DATE: 23 August 2015

TO: Manantial de Gracia

TITLE: “What’s in YOUR Closet?”

FolktalesofSelkiesSealsSelich

What’s in YOUR Closet?”

Have you ever seen that commercial on TV or YouTube that asks “What’s in Your Wallet?” The commercials started with a bunch of larger than life Vikings that were trying to go on vacation and the only real thing holding them back was the answer to the question, what’s in your wallet? — and the answer, for them, was Capital One Credit Card!!

That has had me thinking about today’s scripture reading. Today we heard Ephesians 6: 11-17 read in both English and Spanish: Helmet of Salvation, Sword of Word, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shield of Faith, Belt of Truth, and Sandals of Peace! And like a good sarcastic fashion forward woman I wondered why these people needed to be reminded to put some close on… Oh and why so many accessories.  

And then I realized, they might have on clothes but they were not being conscience in what they wore and why.

Folklores, Legends, Fairytales, Myths

There are many legends, fairytales and folklore stories about sea creatures called mermaids. As an avid Starbucks consumer, and lover of the sea, I know that the Starbucks mermaid with her twin-tails is a siren from Norse mythology. These creatures could, for a brief time appear as humans…walking on land. But that was not their true form. If ever they got wet, they would once again become who they were. Mermaids.

In Irish/Scottish folklores, we hear tell stories of selkies. These selkies are undistinguishable from seals, or humans. They are JUST like the other. Selkies are thought to be seals that bathe in the waters around Scotland and Ireland. They are beautiful and smart creatures that seem to haunt the sea. Often sunbathing on rocks and crevices.

According to the storytellers Selkies are able to take off their body covering (sealskin), revealing underneath another aspect of their identities. Beneath their sealskin hides a human body that allows them to walk and talk and join in human relationships. But, in order to be their whole authentic true self, the human body of a selkie must once more be sealed up inside the outer garment of a seal. According to the folklore, selkies take off their sealskin and put it away in a secret place so that they can once more take on their true form.

While it might appear that these stories are simply mythological telling’s and explanations for what human kind perceives when out in the great big ocean, the sea, the beach…one might also be able to question the importance of being adorned in the right clothes for each occasion. And more importantly in knowing that regardless of what you wear or how you wear it, YOU; the authentic YOU. The true you that remains unknown to your friends, your peers, classmates, your teachers…that YOU has special armor that protects you.

Biblical Explanation

The Armor of God: The Belt of Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes for your feet, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit. The Whole Armor of God. According to J.D.G. Dunn, a Biblical Commentator, each of these pieces that make up the Armor of God has an explanation and purpose when looked at for the day the when they first came to be mentioned.  

BELT: See, clothes back in the day were long, loose and flowing and if you went into battle without a belt to hold up your gowns your might trip over your own clothes…much like what happens when you are a liar caught in a lie. So learn to be honest. Tell the truth. 

BREASTPLATE: God wants the best for us, even when it isn’t “the best” that we want for ourselves. But put your trust in God, even in the midst of the haters and the critics’. God has your back and your heart…

SHOES: A church and a people that are in motion need to wear to wear the right shoes for each situation. Keep busy, not just the mind-blowing busy that lets you binge on Netflix, but the good kind…have a mission and a purpose, that is the best form of defense against haters. Be too busy, to let them infiltrate your reality.

SHIELD: The breastplate and the shield have very similar defensive functions, both protect you from exposure, but trust can take a lot of hits. Each of those hits can leave you feeling weak and defenseless, and that is when you need your shield most of all. Turning once and again and again towards God who truly has your back!

HELMET: The helmet protects your head. When school starts again and you think you can’t keep going, the load is too heavy, your mind can learn nothing new, be secure in one truth. God is with you. And you really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

SWORD: The sword is the only defensive tool mentioned. And in this Scriptural passage it is mentioned as being both “of the Spirit” and “the Word of God” When I read the words “of the Spirit” I hear a reminder of the Holy Spirits inspirational force and energy. We can be inspired through the Word of God, if we but take the time to prayerfully read it.  

Modern Interpretation

While those images resonate with us as modern readers, I think we have to be daring and rename them. And so, here is my reminder to you, as you dress for school:

When you put on your belt, or your scarf remember to tell the truth. Be honest. Have integrity.

Each time you done your necklace, or tie remember that Jesus died a public death as a sacrifice for all creation, his love.

When you grab your shoes as you head out the door, remember that wherever you walk YOU serve as a representative of God’s love and care.

When you head out the door and put your backpack or your purse, know that God is your shield, and all you have to do is call on God when you are in need.

Your hat, your cap, your headphones and earmuffs as they protect your head and cover your ears can serve as a reminder that you are Saved. A price has been paid and you have been called BELOVED.

And that cellphone you carry, that connects you to your friends, your family, your loved ones, and all your “followers” also connects you to the Word of God. Download an App or two that can help you along on your faith journey. If you need help or suggestions, I am available to help guide you.

Conclusion

So, the question is really, what’s in YOUR closet? 

The selkies, according to legend would take off their garments and hide them. Storing them away for the next time they would don their true forms and make their way back out to the sea. They would ensure that those garments remained safe in a sacred space. If those selkies are anything like me, they store those garments in a special place within their closet… So what is in your closet that you have yet to fully take advantage of? Which of these garments and items have you yet to pull out and arm yourself with?

If we who are struggling and trying to walk according God’s will are having trouble, we must remember that “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh…” but rather against the murmurings and whispering that even our armor can’t seem to fully quiet. And it is in those moments most of all that we must take on our own true form and join our individual spirits to the God who created us. And we do that through prayer. What’s in YOUR wallet?

Let’s envision ourselves standing like the mighty Vikings, ready to go forth into battle…ready to go to work…ready to go to school…preparing for a next step. Our minds clearly hearing the murmurings, the desentors, the haters whispering about how we cant suceed, wont finish, cant make it… And at that moment, a smirk on our faces lights up the screen as one of us asks the other:

WHAT’s in YOUR closet? And the others lol as they say outloud…THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD the most important of which is prayer.

Ephesians 6: 18 says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all.” Be a prayerful person. Be a prayerful friend. Be a prayerful student. Be a prayerful boyfriend. Be a prayerful girlfriend. Be a prayerful parent. Be a prayerful spouse. Pull that piece of clothing out of your closet. Wear that piece of armor that can’t be seen or explained. Walk in full authenticity of Spirit.  

AMEN.

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