Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

I enjoyed Markus’s teaching from Ephesians 6 on Sunday about having our feet “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”. If you’re anything like my vintage you will remember the chorus “Our God Reigns”, that begins with an adaptation of the words from Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

This person with lovely feet is obviously wearing those shoes of the gospel of peace. Paul may even have had it in mind when he wrote about them to the Ephesians (and to us). I have  a prayer-zoom every week with Bernard (who used to lead our church if you have joined us since he moved on), and last week The Shoes of The Gospel of Peace came up, the shoes worn by messengers of the gospel. I felt the Lord gave me a picture of the shoes worn by Mercury, the “messenger of the Gods” in Greek mythology. They looked like this:

In my picture though, the wings were wings of fire. God has been speaking about fire: there is the fire of Pentecost that we are eagerly waiting for, and there is the fire of purification that destroys the virus, as Andrew Baker has written about (“Fire kills viruses“). If we want to be effective messengers of the gospel, we need them both: the fire of the Holy Spirit to empower us, and the fire of purification to ensure that we carry that fire without it going out.

Bernard said last Tuesday, “If we want the fire on our feet, we need to go through the fire ourselves.” He’s been through it, as he contracted COVID himself and is still recovering. But we can be comforted in this, too, for the Holy Spirit says in Isaiah 43:2:

“When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

So if you feel you are going through the fire, I hope this will encourage you: not only does the Word say that you won’t be burnt because the Lord is with you, but it’s also possible that as you walk through the flames some of them will stick to your feet, and become for you the “Shoes of readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”.

They’re better than a Roman soldier’s sandals, and even better than Markus’s running shoes…

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