Sitting expectantly; stiff, erect posture gripping tightly to the book held at arm’s length above our heads – waiting for our cue. Sword fights were part of our Sunday school ritual. We loved them – the winners always felt so accomplished, so smart, so fast. We would wait on every syllable as the Sunday school teacher would say the verse – no one could move until the last syllable was sounded. The first one to find the verse in the bible would stand quickly and read it aloud. Sometimes there were groans if someone was a fraction of a second too late. Sometimes, if two players found the verse at the same time and stood at the same time – they would race through the verse until the end and whoever finished first was the winner. There were frequently grudges against those kids who had fancy bibles with the books labeled and indented on the side in black with gold lettering. The rest of us had to work harder.
I would revel in the envious and admiring glances of my fellow students when I was first and stood to read – smug in my proficiency. And, watched longingly, enviously when someone else was faster than I.
Sword fights were hands-down, the best part of Sunday school.
And they should have been – they were the most important.
The objects of the sword fight were to 1) remind you that the little book you held in your hands was a weapon. 2) What you learned in it could protect you. 3) There would be fights where you would need what was in it. And, 4) to help us to learn the word of God.
The pastor’s sermon this morning was on Knowing Your Weapon. It was the latest in a series about the armor of God. When we know our weapon like a soldier knows his, it’s ready when it’s needed.
And I know from experience that this is true.
The number of times when bible verses popped into my head when I needed guidance, comfort, or strength has proven to me the faithfulness of God. But, like any school subject, it’s no good to have the textbook in your locker if you haven’t studied what’s inside – it certainly won’t help you on a test.
So… Get your swords out!
Ephesians 6: 10-17
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.