by Bob Wickizer

Get Out There With Jesus
Bob Wickizer
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

This morning's Gospel raises the issue of Jesus' authority. This will come up again in again as we encounter Mark's gospel this year. The question people want answered is whether Jesus was really sent by God. Mark doesn't give any easy answers. In this case Jesus clearly has authority over unclean spirits. He even takes a jab at what amounts to the ordained ministry of the scribes when the gospel says ''He even teaches like one who has authority'' i.e. the scribes in this instance.

But I would like to tackle a more delicate subject about demon possession. Episcopal preachers tend to shy away from this kind of stuff I suppose because they are afraid someone will bring a poisonous snake to church to test their faith. But seriously, we encounter unclean spirits all the time in the modern world. We just don't talk about them in those terms and most of us think that we don't have any authority over them. Let's see.

It doesn't take much imagination to understand that nearly all addictions are forms of unclean spirits. Alcohol, drug and gambling addictions are scourges that have been with us since the dawn of human history. We also have addictions to work, sex, rage and shopping that can cause serious harm to individuals, families and whole communities.

But what about the person addicted to an ideology where they simply refuse to acknowledge facts or information that challenges their view? Then we have teenagers addicted to their electronic gizmos; Facebook, Instagram, text messaging even that old outdated thing their parents use - you know, email. There is medical evidence that addictions cause chemical changes in our brains. These are some of the unclean spirits we see in the modern world.

But the biggest demons of all can also be classified as addictions - wealth and power. Like so many things, not everyone who is wealthy or powerful is addicted to ...

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