Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1: 13.
I will cut to the chase. When the Israelites ate the Passover meal with their loins girded, it meant with their long outer garments tucked tightly into their belts so as to free their legs for movement, for running. Leaving hostile Egypt requires having your loins girded. There is no time to lose.
To analogize, each of us is bound by our internal and external constraints of “Egypt” (the narrow place, a constraint). We are born to a certain family, region, school of thought, and culture. Passover is a template for getting out of narrow places of birth and tradition and habits which define who you are, into a new world where God is calling you to be.
St. Peter urged Christians to live always in the spirit of Passover, prepared for the journey of obedience and virtue. For Christians Jesus’ Resurrection is our template for getting out of the tomb, the narrow place of constraint. What does it mean? We come into the world with an individual profile that defines our physical, spiritual, and emotional footprints, on a daily basis, by interactions with others, by the line of work we engage in. Most of the time, we are unconscious of this underlying structure that confines us. But getting out of Egypt, or Resurrection, means we become aware of our limitations and free ourselves from them, and we then live the infinite life we are capable of living, as Christ has shown us with his Resurrection.
Then why in particular the girding of loins? The loins, i.e., the hips, have power and strength and support the body. Where the hips go, our bodies go. This is different from our heads and arms, with which we engage with the world. On this level, girding the loins symbolizes our faith in God. For it is faith that sustains the head and the mind.
Faith thus supports the highest use of mind. The goal of life in Christ is to make a real change, not just with cerebral knowledge, but by a transformation that becomes reality in daily life, mind, body and spirit: an ongoing Resurrection. And it is rooted in the desire for Christ. St. Peter continues: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word….” 1 Peter 2:1
“Coming to him as to a living stone…you also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house….” 1 Peter 2:4. Resurrection of our Lord Jesus defines who we are; however, it doesn’t just happen. In this Easter season, against all odds, the chief thing we have going for us is our faith. We are capable of such vision and ability to act in the face of obstacles because we have faith in Christ. We believe that no matter how bad things are, God could redeem us, and we are worthy of that.
So what do we do? We gird up our loins. Engage in study. Transform bitterness into joy. We pick up clearer language and thought-patterns and fight against our negative emotions, the evil inclination of the world, by engaging in mission work and reaching out to our neighbors and doing what Jesus commands us to do.
So gird up your loins: put on your faith with daily study of the Word. Find new ways of looking at the world, reframe your limitations and see yourself beyond them. We then can experience God’s power of Resurrection in our lives today.
In Suk Peebles