Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Dear Friends in Christ –

There are many questions that are raised in our text for Sunday. Jesus is just coming from his battle royal in the desert. You’ll recall that immediately, as Mark would say, after his baptism Jesus was ‘driven’ into the desert, the wilderness, where the wild things are to battle hunger, heat, cold, exposure, isolation – to battle Satan.

Jesus was compelled to boot camp to condition him for the campaign ahead.

Why do I address you with such bellicose imagery? Because I believe we are at war. We’re in battle daily combating those forces that would demean, would belittle, would destroy the goodness of God’s creation. Those people, things, or forces that would rob us and all of God’s creatures of the blessings and the joy that is ours as people of the Holy God.

It being the Sabbath, Jesus comes to the synagogue (as I’m sure you will) and begins to teach. The people are astounded. He teaches “as one having authority.” Mark says, “Just then.…” Remember Mark is characterized by immediacy, urgency. Just then a man in the synagogue, seemingly possessed, shouts out at Jesus.

Men and women, this may be one of the most important texts of the year because of what Jesus does and when and how he does it – he reclaims the man for life, for his family, for his community for the reign of the Holy. He sends the demon packing!

What does this have to do with us? Everything. Jesus takes care of business. First things first.

This Sunday we baptize Lynnlee Jaffe. We commission Jessica Rodman for her work with the Peace Corp. We celebrate the life of Jim Lichty at 2:00. We are reminded through scripture that through each passage of our lives we are accompanied by the God who loves us and has promised to never let us go. What we get to do!