The Shield of Faith

shield

The Glaubensschild (Shield of Faith), by Friedrich August Stuler. The shield was commissioned by Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, as a christening gift to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s first son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust.

Psalm 33: 20-22 NRSV “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

We all desire safety and security. For most, we must feel safe before anything else can be undertaken. And most of us desire security, in our job, our home, relationships, and our sense of well-being.

This passage, and others like it, are popular and comforting because God is promised to be our shield – a bulwark between us and the threats of the physical world. We should always turn to God in times of trouble, just as in times of joy and prosperity. But these physical concerns bear a secondary, surface meaning that pales and falls away when we consider the true meaning of Christ as our shield.

Christ instructs us repeatedly to look within – for it is there we face our greatest threat: ourselves. Hatred, fear, jealousy, greed – all these lie in wait for us in the false sense of self created in our ego. The spirit of Christ within us – if we will only embrace it – is the shield between those temporal desires that draw us away from God, and the one true self that was born of God within us. As we turn away from fear, judgment, hatred and greed, and turn inward to the spirit of pure love within us, we reach a place in which our soul must no longer wait on the Lord – for the Lord already is there, waiting on us to open our soul to the world.

Lord, we ask for your help to break down the walls within us. Help us overcome the barriers between our true self and your boundless love. Help us to know that love within ourselves, to shield it from our own fear and physical desires. Let us be one with you in spirit, and help us to bring those around us closer to your love. Amen.

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