A word of thanks to Don,
Who offered our first reading with great finesse
Even the pronunciation of Beelzebul.
We’ve been looking at this reading from Mark in our bible studies this week and
There’s a lot going on in that text:
Jesus going back to his home town and finding a hoard of people
Who want to be near him, to hear him
In particular, To be healed by him
Or others who want to challenge him,
So there’s that.
And there’s all that stuff tossed around to do that,
This language about Satan and Demons and unforgivable sins.
Even if we remember that the writers of the Gospels and Jesus himself
Were living with an ancient cosmology, an ancient way of understanding
How the universe works
For many of us this language strikes us as strange, and bizarre
And maybe useless if we don’t unpack it.
Its important for us to remember that “possession by demons” is often language
Used in the ancient period to describe what we might understand
As mental illness: bipolar conditions or schizophrenia or depression.
And while it is true that our tradition doesn’t speak very often about demons
Or possession or the exorcism that we see Jesus performing in scripture
—for good reason, since that is an ancient worldview
that doesn’t really have very much use for us—
we also don’t speak very much about mental illness,
which is a shame.
Jesus was a healer, of body, mind, and spirit.
And Jesus was interested in bringing all sorts of healing,
Including relief from mental illness. THAT we shouldn’t shy away from.
So I was pondering all of that this week, in particular.
This week with the high profile deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade
Both of whom died by suicide following struggles with their own demons.
We need to talk about mental illness, and mental health
which impacts all of us, one way or another.
We particularly need to do this because the Church has resources to help
So we can encourage each other to get the medical care we need
And can love one another as we seek healing for ourselves and our loved ones.
This week, my thoughts kept returning to
this section of the book of Revelation
Words that are often read during memorial services
But words worth pondering today as well.
I invite you to open your head and your heart to this word to us
From the author of the Book of Revelation:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said,
‘See, I am making all things new.’
Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’
Then he said to me, ‘It is done!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
And may God bless to us our Reading
And our Understanding
And our applying of these words
To how we live our lives. Amen.
These days, I rarely watch television LIVE anymore.
True for almost everything except Royals Games, I think.
I did watch the Golden State Warriors sweep Cleveland
to win the NBA title this week. So sorry, LeBron fans. Always next year.
Sometimes, as the girls are sleeping soundly and I’m home folding clothes
I get the chance to catch up on my favorite shows on the DVR or Netflix.
A little Amazing Race. Some Game of Thrones.
Recently I found myself flipping through the ancient stuff on Comedy Central.
By ancient, I mean 10 or 12 years old.
And I found myself watching some re-runs of a show called Scrubs.
Do any of you remember that show?
I’ve shared this little story with some of you before:
Scrubs is a somewhat bizarre and irreverent but always entertaining comedy
about the staff at Sacred-Heart hospital.
I was watching the episode where they said goodbye to Nurse Roberts.
She was a steady hand and the voice of steadfast faith
Steadfast faith at a place where faith and hope often get challenged
and courage sometimes needs as much support as it can get.
Nurse Roberts and one of the doctors, Dr. Cox, had recently gotten into a scuffle
about the existence of God, and why bad things happen to good people.
And they go back and forth with it,
in the middle of some horrible diagnosis and some similarly horrible grief
and just when Nurse Roberts convinces Dr. Cox of the need
for faith, for hope, for believing in the promise of God’s grace,
Just as Nurse Roberts seems to win her debate
we learn that Nurse Roberts has been in a horrible car accident
on her way home from work.
She is in a coma, an injury that will eventually take her life.
Its devastating. [Read more…]