The doorbell rings and you see your doctor standing there. You think you must be really sick if your doctor is at the door so you do not open it. Or you see a police officer and imagine that you must be in real trouble, so you do not open the door. Or you see a priest standing there and you conclude that you are going to die soon, so you do not open the door. In all these cases, you are afraid of hearing something that you do not want to hear so you do not open the door.
There is a Gospel story about a possessed man and the demons possessing him who do not want a visit from Jesus. They say, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth…have you come to destroy us (Mark 1:21-28)?” The demons did not want to let Jesus in because they knew he would throw them out. The possessed man did not want to let Jesus in because the only life he knew was with the demons. The demons knew that Jesus wanted the best for the man which meant that they would have to go. The man knew that the demons had to go so that he could have a much better life, but he was afraid of living without them.
Jesus wants the best for us too. This means that the demons of our life have to go. But like the man in the Gospel, we refuse to let them go because we do not know what life would be like without them. We resist because we are afraid of what it will take for us to let them go. As tough as it may be, we need to name the demons in our lives that we are hanging onto and not facing. Maybe the demons are anger, hurt, resentment, prejudice jealousy, bitterness, cynicism or a negative attitude. Perhaps greed, arrogance, selfishness or superiority have a grip on us. Fear, anxiety, stress or depression may be crippling us. We know that there is something wrong with our bodies but we will not go to the doctor. We are behaving in a way that we know is wrong, but we just keep doing it.
Imagine that the doctor at the door is saying, “I’m here to heal you.” The police officer is saying, “I’m here to protect you.” The priest is saying, “I’m here to tell you how much God loves you.” Imagine Jesus is at the door saying, “I’m here to help you let go of your demons and be free!” Now, will you open the door?
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector