“The people in the synagogue were astounded at Jesus’ 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, a holy one of God.’” [Mark 1:22-24]
The people in the synagogue are wondering who this impressive new teacher is, for he is someone far more compelling than their scribes. But they just don’t know. They are just astounded. Yet the man with an unclean Spirit recognizes Jesus immediately! Why is this? Why does this unclean Spirit immediately recognize the light in Jesus? Of course, Jesus is quick to respond to the unclean Spirit in the man, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” Yet, we are often slow to act like Jesus. Slow to call out and name the “demons” that prevent us from believing in the reign of God among us. We let the hecklers in our lives, in our communities, in our world, and even in our churches deter us from living the way of love ushered in by Jesus. Why is this? Why are we afraid to name the “demons” among us or maybe even within us that seek to destroy us? Truthfully, it is hard to confront those whom we believe have power over us in any shape, way, or form. We often succumb to the status quo rather than to do the difficult work of inaugurating another way of being. Let us dare to be like Jesus even if it costs us.
Holy One, your light is visible among us. Help me to be brave enough to call it into action to confront the destructive forces in my life and in the life of my communities. Let me confront those who seek to destroy the way of love with Jesus’ resolve. Amen.