Collect of the Day
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gospel Reading of the Day, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 ‘Let us alone! 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.’ 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36 They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, ‘What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!’ 37 And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
Isn't Jesus' authority the issue here? The people in the synagogue were astounded at this teaching -- he spoke with authority. And, even the "unclean spirit" was obedient and came out of the man. From the most respectable people in Capernaum to the demon who possessed the man -- they all knew there was something about Jesus they had not experienced before. There was a authority within him that had everyone's attention. What was that authority?
I believe that authority flowed from his relationship with God the Father. He was in God and God was in him. This was the lens through which Jesus saw the people around him that day -- and that is what they sensed about him. As Marcus Borg might put it, "Jesus was full of God." That relationship had integrity, intimacy and power that was within and beyond Jesus.
But less we get caught up in the "wow-ness" of Jesus and his authority -- remember he invited us to follow him -- to take on his way of being in the world -- to be incarnational. When we come to know God as our "Beloved" and learn that we in turn are God's Beloved, there can be an authority in us that is transforming not just for us but for those around us -- from the most influential to the most mariginalized.
If we could only catch the vision.