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Put on the armor of God

One of our longest hymns is St. Patrick's breastplate, which begins "I bind unto myself today...." It is often sung at ordinations. It is seven verses long. It is a variation of an ancient Celtic practice of getting dressed in Christ. As people put on whatever they were going to wear that day, they were intentional of adorning themselves with the presence of Christ. It is an ancient practice worth preserving The hymn derives from the Celts -- and I suspect they got it from Paul: "Put on the whole armor of God." (Ephesians 6:11) This is not preparation for war, but is an admonition to be prepared for the struggle "against the rules, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (6:12) It's a tough world out there, and we had better be ready. Fasten the belt of truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, put on your feet whatever you need to proclaim the gospel of peace. Take the shield of faith, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6: 14-17) Get dressed. Be ready. The world needs our witness -- to grace, to hope, to peace -- to Christ's glory.


Dearly Beloved,

I love St. Patrick's Breastplate. It conjures an image of a Pentecostal Baptism, a total immersion in the love, light and truth of the Holy Spirit.

St. Patrick is bound in unity with Christ. This unity is central to the wellness of his spiritual condition and wholeness as a functioning human being. St. Patrick's Breastplate is more then protective armor. It seems more like an epidural layer of skin that allows the exchange of spiritual energy between St. Patrick and his higher power. This two way exchange is a transcendent flow of spiritual energy that breaths life into St, Patrick, energizing his daily walk and life in Christ.

God is not a sequestered remote deity but an omnipotent force that fills the universe that St. Patrick inhabits. Christ beside me, Christ in front of me, Christ behind me, Christ within me reveals a spiritual being perfectly centered, completely swaddled by the loving grace of the Holy Spirit.

St. Patrick understands his relationship with Christ is more then a walk. God is the other half of St. Patrick's heartbeat. He is bound through God to all creatures and all creation as one in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Wishing all blessed Christmastide as we offer the Lord's Peace and our prayers to all God's Beloved.



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