getting out the Word

the 4th sunday after epiphany

the PRAYER …

Compassionate God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Savior. Bring wholeness to all that is broken and speak truth to us in our confusion, that all creation will see and know your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING …

Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and 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!”

Mark 1:21-28

the DEVOTION …

Self-help. That’s what we call it. Identifying needs. Setting goals. Achieving results! Individual! Personal! And we’ve been at it for decades, now. Made an industry of it. All in the name of better living. And then, Sunday mornings, you and I come here – figuratively speaking – and first thing we do is confess that we don’t … that we can’t … that we won’t … no matter! Captive. Bound. Unwilling and unable. And so we wait. And we watch. For somebody to come and do for us what we can’t do ourselves. And we wonder why the church keeps getting older. Why it continues to shrink.

But did you notice? In the reading for the week? That man with an unclean spirit? Standing there, shouting at Jesus? “Leave ‘us’ alone,” he says, “Get out of here! Go away!” And what does Jesus do? He heals him! Nobody has to believe. Nobody has to say a pray. Jesus just up and casts out the demon, without so much as a by your leave. “Come out!” And the spirit comes out! And they were all amazed! You know, maybe – contrary to popular opinion – believing isn’t so much self-help, as it is Jesus-help! Isn’t so much self-help, as it is love!

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