Between the Lines: Epiphany 4: January 29, 2012

Text: Mark 1:21-28

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.’

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The church that I pastored years ago was located in a downtown area and was surrounded by more than 75 residential care homes for people who suffered from various kinds of “unclean spirits”—mental disabilities, alcohol and drug addiction, previous jail time. It was not uncommon for someone to “cry out” during a worship service—to voice their pain or disappointment, to frighten away their torments, to disagree with the preacher.

Imagine such a person in one of your customary gatherings. How might you and others react? What might there be about such a one that would put you or others “on altert”? When the individual began to disrupt the service, or the meeting, or the class, what would be foremost in your mind—the individual? The community? The purpose for which you were gathered?

– Andy Kille

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