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August 2012

Dodging the Arrows

Pentecost Proper 16

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: Eph. 6:10-20 

Preparation: You might bring an arrow or a picture of a soldier’s shield and armor to illustrate your talk.

Do you sometimes hear about wars that are being fought in our world today? (Let children respond.) It’s always sad to hear that a war is going on somewhere, but wars have been fought for a long time. Even two thousand years ago, when Jesus was walking around here on earth, people were fighting wars. They didn’t have guns, fighter jets, or bombs back then, but they did have other weapons that could hurt people.

Arrows were a weapon soldiers used long ago. If an army attacked a walled city, the city had archers stand along the top of its walls and shoot arrows down on the attacking soldiers. Sometimes the archers set their arrows on fire, and the soldiers down below would have to dodge fiery arrows.

If you were one of those soldiers below the city wall, you would have to run or jump out of the way to avoid being hit by an arrow. If you had a shield, you could hold it up to protect yourself. Back then, some shields were so big they covered you completely. A soldier would have a shield made for him that fit him perfectly. If arrows were zooming toward the soldier, he could step behind his shield and be protected.

There were other pieces of armor that a soldier could wear to protect himself. He could wear a wide belt to protect his stomach, an arrow-proof vest across his chest, and a metal helmet to protect his head. But a big shield was one piece of armor that could protect the soldier from head to toe.

There is a Bible verse in Ephesians, chapter 6, that talks about putting on every piece of God’s armor to protect us against evil and the power of the devil. The Bible says, “In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan” (v. 16 nlt).

What kind of fiery arrows do you think Satan tries to shoot at us? They are arrows that we can’t see. They are things that can hurt our friendship with God and with other people. (Let children discuss.) Satan’s “arrows” might be bad or angry thoughts that the devil tries to put into our heads. They might be temptations to take something that isn’t ours. They might even be bad words that we suddenly feel like saying but know we shouldn’t.

Those fiery arrows might sound scary, but remember that God has given each one of you a shield of faith. Believing in Jesus protects you. It protects you from harmful thoughts and actions. If you remain under the protection of the shield that Jesus gives, the arrows of Satan can never harm you. You are safe in the power of God.

Prayer:  Almighty God, thank you for protecting us from evil. Keep our faith shields strong.

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