Cambridge terms run for 8 weeks, Thursday-Wednesday, and people here often keep track of where they are in term by marking the fact that we are ‘near the end of Week 1’ etc. There is also the notoriety of the ‘Week 5 blues’ – supposedly because most people are worn out by that point in the term, but find themselves only at the half-way point.
Last term, to make the way we relate to the different weeks a little more positive, Siân and I named the weeks by different fruits of the spirit. This term, the weeks are named after ‘the armour of God’, which can be found in Ephesians 6.
Rachel – a new race to run
This week I have been thinking what salvation means for my everyday.
Where I have put myself in the place of God, exalting myself and putting my desires first, the source of my salvation is God putting Himself in the place of humankind, lowering himself so that we can be exalted.
This is not the exaltation of this world, which says ‘run this race to get to the top, protect yourself, if you don’t do so, who will?’ This is the exaltation of a new world and creation, which says ‘cease to race, for the true winner of this race has already won and gifted the prize to you’.
Part of salvation in the everyday is rejoicing that the race to the top that this world offers is not the only option. Hallelujah, for that world has never got me very far.
Part of salvation in the everyday is also learning what it is to run a different sort of race.
When we put on the helmet of salvation, we declare that we are living and running for new reasons. Salvation is working itself within us. We do not live and run in our own strength but look to Jesus who has run the new race before us, living to serve others.
When the world says ‘cling tight’ to possessions, skills, talents, status, honour, acclaim, praise, we who are running this new race take our cue to let go and forsake all. We boast in weakness because weakness is no longer a source of shame. We know that worth and strength and satisfaction are not found in job titles or the things we buy or the places we live. It is not found in instagram followers, the quality of our clothing, Oscar awards, bank balances, successful relationships.
Salvation is a topsy-turvy race backwards. Where first is last and last is first. Where the poorest of all will inherit the earth. Where the weakest find strength, and joy awaits those who mourn. It is the sermon-on-the-mount race of life that I want to be living out. It is all pointed to in looking at Jesus on the cross. Salvation. Heaven on Earth.
So this week I have rejoiced in the offer of a different sort of race to run, and spent another week of my life learning how to run it.
I put on the helmet of salvation.
Reflect – some questions:
- What are you living for?
- If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? Is that thing found in the race to the top that this world encourages?
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.