Unclean spirit

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         Just then there was in their synagogue
         a man with an unclean spirit, and 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.”
         Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
         And the unclean spirit, convulsing him
         and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
         They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another,
         “What is this? A new teaching—with authority!

               —Mark 1.23-27

I like the ancient wisdom that distinguishes
between the person and the spirit that inhabits them.
You are not the unholy spirit you have inherited.
You are still you.

An “unclean” spirit is one outside religious law.
Don’t you have in you the residue of some infractions?
Imagine this: it’s not evil. It’s shame.
But it’s not you.

Your shame recognizes the Holy One,
who has indeed come to destroy it.
It will not leave you without making you cry out.
But it will leave.

Imagine this: Jesus has power over your shame,
authority over what diminishes or misleads you,
power to cast it out, to restore you to yourself,
to set you free.

   —January 24, 2018

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