May the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh lord my rock and my redeemer. Amen
Today’s Gospel reading has caused many problems through the ages as it deal with possession, possession of evil spirits who had come upon the Man Called Legion.
This man, who was banished to live among the tombs, was the outcast in society, the man who nobody no matter want wanted to associate with. This man was unclean, the very place where he lived was unclean and the eventually solution to the possession was to send the Evil spirits to the pigs, one of the most unclean animals in the Jewish world.
Jesus the Son of God defeated the evil spirits and allowed this man to live a whole life again.
So often our lectionary, the week by week readings, speaks into our day to day lives. And this past week has been no different.
The week started with the Celebration of the Queen and her 90th Birthday but quickly and very quickly the start of the week descended in chaos with 50 people being killed in a Bar in Orlando, please note I have not said Gay bar as far as I am concerned the people who were shot were people in society and their lives were tragically cut short, They were still sons, brothers and uncles, they were still loved and cared for. They were still people who had a place in society, a place that was cruelly ripped from them.
During the week there was the murder of Monsiuer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his Partner Jessica Schneider in France both who worked for the French Police service by a terrorist claiming alliance to IS.
And Lastly on Thursday Jo Cox was brutally murdered outside the library in her constitunency of Batley just before she was about to hold a surgery to listen to her constituency’s. I don’t need to go into the detail as no doubt who have heard enough in the news and the papers over the last 4 days.
But I hold that all of these acts of murder, for that’s what they were, are pure evil.
If we go back to legion the man at Gersansenes he was troubled by evil spirits, he had been banished, to live in an area where nobody would ever go. But when Jesus encountered the man, even those evil spirits within him recognised that he was the Son of the Most High God. Jesus cleansed the man, this man who was troubled o the point of pure torment. He had been healed.
Now I am not saying that all of the people who had committed the murders that I previously spoke about were posed by evil spirits, but what I am saying that the pure evil that each act contained was in direct confrontation to the Command that Jesus Left us with. Love one another as yourself.
When I heard that Jo Cox had been injured, I felt physically sick. I didn’t even know Jo but as the story about this shocking incident unravelled and unfortunately became a murder investigation,
After three horrendous incidents in a week, I felt a bit like Frodo in Lord of the rings, not able to go on with his quest.
But then these words between Frodo and Sam popped up on the my Facebook feed:
FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
And as I found out more about this lady who cared deeply about the world around her, the good in the world became a little more evident:
This lady who had been a senior policy maker for Oxfam, worked for Save the Children and the NSPCC
This lady who was passionate about the Hope not Hate campaign
This lady who saw that the unaccompanied Children in the Jungle camp in Calais needed a safe place to be and that should they should be brought to the UK. Our country, the United Kingdom that has a proven track record in helping those vulnerable members of our world remembers Sir Nicholas Winton and the Kinder transport.
This lady was seen as force for good from all sides of the political divide
In her obituary that was published in the guardian on Thursday evening, it said that “In the Commons she was recognised as a woman who could make a difference to other people’s lives and who wanted to change the world to make it a better place”.
Now I am not equating Jo Cox with Jesus I am not even saying that she herself was a Christian because I don’t know but what I am saying is that we as Christians could learn a lot from Jo Cox.
She died doing the job that she loved, the “making a difference”, listening to the people who she cared about.
Many people in the next couple of days and weeks will only talk about how we shouldn’t now have the credendum, how nothing good every came of out of politics, How Jo Cox died because of the views of a far right political group.
What people will fail to mention is that Jo Cox stood for something, she wasn’t rich, she didn’t know “the right people”, and she didn’t grow up going to the right school. She didn’t live in a swanky London apartment, In fact she lived with her husband and two children in a house boat on the Thames
She was the ordinary daughter of a factory worker and a school secretary.
She was no different from you or me.
I think one of the best ways of describing what she did is a quote from Gandalf, the wizard in Lord of the Rings. This book that I mentioned earlier, this book which is ultimately about defeating the powers of darkness and allowing light, hope and faith into the world.
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep darkness at bay… small acts of Kindness and Love”
So as you go about this week, in your daily tasks, as you go to work, to school, to do the shopping.
How can we help defeat the powers of evil and darkness by simple acts of kindness?
How can we as Christians help the light of Christ be evident in the world?
How can we as Christians share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ that love not hate will win?
Let us pray
Dear Heavenly Father.
This week our world has been rocked by horrific acts of unspeakable violence and these are only the ones that have hit the newspapers.
We pray for a world where your peace regins.
We pray that as we leave this place you would enable us to be light and live where ever we go.
Help us to banish the darkness away and bring forth light.
Help us to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world to enable evil and violence to be overcome with simple acts of love.