Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
I prepared this reflection a day after my birthday. I’ve reached that time of life where birthdays seem more of a countdown that a milestone! The sense of urgency to make the most of what’s left is exacerbated by friends’ talk of bucket lists and carpe diem. Paul also conveys a sense of urgency in his words in Romans 13 as there was an expectation that the Second Coming was imminent, and was getting closer by the day … and so we are urged to ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’.
It appears that the practical teaching given to converts in the Early Church was designed to be easily memorised, like a simple form of catechism. To ‘put on’ is one such memorable catchphrase which encouraged early Christians to behave like, or copy, Jesus. Out of interest, and remembering my little grey catechism I had as a boy growing up in the Catholic church, I searched for the latest catechism. This is no longer a document meant for easy memorization: it is 1425 pages long! Let us retain and enjoy the simplicity of Paul’s message, which after all is credited with initiating Augustine’s conversion. Go on, put on the Lord Jesus Christ again, before the countdown ends!
Father God, we do have a natural tendency to over-complicate things. We confess that we take your simple message of love and encase it in frills and wrappers that disguise its truth and distract us from its purpose. We pray that you will give us the wisdom to be simple, and the focus to be effective as we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Alan Yates, Immediate Past Moderator of General Assembly and Convenor of the Education & Learning Committee.
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