SUIT UP

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Ready?  Let’s Suit up!

*CLOMP THUD CLOMP THUD*

I apologize for the racket.

I’m making a little more noise than usual as I walk around today.

Typically, I’ll just wear regular clothes, but today, I feel the need…

for the Armor of God.

Know what I’m talking about?  Read it here from Ephesians.

Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Ephesians 6:13-17

Yep.  So I’ve got my great big Belt of Truth on.  It’s got a gigantic buckle with a dove on it.  Very disco, if you ask me.

And I’ve got a big ole breastplate of Righteousness. (With a giant “R” on it, of course)

Next, I’ve got some huge clunking gospel boots for some all-terrain Peace making.

Oh, and don’t forget my shield.  I’ve never actually tried to intercept a flaming arrow before, but I can attest that this shield of Faith is heavy duty.

Then I’ve got my classy helmet of Salvation, decorated in rhinestones and cubic zirconia.

And last but not least, my sword of the Spirit.  It’s not really very sharp, but it gleams a brilliant white light.

Whew.

Do you know how many thrift stores and Renaissance festivals I had to go to get all this stuff?

To be honest, it’s hard for me to even type out this devotion, with all the gear I’m carrying today.

Actually, I seem to be chafing a little bit.

And I’m quite hot.

Hang on…

Upon further reading, I think this passage is supposed to be a metaphor.

In other words, we can carry Truth, Peace, Righteousness, Faith and Spirit with us, all with no hindrance.

Just because the Armor of God isn’t made out of metal, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Each morning when you get dressed, it can be a part of your wardrobe.

Can you imagine the benefits?

All you have to do is pay attention to what you’re putting on.

Ready?

Let’s SUIT UP!

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Even a Xenophobe’s got to eat.

In Overland Park, KS, there are two stores next to each other along a strip mall.

One is a Korean restaurant, and next to it is a Middle Eastern Market and Cafe.

How about that?  Korea and the Middle East.  Sounds like something off of the nightly news.  Tense situations happening to foreigners in foreign lands.

And yet, here these two places sit, side by side near my own neighborhood, ready to serve.

* * *

Are you familiar with xenophobia?  It’s a human condition, but an irrational one, where people are afraid of people who seem foreign or different from ourselves.

It may be that all of us have some level of xenophobia within us.  Perhaps it’s some evolved protection trait, I don’t know.

Nowadays it may manifest in that brief uncomfortable moment when the person at the checkout stand has a different color skin.  Or maybe the startled reflex you stifle when you realize the two men sitting in your row at church are actually a gay couple.

It may be the instant stereotype you wish wouldn’t come to your mind when you see someone wearing a turban at your airport gate.

This fear of people different from us has caused centuries of war, slavery, hatred, and racism. That’s what fear does, after all.  It devours your common sense and your compassion.

Well I’d like to propose one cure for when Xenophobia starts to eat your lunch:

Eat back.

* * *

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This dish is called Bibimbap (pronounced pibimpap).  It’s a stone bowl filled with rice and then topped with fresh vegetables, meat, and an egg.  It all gets mixed up with a spicy sauce.  The version I love is called dolsot Bibimbap.  The stone bowl is heated, and the rice and veggies get sizzling hot. It’s amazing. I ask for extra sauce because I like some heat.

When I sit in this restaurant (Chosun Korean BBQ, if you’re hungry) I do not fear what is foreign to me, I celebrate what is new to me.

* * *

dolma

The Middle Eastern market next door has row after row of unfamiliar items.  Pastry cookies stuffed with dates.  Bottles of blueberry juice.  Fresh pomegranates. Giant freshly braked flatbreads.

I bought a can of dolmas, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice and various seasoning.  I was serving communion the next night, so I bought some fresh pita bread and a bottle of grape juice.  We also purchased some creamy hummus from the cafe.

When I shop in this market (Shahrazad Cafe and Market, if you’re hungry) I do not fear what is foreign to me, I celebrate what is new to me.

* * *

People are always saying the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Could it be true?  Perhaps so, in my case.

But I have found that the more I am hungry for righteousness in this world, the less I am willing to let xenophobia rule the way I live.

Instead, I find myself more willing to try something new…

And try to love someone new.

Have a great week,

Mitch

Election Night Drinking Game

Now, you wouldn’t think a good Christian devotion like this would offer a drinking game.

Think again, my friends!

It’s been a long, painful election season.  No matter who gets elected, just about everyone has been bruised by our political process this time around.

So grab a glass of your favorite sparkling fruit juice, root beer, or ice cold tap water, and play along!

HERE ARE THE RULES:

1.  Whenever your home state is mentioned on TV, take a drink.

2.  Whenever a swing state is decided, take a drink.

3.  Whenever the phrase “electoral college” is mentioned, take a drink.

4. Whenever a local, state, or national concession speech is made, take a drink.

5.  After every trip to the bathroom (you’ll be drinking a lot), take a drink.

6. Before you go to bed, pray this prayer:

God of all people, your Son Jesus told us that those who are thirsty for righteousness are blessed.  May all our newly elected officials thirst for righteousness.  May all those who were defeated tonight thirst for righteousness.  May all who voted, and all who didn’t, thirst for righteousness.  We pray this for your sake, and for the sake of our world.  Through Jesus, who offers us Living Water, AMEN.

Have a great next four years,

Mitch