Trusted Authority

Trusted Authority

What is your relationship like with authority?  That’s the question we’ll start with as we delve into our scripture reading from Mark this Sunday.  Do you tend to trust people in authority?  Do you engage them with caution or suspicion?  How does someone or something become authoritative in your life?  Do you like for others to see you as one with authority or does the idea of that give you the willies?

In our passage for Sunday, Jesus is at the beginning of his public ministry and people (in addition to other powers) are discovering him as “one with authority.”  That authority was conferred after people not only heard Jesus’ teaching but witnessed Jesus exorcise an “unclean spirit” or a “demon” from a man who was present in the synagogue.  People responded to Jesus, both his words and his actions, sensing that he was authentic and a trustworthy authority.

Our focus on Jesus as “trusted authority” will guide us into a time of reflection about trusting Jesus as the one who stills the waters at certain times, bringing peace and calm, and who troubles the waters at other times.  We’ll think about the “demons” of our modern day, personal and corporate, and how Jesus engages them…how Jesus invites us, the Church, the body of Christ, to engage them as well.

I hope you’ll join us for online worship at 9:00 as we offer our praise and thanks to God, as we connect with God’s love, community and call and as we explore these issues together.  Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below.  If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link.  Drop-ins are welcome!  Looking forward to being together on Sunday!

Pastor Lori

Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)

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.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your relationship like with “authority?”  How has that evolved in your life?
  2. Who or what is a trusted authority for you?
  3. How do you think about/talk about evil in our modern day?
  4. What forces does Jesus “call out” today?  What is the role or responsibility of the church in joining him?

One Comment

    David DeBus

    Found all four of these questions wonderful. “He spoke as one having authority” our Book tells us about Jesus as a youth. I think it is a kind of mastery, in the sense of this passage. But there are other meanings as well. We should really have separated words for “the authorities” who bullied demonstrators in the civil rights era and recently with the George Floyd demonstrations. The Carrie Lam authority in Hong Kong is illegitimate as well. Xi Jinping’s authority to commit genocide against Tibetans, Uighers, Muslims in Western China is one that has seemed to become huge. I heard and saw Vladimir Putin yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, who paraded his authority by seeming to appear knowledgeable about many world problems—in a truly frightening calm and somehow over-confident mood.

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