Archive for July, 2021

Bible study – 2pm Wednesday 28th July led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

A Note About Demons

I am reminded of a quote by CS Lewis that says that human beings make two mistakes about devils- the first is to disbelieve in their existence the other is to have an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

In the New Testament there are two kinds of sickness; one is functional such eyes or legs that do not work properly. In the ancient mind this may or may not be a punishment for sin. The second is demon-possession. A demon’s choice of victim was completely random so there is no guilt for the individual. It is possible to make the distinction between the demon and the demon’s victim. Jesus attacks demons with holy aggression but supports the victim with compassion and hope.

We might think of big forces or conspiracy-theories today; consumerism, racial prejudice, pornography, violence as entertainment, poor diet. It doesn’t always help to blame people for attitudes derived from their environment, equally it does no good to extend kindly toleration to a destructive spiritual force.

Read Ephesians 6: 10-12

1-What are today’s ‘principalities and powers’ and does it help to make the distinction above?

A Note About Geography

This story takes place in the borderlands. For the first time Jesus has crossed to the ‘other side’ into an area known as the ten towns. These town had a Greek culture with pagan temples and a large amount of civil unrest. There was a Roman legion stationed there to keep things under control. One clue is there is a herd of pigs mentioned. Pigs are unclean animals in Jewish law and no such herd would have existed in the heartlands of Judaism. The region is unsettled and the man in the centre of this story is equally disturbed.

2-How much does our environment impact on our mental health?

Read Mark 5:1-20

The man or rather the demons recognise Jesus’ authority. Evil, in Mark’s gospel, recognises holiness quicker than established religion does. There’s no immediate surrender- the powers of evil put up a fight. Again, I am reminded of C.S. Lewis;

A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.’

This is not the man’s fight. He’s been caught in the crossfire between good and evil. This is Jesus’ fight against the powers that have taken possession over him and Jesus is not about to give in. The man has no identity, no name and they have taken over his voice.

3- In your Bible translation what name do the demons give themselves? Why is this significant? In Mark’s gospel the name ‘Legion’ is not in NT Greek but carefully spelt out in Latin, the language of the Roman colonial power. This man’s own being has become a colony of Rome.

The demons, skilled politicians that they are, broke a compromise. They ask to be sent somewhere else (interesting not back from whence they came). However, the pigs are not happy with this invasion and in a frenzy rush down the side of the cliff.

4-What would you feel if you were the pig farmer? Would you think this man’s mental health was worth it? In today’s money about £160,000

The town does not want too much upset, so they ask Jesus to leave! Maybe they could tolerate a couple of broken people around because they could then assure themselves that they are ‘normal’. The man was outcast and now Jesus, for his sake, has become outcast. This will continue all the way to the cross.

5-Who do we outcast?

6-What happens next to the healed man? Why do you think he wasn’t allowed to go with Jesus?

Prayer

Lord Jesus,

Healing is a costly business,

Ridding ourselves or others from false powers is a costly business,

We are not always up for the spiritual fight.

Help us rely on the power of your name.

Help us tell our own stories of spiritual healing without shame.

Help us change the culture of wherever God has placed us.

Amen.

Sunday service 25th July 2021

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Wednesday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 20th July

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Funeral of Muriel Turner led by Rev Suzanne Nockels – Friday 16th July 2021

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Muriel was given a send off with a capacity congregation (subject to covid guidelines) in the church.

Sunday service led by Rev Nockels – 11th July

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Wednesday worship – 7th July led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Theme of ‘The Gardener’