I am supposed to teach fifth and sixth graders about the Armor of God tomorrow. I wish I could teach them about the amour of God. Alas, it is not to be. The passage is as follows:
Finally. to be strong in the Lord and in the strength fo his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but it is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Therefore, take on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, stand firm. Stand therefore and fasten the belt of truth around your waist and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arows of the evil one. Take the helment of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit in all times in every prayer and supplication. Pray also for me so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly.
Yeah--spiritual warfare and sixth graders. Somehow that baffles me. They will be shaped by the ideas that I am teaching them and you want me to talk about the devil to sixth graders. How do I know that the devil hasn't already repented and asked God's forgiveness? How do I explain that there is a fight going on that we can not hear or see that is going on to steal our souls when we are dead. Both sides want the soul. Both sides don't get to keep it. Which will you choose? Yeah, I didn't like it when they taught me about it in ninth grade at Gatlinburg, I am not really sure these kids will like it at sixth grade. Especially since they are Episcopalians and this is really Baptist material: wear your armor of be taken by the devil. Yipe. It sounds even scarier out loud. In the good fashion of being a West Wing watcher, I am going to spin it.
I think rather than giving them the whole passage, I am only going to give them the armor of God part. All the devil's fight, I am going to spinout. I think we can talk about how to use the armor in our world (ie we wear the breastplate of righteousness: do the next right thing; belt of truth: we don't lie; etc). I think they can grasp the good versus evil part. We talked about that a little last year in Narnia and all of them have read Harry Potter so that's an easy analogy. Then we can talk about how we use the spiritual tools in the world so as to represent Christian values. That sounds a bit more like it. If I had had someone say hey, we tell the truth, we make ourselves ready for the day and what the world will throw at us by taking God with us through out our days, I might have not been so offended or freaked out as a youngster. They are 11. At eleven I was worried about whether or not my brother was going to get the remote on Saturday mornings when we watched cartoons. When I was eleven I was excited about being chosen as a patrol. When I was eleven, I thought my strings teacher was stupid. When I was eleven there was a lunar eclipse that we got to go out and see during our library period and all the teachers were afraid that we would look at the sun and burn out our eyes. When I was eleven I was sad that this was the last weekend the pool would be open and it meant that School was really back in session. When I was eleven, I wasn't gearing up to fight the devil. The Devil? I mean come on...that is a really big deal. I mean God is a hard enough concept to grasp, but His arch enemy? And He wants me to be ready to fight against something playing at God's level when I am eleven? I just want to run the Labor Day race with my Dad, my brother and Uncle Carter and his girls.
I hope I can teach this lesson tomorrow. It overwhelms me.