The Breastplate of Righteousness 2

I had a great idea. At least it seemed like one at the time.

It’s possible to identify seven hidden references to wildflowers in the Paul’s description of the armour of God in Ephesians 6. It might be tricky to translate the ancient names into modern botanical terms but we can be reasonably sure of the majority.

‘What if,’ I thought, ‘an anointing oil were created from the extracts of these flowers?’ An armorial oil, as it were, which uses the floral symbols of divine armour. I liked the idea immediately because oils generally mix together and that would also convey the idea of covenantal oneness.

The hunter-gatherer instinct in me kicked in and I began to scour the internet to see whether this was a viable idea. A web search was definitely an easier proposition than heading out into the fields and woodlands, looking for rare and hidden herbs that might be peeping out from the grass. Woods and fields in suburban south-east Queensland are in short supply anyway.

Actually, maybe it wasn’t that much easier. I have absolutely no idea what the dispatch updates written in Turkish about the progress of my blue anemone and mustard seed oils say. As for finding manna ash—it might well be simpler to track down athelas, the rare healing herb featured in The Lord of The Rings.

Still it wasn’t in vain. Because—in the course of trying to track down these oils, essences and extracts, I found some intriguing information. The narcissus tazetta—the ‘rose by any other name’ that is the most likely candidate for the Scriptural ‘rose of Sharon’ turned up in some unlikely places. Now if you’ve read my post about the cover of God’s Panoply, you’ll know that the breastplate of righteousness is an oblique reference to the rose of Sharon.

As it happens, the bulb extract of the narcissus tazetta has incredible properties. When applied to open wounds, it sends the body into complete shutdown. However in heavily diluted quantities, it is used in some high end cosmetic products—because of its rejuvenation properties. It’s very prized and very costly.

I just love this thought: the breastplate of righteousness is not just spiritual protection but it is meant to have physical affects as well. It’s meant to rejuvenate the tired and the aging. Don’t you feel a little uplifted just thinking about it? I do!


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