Lenten Devotional: Wednesday, March 23

by George Miller

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
RENEWING OF YOUR MIND,  that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

SPRING began last Sunday as we celebrated with our individual palm branches at Church, and today the MOON is completely FULL, continuing evidence of the Good Orderly Direction of our Universe, as we continue our Lenten walk to Jerusalem with Jesus.

Two years ago in our adult Sunday School,  I taught a class on our respective “demons” which we individually listed,  and shared how they keep us from becoming WHO WE REALLY ARE as God created us.  We then burned all of the anonymous lists in the large granite flower pot behind 717.

The theologian, Richard Rohr, says in his book, The Little Way: A Spirituality of Imperfection, that  addressing  of our demons requires understanding and spiritual healing; not condemnation of ourselves for  moral failure.  He believes this is a gigantic breakthrough,  and says Pope Francis gets it right when he says the Church should be a “FIELD HOSPITAL ON THE EDGE OF THE BATTLEFIELD OF LIFE.”

Neither the healing of our demons (from people, our thinking, or things (addiction, money, toys),  NOR the overcoming of sin will happen by mere willpower, by just gritting our teeth to do it.  He suggests that a “Vital Spiritual Experience” appears to be necessary in the process of this healing and that this parallels the teachings of Jesus.  Accordingly, he suggests that the qualities of willingness, vulnerability, surrender and powerlessness keep us open to the on ongoing healing and love from God.  This is also how human love relationships work: in a dance of mutual honesty and vulnerability, grace and forgiveness.

The Gospels are illustrated with many stories of demonic possession. Under these influences we also are many times unable to do what is in our own best interest – the language of “the devil made me do it” is fairly accurate.  Such “demons” must indeed be “exorcised by a positive encounter with a much more powerful loving SOURCE.  Jesus enters the situation, and the demons are exposed and disempowered.  In moments of sincere divine communion, our demons show themselves to be false and temporary solutions to our very real loneliness and emptiness.

Most of our demons are not addictions per se, but rather repetitive patterns of thinking and reacting.  Spiritual traditions at the highest levels have discovered that a primary addiction for all humans is an addiction to our own way of thinking. Eckhart Tolle now says, 98% of human thought is “repetitive and useless.”  When we see how self-serving, how petty, how narcissistic , and how compulsive our thinking can be, it might even be called “possessed.”

He suggests the only way to be delivered from our demons is to find oneself inside a “body of resurrection” (Romans 6:4),  In other words,  experience of a deeper love entanglement absorbs all our negativity and nameless dread of life and the future. Paul’s code phrase for this positive realigned place is en Cristo, which is to live by choice and embodiment within the force field of the Risen Christ.

So it appears the only cure for our demonic possession is repossession – by Something Greater, and until we have found our own ground and connection to the whole, we are unsettled, grouchy, and on the edge of falling apart. This  repossession is called a Vital Spiritual Experience.  Afterward, we know rightly who we really are, that we belong in this world, and that we are being held by some Larger Force.  For some seemingly illogical reason life then feels okay and even good and right and purposeful.  THIS is what it feels like to be “saved.”

God, I turn my whole self over to you,
with all my demons, compulsions, hurts
fears and resentments.  RENEW MY
MIND and transform my life.