Daily Worship

When holiness breaks the influence of evil

February 03, 2021 1
Image credit: Unsplash

Mark 1: 21-28 (NIVUK)

21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’

25 ‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.’ 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Here is a story about pushback. Jesus finds himself confronted with a man who has come to the synagogue to worship but who is possessed by an evil spirit. The evil spirit is afraid of Jesus. His holiness creates distancing. The evil spirit is afraid of what his words might mean for the man and the rest of the people in the synagogue. Evil cries out: “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” 

This got me thinking, how many people in our congregations are possessed by the same spirit of fear? We are fearful to take Jesus and his words into our hearts. We have allowed evil to distance us from the Gospel, we have allowed evil to pushback the Jesus manifesto. Notice Jesus dealt with the issue immediately with wisdom and authority. From this reading today might we learn healing and compassion is not only needed in our streets and homes — it is needed in our communities of worship. The parable of social distancing may speak the loudest to those who long to sit again in the sanctuary. Let those who have ears hear what the Spirit says.


When we return
To our worship centres
May holiness 
Speak into all our hearts
Let the voices of dissent be heard
And silenced 
And the dissident voice of the Spirit prevail
May holiness and Communion
Draw us together in songs of freedom and love
And may the news of coming revival 
Fill the air with expectancy and joy

Come purifying fire, Spirit of God
Burn up the divisions in our lives
Make us into a holy people
Holy and approachable
Loving and compassionate
Living out justice and mercy
Full of laugher and joy
Unified in purpose 
Knowing your presence fills our heart