potential to make the whole thing more relevant to people who seek to address the issues and evils they perceive in their very much contemporary, earthly, lives.