The complete study will be available in early February. To access both the videos and Leader’s Guide online, please return to this site. If you would like a flash drive with the study mailed to you, please email Deb Boyd at email@example.com. (If needed, we are able to create a DVD and mail paper copies for your use if you let Deb Boyd know by 2/1 that you will need that format instead).
“Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’”(Mark 1:25)
In his inauguration speech four years ago, new President Donald Trump talked about “American carnage” and “disrepair and decay.” At the time, I didn’t know what he meant. But I guess we’ve all seen it now.
What a horrifying scene we witnessed in our nation’s capital on the Day of Epiphany, 2021 – mayhem and destruction from an angry mob of our country’s citizens, waving flags (American and Confederate) and banners (“Trump” and “Jesus”). And then the spin began, trying to make sense of what our eyes had just seen. “That wasn’t us,” some said. “That isn’t the America I know!”
More than thirty-five years ago, I took a graduate course in Marriage Counseling at the University of North Carolina. The professor said, “Often after a particularly horrifying, egregious act of bad behavior, a spouse will say, That’s not who I am; that wasn’t me – to which the counselor must challenge: then who the * Sam Hill * was it?! It WAS you! And it’s got to stop.”
For some of us, the riot at the Capitol building and the political agenda it promotes were oddly and disgustingly unfamiliar….but for others in this land, it was hauntingly common – and the very predictable culmination of nationalism and triumphalism and racism gone wild & un-checked for far too long. It’s got to stop.
The Season of Epiphany, in which we find ourselves after that grievous January 6 “feast day” to launch the season (!), recalls first-century biblical scenes in which the Church came to “see” Jesus – in his teachings, in his calling of disciples, in his healings & exorcisms.
Now admittedly, over the years I haven’t done much preaching on exorcism…and I’m not even sure that our Book of Worship has an approved liturgy for use!…but, my goodness: if you can’t identify a few demons to chase away with zest in this new year 2021, you’re not living where I live. The Gospel of Mark promises: “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (1:27b)
It’s time to call this exorcist Jesus out of retirement, and allow him to get back to work.
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