Thought for the Day from Richard Barton of All Hallows’:
In the gospel passage today Jesus is confronted in the Synagogue by a man with “an unclean demon” It is likely that the man had what today we would call a psychosis. A psychiatric condition where people hear voices, often telling them negative or destructive things. Like the demon in this man, thinking Jesus has come to destroy him and others.
During the lockdown, people with psychoses and other mental health conditions, together with the psychiatrists and community psychiatric nurses are struggling to work together under distancing conditions to provide the support needed for a condition which is challenging at the best of times. People with psychoses and other mental health problems are often very difficult to be around. These people are often “demonised” by society and people who can’t or won’t understand their condition.
I have a lot of respect for the work of mental health care workers.
I recall the words of a good friend of mine who was a local preacher who said “The people who you find it hardest to love, are invariably the people who need your love most of all”.
Jesus had the confidence and authority to say to the man, be still and to the demon within him, leave him alone.
We may not be qualified mental health professionals, but we can learn about the mental struggles of others, support people where we can and like Jesus, see and love the person beyond the demon.
This is a picture of a crocodile that my wife made, he looks scary but in fact he is made of wool in a process called felting and he is very soft!