What is it that is distinctive about the shield as a piece of armour that might say something important to us about the nature of faith.
Imagine a Roman battle field. In the middle of the fight you see a person, isolated, sheltering behind a shield. It’s a fairly big shield, about as tall and wide as a person, the leather face is dripping wet. As you watch you see that they are trying to protect someone who is on the floor, injured. But you’re not the only one who has noticed them.
The enemy archers on the opposite hill have also caught sight of them and are preparing their arrows, wrapping the tips in cotton material, dipping them in tar and lighting them. The arrows rain down on the stranded pair. The one with the shield is catching the arrows, fending them off but the shield is slowly being chipped away. There are gashes on it, and the edges are all notched and broken. There are arrows stuck in the face of it and it is becoming heavier and heavier.
Out of the corner of your eye you see a movement. You see what looks at first glance like a huge, square turtle trundling over the field. You look again and see that it is a gang of soldiers who have grouped together, linking their shields in front, down the sides, above the heads of the group. They make their way across to the besieged pair, they surround them and bring them into the middle of protective structure and escort them to safety.
Having done so the turtle returns to the fight, storms the hill where the archers are and drives them from the battle field.
The shield is distinctive as a piece of armour, because it is most effective when used together with other shields. When it is used like this it also becomes a mechanism for attack on the strongholds of the enemy.
I reckon that faith is like that.