The Armor of God
By RALPH HARDIN
Evening Times Editor I often marvel how things can come together and the timing of it all. Like, have you ever been looking for something, you can’t find it, so you go buy another one and then you find the thing you were looking for sitting right there on the coffee table or wherever? Or, you think of an old friend for the first time in months for no reason and then you see them at Walmart the next day … weird, right?
Well, I think it’s neat that things like that happen. One of my favorites is when I’m reading something and just as I get to a word, someone on TV says that same word. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it was something common like “dinner” or “hello” but when it’s something like “kangaroo” you have to wonder how the universe brought all that together.
So, anyway, the new “Legend of Zelda” game just came out on the Nintendo Switch. Now, if your knowledge of video games ended when you got over your case of Pac-Man Fever in 1984, video games are a really big deal these days. I don’t really play them like I used to. They’ve gotten a little too complicated for me (I tried to play “Fortnite” when it was big and I just hid in the bushes until it was time to make a run for it and immediately died). But I guess I will always play the new Mario or Zelda games as long as Nintendo keeps putting them out.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with the “Zelda” series, they’ve been coming out since like the late 1980s, and each one is some variation of the “rescue the princess” type of game. In these, the princess in question is the titular Zelda and you play as an elf-like hero named Link who has to go through a series of trials, tasks, battles and puzzles to eventually beat the big bad guy (who varies from game to game) and save the day.
Well, as part of the game’s storylines, you basically start with nothing. Oh, you might have a tunic and a stick or something but you can’t win the game like that, so you have to so searching for better protection in the form of weapons and armor and mystical doo-dads. And since the new game came out last Thursday, I have spent a majority of my free time playing it. There are endless things to do in the game, but I have definitely devoted a big part of my playing time to upgrading my gear. Like, you can’t go up into the mountains without climbing boots. And you can’t traverse the desert without your bottles of heat-repelling elixirs. And it gets cold in the north so be sure to acquire a winter coat. And that stick you started out with might beat a minor bad guy but to beat the big monsters you need a sword, and a shield, and a suit of armor … it’s a grind, I tell you.
But the funny thing is, as I was preparing to teach this week’s Sunday school lesson, I saw it was about the Armor of God, from the Book of Ephesians. Now, I’ve been familiar with the Armor of God since I was a wee lad and we made “Armor of God” stuff out of cardboard and construction paper and aluminum foil for Vacation Bible School. So, as I was reading through the lesson it clicked with me that the Zelda games weren’t all that different in that we can’t just have a stick and a tunic and go out into the world. I mean, have you seen the world lately. It’s not great.
So, the Bible speaks to us about the Breastplate of Faith and Love, and for a Helmet of the Hope of Salvation, the Belt of Truth, and a Sword of the Spirit. I’m telling you right now, I could probably use all of those to help me rescue the princess right now. The game has basically all the same kinds of stuff, like the Hero’s Tunic, the Master Sword, the Shield of Power and that sort of thing. The Bible talks about wearing the Sandals of Readiness, while the game has these cool boots that keep the hot lava from burning your feet. The parallels were just crazy.
The thing is, I’m not really going to be rescuing any princesses any time soon (I don’t even know any princesses). But I am going to be spending a lot of time here in the real world. And I thought it was very cool that as I’m preparing to teach a lesson about the Armor of God I’m playing a game where I also need protection from the world around me.
We are no doubt in a bit of a tug-of-war right now between government, religion and ideology. I may not have a literal Sword of the Spirit, or even that cardboard and tinfoil one I made in second grade, but little things like this coincidental timing of the game and my lesson (or was it a coincidence?) give me a little assurance that everything is going to be OK.
I do still need to rescue Zelda though …