Faith Daily | 24 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 486
Lord God, our Redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery:
free us from the tyranny of sin and death
and, by the leading of your Spirit,
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 11: 14-23
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.’ 16Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists* cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Graham
When we read the first chapter of 2 Kings, we find the name Beelzebub written Ba'al Zəbub, referring to a deity worshipped by the Philistines. The title Baal, meaning "Lord" in Ugaritic, was used in conjunction with a descriptive name of a specific god. There is a difference of opinion as to what the name here means. One suggestion has been that there was a relationship between the Philistine god, and cults of flies. These were regarded as pests, the cause of sickness in people, and the Ba’al responsible for getting rid of them.
Jesus was able to refer to practices and beliefs that had been part of life in order to support claims that he made and the words of advice, comfort and support he offered. Here, he was able to see how possible long-held ideas were influencing and diminishing his stance and his role. Previously in the parable of the Good Samaritan, he had used the practices of exclusion which countered his principles to demonstrate the rightness of being a good neighbour. He had told people how to pray with the words we now know as the Lord’s Prayer. Now he was inverting the ideas of his critics to confirm his teaching that there is one God.
And so we, each and every one of us, is called to follow in his footsteps. We are fortunate in today’s society to have so many ways to support us in times of trouble or even crisis. And while we may look to these supports for ways to deal with the situations and work through them, if possible, we remember that there is one God, and that God’s presence is with us at the time. And as we give thanks to God and to anyone responsible for the help we are given, then as well we are helping to “gather” as Jesus calls us to, through the love of God we share in that moment.
FINAL PRAYER: (from A New Zealand Prayer Book)
You, O God, are supreme and holy. You create our world and give us life. Your purpose overarches everything we do. You have always been with us. You are God.
You, O God, are infinitely generous, and beyond all measure. You came to us before we came to you. You have revealed and proved your love for us in Jesus Christ, who lived and died and rose again. You are with us now. You are God.
You, O God, are Holy Spirit. You empower us to be your gospel in the world. You reconcile and heal; you overcome death. You are our God. We worship you.