choosing joy / churches / God

Casting Out the Demons: Thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon

This last Sunday we went to Church with friends; a friend’s baby was getting baptized. I have to say, it was one of the most joyous baptisms I’ve ever been to. The kiddos (there were two that day) were buck naked, and they got three solid dunks, feet first, the the baptismal font. The crowd delighted in seeing their big eyes as their tootsies hit the water for “The Father”, we laughed as the babes were raised high in the air when the priest pronounced “The Son”, we cheered, whole heartedly, totally inspired when we rested on “and The Holy Ghost” with tiny feet in the water. Joy, pure and simple. It was beautiful.

The reading for Sunday was Mark 3:13
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.

I heard this reading with new ears on Sunday. The twelve were sent out, the apostles, to cast out demons. What does that mean for us today?

I thought to myself, are each of us called to cast out “demons,” just as the twelve were? And it struck me that modern demons can take many forms. There are demons of self doubt, of loathing, of anger. Demons that tell us we are not good enough, that nothing is ever enough. There are demons everywhere, and its hard to ignore them, especially in tough economic times. Fear feeds the demons in society and in each of us.

I realized that maybe each of us can be the light for each other that helps cast aside each other’s demons. Is this what we’re being called to do? I can do something to try and make one person’s day a little better. I can carry a load when a friend can not. I can reach out and say a kind word to someone, or to make a small joke with a stranger.

In that moment, I realized that casting out demons is not a call to move a mountain or to do something other-wordly. It is something we can each do, here, now, in this world. In tiny ways, in tiny miracles, every day.

To be more like God, we can help each other see the divine spark that resides inside every other person. To acknowledge that someone is special, loved, perfect, and wanted, needed, that they are enough, that is to cast those demons aside and to show love for each other. This is what we’re called to do.