A Snipe in a paper bag

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”                  - -  Ephesians 6:10-11


Our DVR is set to record a number of programs each week.  This allows you to watch your favorite show even if you missed it at its regular broadcast time.  One of the Maguire favorites is a show called The Carbonaro Effect.   It is Candid Camera and Houdini combined into a Tru tv show self-described as “ an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series.”  The show is hosted by magician and prankster Michael Carbonaro. He performs baffling tricks on unsuspecting people in everyday situations, all caught on hidden camera.  I often watch with great pain as people become completely taken in by the schemes of The Carbonaro Effect and wonder how I might get fooled too.  

It was at a church camping trip that I remember being hoodwinked for the first time.  Our group of 3rd grade boys was encouraged to capture the elusive “Snipe” to get a pizza party reward and $20 to the two-man team who captured the first Snipe!  A Snipe was described to us a bird smaller than a chicken but larger than a Robin who was very quick except at night.  It could be captured by sneaking up on it with a paper bag while chanting in the highest voice possible - - “Here Snipe- Snipe- Snipe!”  It must have been hilarious to the leaders to see 20 boys dragging paper bags along the ground singing in a high voice to attract a non-existent bird.  One of the leaders even caught one and I had the courage to reach my hand in to feel it – a very wet feathery bird – but unfortunately the snipe ripped through the paper bag and got away.  After 2.5 hours of Snipe hunting we were exhausted and went right to bed.  The next morning at breakfast they shared the great secret… that there was no such bird and the Snipe Hunt was simply a way to get us exhausted. And the bird I told my friends I touched was described to me as a wet sponge – but to this day I’m sure I touched a Snipe in a paper bag!   

In the verse above the devil is described as one who schemes but we can stand against!  Scheme is this very interesting Greek word in the original μετηοδεια (methodia) means “cunning crafty, deceit, trickery” and comes from the idea of travelling over travesty (method).  In other words you were fooled into believing in Snipes!  The devil is good at scheming – sometimes he deceives through things, sometimes through people, sometimes through our own thoughts and selfishness – you know what it is called?  The methodia effect.  And we all can be tricked but we don’t have to be tricked.

How?  How can we not be tricked?  How can we stand?  We stand by putting on the “whole armor of God.”  In the coming weeks I want to talk about what suiting up with God really means.  I’ve got to go now - -  someone told me there are Snipes on the church property as big as Turkeys!  “Here Snipe, Snipe, Snipe!”  “Here Snipe, Snipe, Snipe!”

Pastor John