What do you make of DEMONS?
This week, Jesus continues on his teaching and healing mission in Galilee, casting out demons from many people. We modern folks tend to be puzzled by this kind of talk. What exactly are these demons? Can they really speak? How do I know if I have one?
Most people, I believe, put biblical demons in the category of mental illness. For those of us who have lived with mental illness, as my family has, we know that it does seem demonic: it takes over and twists our thought processes, distorts our emotions, and leaves us feeling well and truly possessed by a foreign power. The language of possession and liberation rings very true to all who have suffered from depression, acute anxiety, or personality disorders. Persons with addictions also know this feeling all too well. The opioid epidemic has unleashed thousands, maybe millions, of demons on struggling people in our country. Jesus is weeping.
Jesus was compassionate and generous with his healing gifts, but he also knew that his mission was even larger than that. He was clear about his primary task (as the management gurus like to put it). His primary task was to “proclaim the message,” that is, to preach the coming Kingdom of God, in which all of us would become compassionate healers and workers for justice. Jesus’ ministry was not just a one-man show; it is a movement… “The Jesus Movement,” as our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry likes to put it. And we are all part of it. How can you be one of Jesus’ merciful healers in the world? JBM