The ancient collect that the church is stirred up to say on the first Sunday of Advent is,
‘Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise up to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever’.
It is a call to arms for the church. It is a reminder that we are engaged in a spiritual battle and that as the hosts of darkness gather round us we are to stir ourselves (Advent Sunday also known as Stir Up Sunday) in readiness. We are not alone, for our Great Commander, the Lord Jesus, has given us everything we need for the fight and he is on his way. We may think of Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings or C. S. Lewis’ Last Battle or today, the biblical account of the end of Saul’s life, but what relevance has that ancient prayer for us today?
I am very well aware that we are involved in a spiritual battle and my prayer for each one of us is that we will stand together. In love, Ray