Exorcism

Last Sunday some of our church members went into the Sanctuary to prep for next Sunday’s worship. During the summer months we move worship into our community center as it’s easier to cool. We have a great time during the summer. It’s sort of like church camp. We planned to be back in the sanctuary for World Communion Sunday this coming Sunday. We had spent two previous weekends sprucing up the place, and it looked wonderful. I was getting excited that we were moving back into our church home. But what they discovered wasn’t good. What they discovered was someone had broken into the Sanctuary over the weekend, and burglarized all of our sound equipment worth several thousand dollars.

Needless to say we were all quite shocked and shaken. Our Sanctuary, our safe place, had been violated.

In the midst of all this I was reminding myself that whenever good people do good things, the power of evil pushes back. Hard. Trying to derail what they are doing. But I’m also reminded that the power of love is a much stronger power.

The power of evil comes in many forms, but the most common is fear. Fearfulness leads to violence. We lash out with hurtful words, or even strike out with physical responses. Fearfulness leads to isolation and alienation, blame, scapegoating. We demonize others who aren’t like us.

We build walls, physical and spiritual.

But the reason fear is so seemingly powerful is that is not the greatest power. No. Love is the greatest power, powerful enough to overcome any fear, any evil. Fear isn’t neutral. The power of fear is intelligent, intelligent enough to know it’s the weaker power. So fear has to be very aggressive. And clearly that aggressiveness if paying off for many.

And so I believe we must acknowledge the power of fear, and consciously respond with the power of love. When we do that, fear doesn’t stand a chance.

One way to do that when something specific is identified is to have an “exorcism.” Exorcism comes from a Greek word that means “binding by oath,” and refers to the act of ridding a place or person from an evil demon.

I’m not talking about demons as things. By demon I mean a power that has grabbed hold and won’t let go. It’s the power dynamic of goodness versus evil. That is what the Greek word daimon means.

An evil thing has happened and so we need to respond by doing a loving thing, a faithful thing. To get rid of the bad mojo. I’m sure some of you are saying, “Yeah, right!” right now. So let me speak personally right now.

Sara and I were broken into a few years ago. It was such a violation, and we were shaken emotionally and spiritually. Our home had been invaded. That’s when I thought we needed to have an exorcism, to get rid of the demon that had invaded our home. So we laid out a plan.

We invited some friends over for dinner, and then we went from room to room, describing what had been stolen there or what damage had been done there, the sense of powerlessness and violation. And then we prayed.

I prayed in the first room figuring I would be the designated pray-er, but then a wonderful thing happened. When we went to the next room someone else said they wanted to pray, and so it went from room to room, each of our friends praying for, and reclaiming, in the name of love, our home.

God wants us to be healed, to be made whole again. When we act boldly, in love, healing takes place.

Always has. Always will.