21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
“Epiphany: It’s one of the most “religious” words there is. The bible gives us Paul’s epiphany, the startling vision on the road to Damascus; and then there are those special things that super-spiritual people always seem to experience – epiphanies, words of knowledge, sudden bursts of God- clarity. During Epiphany, we are treated to readings that help us figure out who Jesus is and why he came.”
Lauren F. Winner, the author of “Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life”
In this gospel passage for February 1 Mark writes about Jesus’ entrance into public ministry. He begins his ministry by teaching with authority. He then continues to astound everyone by taking authority over a troubling unclean spirit. Jesus is made manifest through his authority. Authority comes from the same word as author. It is a word that indicates something that gives life and creates. Jesus speaks with the kind of authority that is innate; it is an inside type of authority. There are all sorts of “authorities” in our lives. People who are elected, chosen, and /or given authority are part of our lives each day. Our thoughts, desires; our anger and even other people can be forces of authority that take over our lives.
Responding to God’s authority in my life is a daily challenge. I move in and out of that place where I allow God’s presence in my life to be the authority by which I live. I slip in and out of the places where something (someone) else “takes authority” or I do my own thing.
The things which pull me back into God’s authority are important. The community of faith and worship remind me who I am. I am God’s beloved child. God wants what is best for me. Worship reminds me of this. Today my brother and I worked in his shop. He made a beautiful fountain pen for me out of a piece of wood which I chose. As I watched him plane down the surface of the wood on the lathe, chips of wood gathered under the lathe
This pile of wood shavings reminded me that God is in the process of “shaving” from me the stuff which keeps me getting hung up “doing my own thing”. It is a constant process. I believe it is a loving process. Just as my brother loves to bring out the beauty in wood, I believe that God loves to bring out the best in me.
Tomorrow I leave to go home to New Harmony and my church community at St. Stephen’. I am anxious to see everyone. Going home is the last part of my sabbatical journey, but not the last posting on my blog. I enjoy writing here.