Accessorizing – that’s the image from the preaching notes that we might work with this week. The author of Ephesians wants us to realize that we are not left without resources as we seek to be made into disciples and to make disciples. In a way, this is the gear we have been “gearing up for life” throughout the series. So, what are these tools and how do we employ them in our daily lives?
The full answer to that question might more appropriately come during a Bible study or small-group effort following this worship experience. But we can provide directions and hints as we gather this week. So, look through the text and find the tools that are offered and note how they work in the life of the disciples of Jesus. Truth as a belt? Righteousness as a breastplate? How do these things function in our daily lives? These are the questions that can drive the shaping of the worship experience. (Spoiler alert: check the preaching notes for some help with this!) But the more you take the images and metaphors that make sense to you, that fit in your context, the more effective this will be for those who attend worship this week.
What songs can you sing that lift up truth and righteousness? As a part of the Methodist tradition, we are used to understanding our faith through our hymns. We can continue that tradition by singing songs like “A Mighty Fortress” or “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” (“his truth is marching on”) What prayers can we pray to help us understand salvation as something more than a ticket to heaven? This faith that impacts our daily lives, not just an hour on Sunday, is a sustaining faith; a faith worth gearing up for.
An overall message to consider is that there is help available. Don’t feel like you have to make this journey all by yourself. These are the gifts and the graces that God provides to help us along the way. And above all is the sense of community that surrounds as we seek to make use of this gear. So, a part of what we can do this week is celebrate the community who walks with us as we follow Jesus on the discipleship path. Yes, that is a common theme in this series. In fact, it could be argued it is a common theme in most worship experiences. We are here to praise God and to celebrate the community. Shifting from an individualized experience of faith to a corporate one is an important step on the path to discipleship. So, don’t ever pass up the opportunity to lift up the community as a resource for disciple making.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.