Since this is February and it is cold and I have been inside, I have had some time to think and reflect on this journey called life.
As I was thinking, I was also working on the lectionary passage for this week’s sermon, which is taken from the Gospel of Mark. The lesson is about the first public action Jesus did. The first miracle or public display that Jesus did was to cast out a demon/demons from a man in the story.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘demons’ lately. (What a great way to begin a Newsletter)
It is difficult to define what a ‘demon’ is. Sometimes people are talking about ‘other world’ forces that seem beyond our control. I am not writing about that definition of ‘demon’. I am referring to the definition that parses the term as: ‘something that has power over a human that is NOT OF God.’ The ‘demons’ that I am talking about are the things that keep us from being who God has created us to be.
This passage makes me think of the various things in this life that grab hold of people and control their actions.
The message in this story of Jesus is not about the details or the description of the ‘demon’. It is not trying to figure out what the first century might define as ‘demonic.’ The point of the story is that whatever the definition of the ‘demon’ was – Jesus had control over it. Jesus had authority over this THING that was destroying the life of the person who was possessed.
Every once in a while we need to make an inventory of our own lives. What are we controlled by? What is in our life that has power over us that is NOT of God?
The passage is not saying that if we believe in Jesus things in our lives will forever, be happy and fun. Jesus is offering us hope, and assuring us, that Jesus’ power and Jesus’ message has ultimate authority over all of these things that separate us from God.
The more we are able to identify places in our lives where we are allowing/being controlled by something that is keeping us away from being who we were intended to be, the more we will be able to identify that Jesus has authority over that ‘demon’.
Does that mean that the person is going to lose weight – or is going to stop gossiping – or stop being controlled by prescription drugs – or gambling – or drinking – or cheating – or tearing down someone’s reputation by their words– or stop their substance abuse – or their arrogance – or lying – or bullying –or being mean – or mental illness – or depression – or their judgmental and hateful spirit? No, unfortunately although Jesus has authority over these ‘demons’ sometimes we are not able to get rid of them. Sometimes in this life, our ‘demons’ over come us: and God weeps.
Jesus’ authority means that, in the big picture: Jesus wins. In the big picture, all of these things that have power and control over us that are NOT of God, will fade away. They will lose. They will not prevail. In the big picture, we will be free from the things that hold us from being who God intended for us to be.
NONE of us are without demons! Let’s take some time to identify those things in our lives that are ‘things that have power over us that are NOT of God.’ Ask God to help you move away from those demons, and move toward the freedom we have been offered in Jesus. Jesus is strength and authority.
Jesus brings wholeness and newness that we have not known about before.
Let’s take some time to heal and receive God’s STRENGTH and GRACE!
Thanks Be to God!!!