Image by Rebecca K Photography
By Ruth Smith, Trinity United Methodist Church
Sometimes the kids and I take advantage of good weather and take our art supplies to the park. This was one of those days, perfect for spending an hour or two outside instead of sitting inside doing bookwork. I was excited about artmaking together. You wouldn’t know it from my drawing, but most of the hour we spent next to the river was full of complaining, frustrated yelling, and testy outbursts tempered only by the fact we were in public. I am ashamed of the way I spoke to my kids that day, more concerned about my expectations and what I wanted than to what they were trying to communicate to me.
Just a few verses after our passage this week from Mark, Jesus begins his ministry by casting out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28). While today unclean spirits are not part of our cultural vernacular, we all certainly have our own forms of evil. When a pastor pointed this out in a recent sermon, my body immediately tightened up the way it does when I find myself yelling at my kids, just like that day in the park and so many others. I’ve never liked that I react in that way, but I had never thought of it as my particular form of evil. This realization changed the way I prayed; “deliver us from evil” became specific and personal. Lord, deliver me from this particular form of evil. It gives me hope that that piece of me can change and that, instead of remaining a wild beast, Jesus will cast out my unclean spirit. This painting reminds me that even in the worst of days, something beautiful is there as well if only there are eyes to see it differently.