So Mark's Gospel reading today centers around this child possessed by a spirit, and the boy's father making a request of Jesus to drive it out. He says,
"Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so."
In reflecting on this tonight with the Visitation Sisters, I was struck by this image of a foaming mouth. This gurgling unattractiveness, the rigidity of the body, and grinding teeth. When I hear that it is a "mute spirit" taken hold of the child, I think of how captive this boy must be. No words are uttered, only this fixed and foaming, unwell presence....
I'm taken so many places around the planet where foaming, frothy, unattractive, spaces of rigidity and unwellness seem to be:
Yes, this image of a boy foaming at the mouth is most unpleasant, but took me to so much of unpleasant foaming in the world....
The hunger in Somalia, in Haiti, in so many countries.... The violence in Johannesburg around immigrants from warring countries.... The scarred psyches of the Chinese citizens in the aftermath of the earthquake.... The craze and disruption in Zimbabwe since the "election"... The clinging and desire to control information and recovery in Burma.... The civil war still ravaging people in Iraq.... The mute voices of racism, abuse, dysfunction, hatred in our countries, in leadership, in our court systems... The terror right here in our own hearts and communities... So much foaming...
And Jesus says,
"this will only be healed by prayer."Let's pray for that kind of prayer. That kind of healing. Let's ask for the wisdom and ways free from all that inhabits us in unwell ways. Let's pray for that which dispels the silent terrors; pray for freedom from all that takes hold of us, that ravages us to the ground, that freezes us with its possession.
May fullness be known. Liberation. Healing. New Life. Now.