Scripture Reading: Mark 1:29-39
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. –Mark 1:35-39
If we believe we are to model our lives after Jesus, how do we cast out demons today? Jesus was a pray-er. All of the gospels describe him finding a quiet place to pray. I know what that is like; my mother was a pray-er also. My guess is she had mastered the art of praying without ceasing, but each evening she closed out her day on her knees at the side of her bed with her head propped against her folded hands talking to God. Obviously, the starting point of casting out demons lies in strengthening our relationship with God.
What are demons to us today? Today we are skeptical of the first-century idea of demons as evil spirits. We do not deny the existence of evil in the world. The mass shootings experienced in recent years often are described as evil. We are uncomfortable with that which we cannot explain. Yet, Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection demonstrated for us that Love can conquer evil. Jesus always chose love. Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
We are all capable of both evil and love. God’s love can fortify us to make love our standard response. It all starts with prayer.
O Love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.* Amen
*First verse of O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go by George Matheson see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/432