In this week’s Gospel a man with an unclean spirit appears in the synagogue and confronts Jesus. Jesus’ response amazes everyone, a new teaching with authority throws this man into convulsions and suddenly the man once possessed with a demon is healed and set free.
Now that’s something you don’t see very often on Sunday morning. But maybe it’s not because we no longer see the world as filled with demons; but instead, perhaps it’s because we still don’t reach out and invite and include the marginalized in our faith communities.
In many ways that poor man with an unclean spirit is still out there he’s just not in our midst because he does not feel welcome. How many men and women do not enter our church doors because they are suffering from diseases that set them unfairly apart, personality quirks that make them hard to understand or endure, or just some “thing” that makes them a little different? And how many of us do not fully enter into the church, into our faith community, because we are unable or unwilling to reveal all our quirks, disorders, brokenness, and unique needs?
The sad truth is that many people, inside and outside the church, are all alone, separated, and cut off from the Body of Christ, that faithful community that strengthen and heals, renews and inspires, gives peace and sets people free.
Lonely eyes, Even when you smile you’ve got those lonely eyes Oh, deep inside no one understands And sometimes late at night you cry When all the world’s a lullabye All you hear is a lonely cry Lonely eyes Frightened by the life of love that’s passed you by Life is a day dream world Of paper clowns and painted smiles And sometimes late at night you cry Awakened from another lie Another dream that can never fly Lonely eyes Looking for a dream come true that will let you fly Fly far away beyond the scars of the soul And then at night you won’t have to cry You can spread your wings and touch the sky And awake to find, It wasn’t a lie Lonely eyes It’s time to wake up and finally realize The wings are right by your side They’ve been there all the time Surrendered for you with a lonely cry Alone in the night someone died At the cross roads of your lonely life And now at night you don’t have to cry, You can spread your wings and touch the sky, And awake to find it wasn’t a lie.
The old teaching of the world defines us by our imperfections and separates us from each other. The new teaching of Jesus gathers us all together in the power of unconditional love. Amen.
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They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his 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, the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.