“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (Reference: 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 )
Do you remember, beloved, from yesterday where I talked about the use of dark/light as a metaphor for good and evil? And that the historic Anabaptist for that day did not that metaphor? There is a reason, and today’s editorial word from the editors of Reading the Anabaptist Bible make note of it. They said, “Some reproached the Anabaptists for meeting in secret, as if they were committing shameful acts “in the dark,” and cited these words from 1 Thessalonians.” Dirk Philips responded to that accusation carefully explaining that the light meant is the Divine Word of God and that Word shows what is evil and what is good. Those who do evil hide from that light, knowing that God will show what shameful things they do.
It was a very unfair accusation to make because the historic Anabaptists hid their worship not because of shame but because of fear. Fear that they would be hunted down, arrested, tortured and killed! The established church of the time conveniently “forgot” that early church worshipers had to hid too. Paul-who-was-Saul hunted them down before his conversion.
The writer of 1 Thessalonians does not stop at one metaphor but uses another one that is sometimes just as confusing – putting on “armor” as a way of preparing to live a good Christian life – faith, love, and the hope of salvation are imaged as armaments that are put on to combat the darkness of drunkenness, ignorance and sin. Historic Anabaptist held peace as a tenet of faith as strongly as their other beliefs. So when they used metaphors of armor they made very clear what was meant. That it is Christian virtues that are put on to defend one from evil and sin, and to be protected by God’s power and strength.
May you beloved keep clear in your own mind what is correct and good to in your Christian journey. And may you walk in the path that is shown to us by the light of Christ’s teachings. Selah!