During the season of Lent, we are encouraged to prepare for Easter and the promise of new life. We are encouraged to take an introspective inventory of ourselves and remove those inward impediments that may hinder us from experiencing the good news of Easter, those things that could prevent Easter from transforming us into the people God has created us to be.
During this holy season of Lent, I believe God calls us to remove the demons in our lives that prevent this transformation. During Lent, we need to disturb, silence and rebuke the demons. Lent is a time for exorcisms.
I realize that most Americans may not put much stock in “demon exorcisms,” but after another school shooting, many would probably agree that there seems to be some demons at work in our country. And these demons are not just in the people who want to commit mass murder. They are in all of us. For something is terribly wrong when a school shooting fails to bring us together as a nation and only divides us further.
I believe the best way to disturb and silence the demons in our lives is to earnestly and prayerfully open our hearts to the teachings of Jesus, to make the teachings of Jesus our authority on all matters.
One day, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in such an authoritative way that it disturbed a demon who was in the congregation. The demon that was inside of a man cried out in the middle of the sermon: “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.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon, telling the demon to be silent and commanding it to come out of the man. We are told the demon obeyed Jesus immediately (Mark 1:21-28).
To prepare for Easter and the promise of new life, I believe the first thing we need to do is open our hearts to allow the authoritative teachings of Jesus to challenge us in such a way that it disturbs the demons within us.
While I served in Oklahoma, the local ministerial group had a monthly meeting and program. After a mass shooting, their program was entitled: Christians and Guns: An Oklahoma Perspective.
A good question is, “Why wasn’t such a program entitled, Christians and Guns: A Jesus Perspective?”
We’ve heard the Republican perspective and the Democrat perspective. However, if we truly want to experience new life this Easter, I believe we must open our minds and hearts to hear the Jesus perspective.