Preparation: Have a bag with a hat labeled “salvation,” a vest labeled “righteousness,” a belt labeled “truth,” and a cardboard shield labeled “faith.” Have a Bible on hand as well.
Faith + Open: Invite the younger members (or the young at heart!) to a gathering space. Say, “I see that you are all wearing shoes and clothes today! Why do we wear shoes and clothing? Especially maybe a coat when it is cold or raining? (Accept all answers) Right we wear these things to protect our feet from the ground or our skin from the sun or from freezing temperatures! Shoes and clothes help us to be not only comfortable but safe and able to move around outside and do things that need to get done.
Faith + Share: Paul in a letter to some people in Ephesus talked about wearing some things that he called the “armor of God.” Does anyone know what armor does? (You may need to offer examples of medieval knights or police officers/firefighters.) Yes, armor protects our bodies. Paul here is talking about armor that protects our hearts so that we can talk about God to everyone we meet. Now I need a volunteer-begin to “dress” the young person-here is a belt. What word is on it? Truth. When we remember that the truth of God is that God loves us and everyone else we act loving to everyone we meet! Here is a vest-Paul uses the word “breastplate”-something that covers your body. It has the word righteousness on it. Righteousness is a long word that means we try to follow Jesus every day of our lives by loving God and our neighbors as best we can. Then we have a shield that has the word “faith” on it. Faith is a gift from God that keeps us close to God and helps us to remember that God is with us always. Let’s see, this hat has the word “salvation” one it. Salvation is another long word that tells us that Jesus died on the cross so that we can live with God forever, and we don’t have to worry about being separated from God ever! These are all pretty good things that help to us to know that God is with us always. But I think to wear them all the time would get cumbersome. You know, Paul also talks about the “word of God” which is what? The Bible that’s right! The Bible talks about all of these things (point to the clothes) and that God’s truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation are with us always and keep us close to God.
Sometimes we may not feel close to God but Paul says to pray all the time and for everything that happens in our life, good and bad. God hears our prayers and protects our hearts with faith, salvation, righteousness, truth and most importantly, love.
Faith + Prayer: Let’s pray: “God you are with us always. Thank you for giving us what we need to love you with our whole heart. We want to share your love with everyone we meet so that they know that you protect their hearts no matter what too! In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.