When my grandchildren were little – well, little-er – they loved Bob the Builder. I hope they still do. Bob, originally, was a stop-action cartoon character from Britain who lived with his friends in a nice little town along with a gang of friendly work vehicles like front-end loaders, diggers and dump trucks with very human characteristics. Now he has several shows, movies, a line of action figures and, of course, Lego.
Bob always seemed to have the right tools handy for any job. And if they’re not already on his tool belt, they’re either handy or he can make them. His catch phrase was “Can we fix it?” and then everyone would shout “Yes we can!” and off they would go and do just that.
You have to love his cheery, positive disposition. I always liked that, and his way of getting things done: he always seems to include everyone in doing things. Good thing, I guess, since the show is meant to “emphasize conflict resolution, co-operation, socialization and various learning skills.”
Maybe we should all watch it.
Or we could read the Letter to the Ephesians in the Bible. That’s the one with the “Armour of God” passage: “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God … Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-11, 14-17).
For many, the militaristic imagery makes the armour of God an unpopular way to describe how we “wear” God in the world. Fair enough, although it might prove a very worthwhile way to explore what it really means to be “embattled,” perhaps even finding a little redemption for the language of conflict that so often leads to breaking down relationships. One could also explore the idea that armour is inherently protective and defensive, only the sword itself is offensive. Oh wait, now we’ve got that messy question of “are you suggesting the ‘word of God’ is offensive?” No, no I’m not, that’s not what I meant.
Wait a minute, we’re going off on an interpretive tangent here. While I think one can do a lengthy study of Ephesians and what the writer meant with the specific image, that’s not my point. My point is this: go with God.
To me, it’s less about the militaristic baggage of armour and more important to know that we go with God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God. That’s the only protection our spirit needs. And don’t forget the “go” part. Did you notice that none of the armour described here covers your back? You have to go forward and engage the world.
That’s why I like Bob the Builder. He has all the tools he needs to get the job done, he knows how to use them and he’s ready to use them. Equally as much as the armour, God’s like the tool belt, overalls and hard hat that Bob’s always wearing, ready to get to work.