Advent 1 Romans 13:11-14
A stiff north-east wind was scurrying the last leaves into the angles formed by the sheds and the fences in the garden, all the more unpleasant because it was unexpected; November had not yet run its full course.
The gardener, however, stood quite untroubled, whereas the man whom he was talking to crouched under the lea of a windbreak, blowing on his fingers to keep them warm.
But not the gardener and the question is why, the gardener himself supplies the explanation.
It is my coat, a coat made for the bad weather it is windproof and waterproof, I can keep warm and dry in it, as the bad weather can not penetrate it.
It was a protection against every kind of wintry weather it was, in fact like a coat of armour.
St Paul had no doubt that every Christian in Rome needed a protective coat, for there were winds of corruption blowing round every darkened corner.
As Christians in the time of Saint Paul needed a protective coat, in parts of the world today Christians still need that protection, and Jesus Christ is that protection.
In today’s Epistle Saint Paul is appealing for the members of the Church in Rome to make sure that their pattern of life was consistent with the new age of Jesus Christ, by following Him more closely.
“Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;” Romans 13:11 & 12
These few words could be used to imply that some people now believe that darkness is upon us in full force that evil has won the day.
Escapism, exploitation, domination and terrorism are some of the works of darkness and it does sometimes seam that darkness has won the day, but the light will always over come the dark as day follows night.
The great temptation is for us to use the “works of darkness” themselves in the struggle against the evil that surrounds us.
This course of action would only work for very short time, if it worked at all, as the light will always over come the darkness.
The better alternative is to do what Saint Paul tells us, and put on “the armour of Light”
In our humane religious and intellectual heritage, there are sufficient resources to ward off the appeals of popular entertainments that can lure people into self-destruction and a life of darkness.
The light will always shine through the darkness and we still have a legacy of common sense and commitment to the democratic processes, which can be employed to help us make far wiser choices about both the forms of entertainment we will support and the kinds of polices we will pay for.
In Saint Paul’s view, to wear the “armour of light” is to wake up from the darkness, escapism and mind-numbering addictions and to see the light of day by turning to Jesus Christ.
To replace sexual and personal exploitation with a righteous relationship in which the blessing of God can prosper and the young and the immature can be nurtured.
To wear the “armour of light” means that there is no further need for domination; instead of quarrelling and envy, there will be strength for cooperation and the mutual facing of the challenges that lie ahead.
Paul in his letter to the Christian in Rome tells them to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 13:14
Paul is concerned about the Lordship of Christ which must be confirmed and passed on by every Christian and which sometimes stands in sharp opposition to the powers that rule the world.
Our Lord Jesus Christ whose earthly life came to a great climax in his death, in his death on a Cross like a common criminal two thousand yeas ago, is the same Lord from whom a new community grew up in which the competition for pleasure and honour is no longer dominant.
To be part of this community and stand under the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to put on Jesus Christ as a garment, to closely relate to him in our every waking moment, to be guided by his great love.
This great love of Jesus Christ has in the past and still does today, over comes the works of darkness, by showing us the true light.
Saint Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the armour of light, our protective coat and we should put Him on.
As like the gardener who had a coat to protect him from the bad weather, we have Jesus Christ to protect us from the works of darkness as Jesus Christ is “the Light of the World”