SPIRIT versus spirit

In our Sunday (1/25) reading from Mark 1:21-28 we are on the move with Jesus.  Mark uncovers the story of Jesus quickly, beginning with Jesus’ baptism, then into the wilderness tempted by the devil; moving on to teach, heal and cast out demons.  In these few verses Jesus enters a synagogue to teach and is immediately recognized for who he is by an “unclean spirit.”  Why is it that an “unclean spirit” recognizes Jesus as the Holy One of God when others throughout the rest of Mark are so slow to catch on?

Today, demons and unclean spirits occupy very little of our attention compared to illness, injuries or other maladies that Jesus addressed in his ministry.  Do “unclean spirits” no longer haunt us while physical pain and illness continue to persist?  Or do we do we simply miss the point about “unclean spirits?”  Could “unclean spirits” simply be a spirit other than a holy one?  Here are some contrasting spirits:

  a spirit that blesses <> a spirit that curses

  a spirit that builds up <> a spirit that tears down

  a spirit that encourages <> a spirit that discourages

  a spirit speaking positively <> a spirit speaking negatively

  a spirit that promotes love <> a spirit that sows hate

  a spirit that brings together <> a spirit that splits apart

Do you recognize these differing spirits?  Do you think faith and the love of God could cast out some of these?  Do our non-holy spirits recognize the Holy Spirit coming to help us?

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