Reader’s Theater: Jesus Drives Out an Unclean Spirit (Mark 1:21-28)

A Demoniac in the Synagogue by James Tissot

A Demoniac in the Synagogue by James Tissot

Reader’s Theatre: Jesus Drives Out an Unclean Spirit
Based on Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)
Parts: Narrator One, Narrator Two, Man, Jesus
With optional singing

Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum.
When the sabbath came, Jesus 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,

MAN – Crying 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.

JESUS- Rebuking him
Be silent, and come out of him!

NARRATOR ONE- MAN cries out as crying is referenced
And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.

Optional- Instrumentation begins and continues through the singing of the song.

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.

I’m so Glad Jesus Lifted Me
The Faith We Sing #2151

Adapted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I’m so Glad Jesus Lifted Me. African American Spiritual, Public Domain
Found in The Faith We Sing #2151

Reader’s Theater: Jesus Drives Out an Unclean Spirit (Mark 1:21-28)
© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

#LukeActs2014: Demons Where God's Word Dwells (Luke 4:31-37)

GargoyleDemons Where God’s Word Dwells
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
based on Luke 4:31-37

Luke 4:31 NRSV
In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon…

The realization is unsettling
Demons where God’s Word dwells
Sanctuary no longer safe
The holy place corrupted
Infiltrated by evil

Look again
The demon is not at large and in charge

The impure spirit makes its home in a person
The person makes his way to the place of safety

The holy place welcomes the one in need
Perfection is not required for entry
Since grace is not corrupted by even our deepest need

No need to hide our needs
Let it out! Let it shout!
Recognize and be recognized in the Holy One of God

Evil would have him/Him flee
Jesus will not leave
Jesus is not intimidated
Or disgusted
By our demons

His power, His authority take aim
He orders the evil gone
The evil leaves, but not without a fight

He orders our chaos
Brings out the quiet
The peace be still

Healing and Hope have come to us
With us
In us
Spread the news

Demons Where God’s Word Dwells © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Reading for the week of January 26: Luke 4
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Into the Wilderness (Luke 8)

Jesus Heals and Demon Possessed Man by Joseph Michael Brown

Based on Luke 8:26-39

Luke 8:29 CEB
… and the demon would force him into the wilderness.

Before Jesus frees the demon-possessed man, his neighbors would try to bind him with leg irons and chains and guards. It didn’t work. He would break the restraints and overcome the guards and be forced into the wilderness. You might know what that’s like. Brokenness… Isolation… Life as wild as your surroundings.

Jesus knows the wilderness, too. Before he begins his public ministry, the Spirit leads him into that very place. (Luke 4:1-13) Forty days and forty nights we can’t begin to imagine. The evil one tries to break him but fails again and again. The wilderness for Jesus becomes a place of preparation, like the wilderness wanderers of old. Just like them, he is not alone. Just like them, he is offered the path of deliverance and salvation. Jesus emerges ready to lead and light the way.

Jesus knows the wilderness, its beauty, and its danger.
Because he has been there before he will not hesitate to go there to find us
In our brokenness, isolation, and wildness
In our battles with disease and mental illness and addiction
In our lives of poverty and prejudice and fear and evil

Because he has been there before he can offer us what he found
Wholeness, belonging, new life

Because he has been there before he can lead us out.

Because we have been there and been there with him,
We can join him in leading out others


Into the Wilderness © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Click for another post on this text entitled Resisting Temptation

Click for another post entitled Quotes: The Wilderness

For more information on the art, scripture translations and the use of this post in other settings, please leave a comment.

A few thoughts on demons

St Michael’s Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein located on the wall of Coventry Cathedral, England. This photo is especially powerful since the angle of the light creates a cross from Michael’s spear.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Our society is possessed, Christians as much as anyone. We are possessed by violence, possessed by sex, possessed by money, possessed by drugs. We need to recover forms of collective exorcism as effective as was the early Christian baptism’s renunciation of “the devil and all his works.” -Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers

The enemy’s behavior is like that of a military leader who wishes to conquer and plunder the object of his desires. Just as the commander of an army pitches his camp, studies the strength and defenses of a fortress, and then attacks it on its weakest side, in like manner the enemy of our human nature studies from all sides our theological, cardinal and moral virtues. Wherever he finds us weakest and most in need regarding our eternal salvation he attacks and tries to take us by storm.
Ignatius Loyola

James 4:7-8 (NRSV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I didn’t know what to call it. I don’t believe in devils, but demons I do because everyone at one time or another has some kind of a demon, even if you call it by another name, that drives them. – Gene Wilder

One of the skills of the pastor is to create the space, the ‘synagogue’, where our madness can come face to face with the holiness of Jesus. That also means coming to terms with our own madness. –William Loader

For some reason God allows us to live in a world where alternatives to God’s voice exist (for instance, the serpent, Genesis 2:25-3:13) and those alternatives to God’s voice are where shame originates and there is another term for alternatives to God’s voice and it is that which we call the demonic. Shame, when it keeps us hiding and blaming and fearful is demonic. And Jesus, as we hear in our Gospel text for today has no patience for this. Jesus just absolutely insists on destroying the false voices that shame. (Mark 3:20-35) – Nadia Bolz Weber, Sermon: A re-telling of Adam and Eve and that Damned Snake

Evil is the shadow of angel. Just as there are angels of light, support, guidance, healing and defense, so we have experiences of shadow angels. And we have names for them: racism, sexism, homophobia are all demons…. –Matthew Fox

Luke 9:1-2 (NRSV)
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Another of the elders said: When the eyes of an ox or mule are covered, then he goes round and round turning the mill wheel: but if his eyes are uncovered he will not go around in the circle of the mill wheel. So too the devil if he manages to cover the eyes of a man, he can humiliate him in every sin. But if that man’s eyes are not closed, he can easily escape from the devil. – Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert

In Venice in the Middle Ages there was once a profession for a man called a codega— a fellow you hired to walk in front of you at night with a lit lantern, showing you the way, scaring off thieves and demons, bringing you confidence and protection through the dark streets. ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Where there is prayer, the fallen spirits have no power.
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Your worst nightmare,
your most frightening demon,
the most evil power that threatens you,
stalking your darkness and oppressing your days,
even Satan himself,
is in bigger trouble than he thinks.
Take joy in this most gracious of crimes:
the Humble One
has gone in through his terrible back door
disguised in sorrow, scorn and weakness,
and tied up the strong man,
stripped him naked,
exposing the sham of his glory,
robbed him of all his treasures,
emptied his powers,
and plundered his house of shame.
There’s nothing left of him but your fears.
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Tying up the strong man based on Mark 3:22-27

Click here for a raw and challenging sermon on this scripture entitled Demon Possession and Why I Named My Depression “Francis” by Nadia Bolz-Weber.

O Mighty One, Loving One,
O Capable Hand, O Willing Heart,
cast out my demons,
my fear and inadequacy,
and fill me with your Spirit instead,
the power to resist evil,
to set free from the grip of the demonic
what is human, what is fragile and beautiful,
what is yours
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Cast Out My Demons based on Mark 1:23-27

For more information on use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.