Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/26/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Stockton UMC
Woodston UMC
Hays District
Grinnell UMC
Winona: First UMC
Hays District
District Superintendent
Hutchinson District
Salina District
Administrative Assistant
Hutchinson District
Salina District

Today's Lectionary Text

Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Today's Devotional

“Because I’m the mom and I said so!” I wonder how many times I used this phrase when my children were young. It was not our preferred method of relating to our girls. However, when I was tired or frustrated or distracted it would pop out of my mouth. A few times it needed to be used, but only for emphasis and safety.

I was exerting my authority, my power. This was the kind of power that demanded obedience. No excuses because that is what the rules required. The kind of authority the scribes could claim in today’s Scripture passage.

The audience was accustomed to witnessing power being used and to following what it required. Sometimes that authority was applied with a heavy hand; at other times it was exerted in calm, rational, other-focused ways. Was it compelling authority? What gave the authority its power? Was it an authority that created a desire to comply? Did it make one want to follow?

That’s the kind of power Jesus displayed, the type of authority he had. When Jesus used that power in today’s reading it astounded folk. It went beyond their expectation or imagination. The results were amazing and palpable. The authority was not concrete, visible, or tangible. It was not encoded in a book somewhere. It came from a Mystery. At the heart of that Mystery was Love. At the heart of the Mystery was God. The power led folk into deeper places. In those places they wanted to obey and respond. As they responded they were filled with new hope and great joy. The listeners found themselves encircled by that Mystery. Perhaps, each realized in his or her own way, that life could be transformed as they allowed themselves to be filled with that Mystery.

As each was filled with this magnetic and hope-filled Mystery he or she may have realized that he or she could be a conduit for the power as well. Allowing Jesus’ words and actions to fill them would lead to their own empowerment. Then each would be propelled out into the world to spread caring and peace, to offer hope by espousing and working for justice, and to bring the world a few steps closer to God’s dream of a reign of righteousness. We can each be a recipient of this kind of compelling power. As we open ourselves to it, each of us can be pushed out into the world ready to act in a manner that we do best. May it be so.

-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Deacon
Wichita, KS

Prayer for Reflection

Holy God, Open our hearts to the needs of the world. Use us to respond in ways that bring the world nearer to your intention. Show each of us our unique part in this work and help us to do our part. In the name of the one who taught and acted with power. Amen


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