This term, one of my collegues and I have been nurturing a new homegroup.
Back in our Summer for our Reader Training module on Faith and Daily Life, we each had to run a 6 week study course, and after it, many of those who participated asked if they could form a permanent group.
Many of them have been involved in homegroups in the past and for various personal reasons there lives have changed to make that commitment difficult for a period of time. A particular issue was that many evening groups run on Wednesday’s in our parish and most of these people can’t meet on Wednesday’s for various perfectly good reasons (like regular clashes with other community meetings). For some it seems to be working out, for others the evening commitment isn’t right, and there is still a sense that it is a group in formation. In the long-run, with suitable leaders, or a shared pattern of leadership in place, my collegue and I will leave them to their own devices, and move on to something else.
The very first week, we gave them a taster session using some material from a series on Ephesians that St. Peter’s was working through in the summer. They asked to progress through the rest of this letter written from Rome when St. Paul was probably chained to a soldier or guard under house-arrest.
Last week we started the last chapter, but ran out of time before got to the famous ‘armour of God passage’. However, when I looked at the material again today, I decided it was very thin – the questions simply asked how we make the passage relevant today, and what our prayer life should be like. My sense is most of the group will want to get a bit closer to the text than that.
For me the only way to make the armour of a Roman soldier (on which the passage seems to be based) relevant is to understand what it is used for, and the relevance of the passage is surely to understand that spiritual warfare is something that we should all be aware of and ready for. Individually, and corporately as churches trying to connect with our communities, we must expect it to happen – which is why St. Paul puts his explanation of the armour in the context of prayer – we put the armour on through prayer.
So in a few hours of quiet this afternoon, I had a bash at writing a worksheet to help us get a bit deeper into the passage. For what it’s worth, it is attached here as a .pdf to download. If you make use of it, please help me by giving some feedback as to what works, and what doesn’t – it might help me do better another time.