The Story for the
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
January 31, 2021
prepared by the Rev’d Adam Brown
The Man with an Unclean Spirit
21 They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24 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.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They 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.” 28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Something to Do
Sometimes the anxieties and depression and all the other negative unhealthy stuff in our minds overwhelms us without us even realizing it. Take a moment to be quiet for a bit. Identify all the layers of how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling them, and then let them go with a deep breath.
Take a moment to find a corner of your house gathering dust or clutter and tidy it up. When you’re finished take a moment to feel good about how good it looks.
Something to Wonder
Societal unclean spirits
What are some “unclean spirits” plaguing our society (Globally? Nationally? Locally?) and notice how education and dialogue often make no room for these unclean spirits anymore. How will you educate yourself and grow in empathy and understanding?
“Have you come to destroy us?”
Notice how the unclean spirit asked if Jesus came to destroy him. Rather than choosing the path of destruction Jesus told the unclean spirit to simply be quiet and leave – that it was no longer welcome here. How might that inform how we personally deal with things, people, or events that trouble us?
Something to Learn
The Immovable Ladder
The Rev’d Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a monumental advocate for striving for social change through the use of nonviolence.
You can read more about his journey to nonviolence, as well as his practical and theological thoughts on it, here: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/nonviolence/
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.