Greetings FCC Family,
It is hard for me to believe that the first month of 2021 over! I still feel as though I have a foot in the season of Advent, but here we are
halfway through Epiphany and I am preparing for Lent. Yours truly is gaining an even deeper respect for my pastoral mentors who have been preaching for a lifetime. Through this month of January, we have journeyed through the lectionary texts for Epiphany – the season observing Christ made manifest to the world. Each Sunday I’ve attempted to bring a word from the texts that discloses a different facet of God’s movement in the world and Christ’s love for it. This Sunday will be a unique challenge: Mark 1:21-28 is a brief story recounting how Jesus casts an ‘unclean spirit’ out of a man in the midst of teaching in the temple at Capernaum.
Now, you may have learned already that your new minister enjoys the past-times of comic-book reading and video-game playing; these are mediums in which demon-slaying is an expected trope. When we think of mainline Protestant Christianity in the 21st century, stories of Jesus casting out demons are a bit challenging to deal with intellectually. How are we to read them? I don’t think we treat the Bible as a comic book – it is more than a series of tropes. However, does this story of confrontation with unclean spirits have any connection with the same world we live in?
For me, as I get ready for Sunday, this story is raising the question: how are love and power related? The life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus is about love – love for each other, love for God, and God’s love for the world. Stories like these about casting out demons remind the contemporary Christian that much of Jesus’ story is also about power – the power to dramatically (one can’t get much more dramatic than confronting demons!) change lives. How are these – love and power – related? As I work toward a sermon from this question, I celebrate the ways I see love empowered in this congregation – detailed in the various pieces in this newsletter. I hope this message finds you well and safe.
Grace and peace,