Sunday, February 1, 2015

Authority

Mark 1:21-28

21 They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.


23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." 28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.


Litany

The earth and all that is in it rests in God.
All authority belongs to Christ.

The Holy Spirit’s efforts cause good to flourish across times and places.
All authority belongs to Christ.

The forces that oppose God cannot win.
All authority belongs to Christ.

Healing and wholeness are God’s desires for all people.
All authority belongs to Christ.

Pain and suffering cannot overcome the Light of Life.
All authority belongs to Christ.

Jesus promises to draw all people to the Father, through himself, at the end of all things.
All authority belongs to Christ.


Reflection

In the centuries since the man with an unclean spirit was healed, our understanding of our bodies has increased in leaps and bounds. We know even more now about the miracles of our brains, our nervous system, our circulatory system, our skeletal system. We have come to understand even more that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And we have come to know, as well, the depth of mystery that remains within us about how some things happen and some things work.

            As we have become more sophisticated in our knowledge, the forces that oppose God and try to tempt us from faith have to increase their efforts as well. In our day and time, it is not demons that cause illnesses, but demons that accompany illnesses.

            At the edge of our diagnoses are despair, loneliness, fear, doubt, guilt, grief, and a host of other little pulls that steal our joy in life, our hope in Christ and our faith in the truth of the Word of God.

            These are precisely the demons that we are called to exorcise. You are. I am. We exorcise them by saying their name and banishing them. Despair is sent to hell through encouragement. Loneliness, through companionship. Fear, through prayer and information. And so it goes. By fervently exercising our faith through caring for our neighbor, we can exorcise their demons and ours.

Christ’s love for the man in the crowd compelled the unclean spirit to flee his presence. Christ’s own love for us compels our own demons to leave us. However, it is also Christ’s love for us that compels us to help the people around us deal with the negativity, the pain and the unclean spirits that torment them.                                    

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