Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 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.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. Mark 1:21-28
In this day, we don't talk much of releasing people from evil and unclean spirits. We might call people mentally ill, deranged or addicted, but we don't take about being possessed by evil. Yet, we love scary and magical movies, where good people become fiends and the heroes must release them. Secretly, all of us know the evil that lurks within, ready to move to the destruction of others and violence toward self. We have seen how one person's evil in the form of abuse can destroy hundreds and hundreds of lives. Selfishness, and vanity are often the worst possessions as well the need to destroy others to stay on top. It happens every day, even and especially, within the church.
We find ourselves in Mark's Gospel, learning of the early miracles of Jesus. These are important moments, when God's love is revealed in the removal of the evil which has destroyed and individual. Just as one person's evil can ruin many, many lives, so can one act of God's love, restore and reinvigorate many more lives. We are invited this day to see evil as evil and seek the healing and love of God. Simply and profoundly, our work is to tell the truth, naming the evil in our midst, committing to the prayer and hard work that roots it out, even and especially in the church. We cannot hide behind roles and authority, but rather submit humbly to the cleansing and transformation of Christ.
Today, I ask God to help me admit to my own brokenness and evil and seek healing and forgiveness in every moment. May we be bold truth tellers, who seek the full love of God to heal us and our communities for the good of the whole world.