Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Luke 11:14-23

14Now 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 armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Devotional
It has never been my belief that the opposite of good is evil. That concept seems so dualistic and improbable. Nothing in the world is quite that simple. I have always been attracted to the Lurianic Kabbalah concept of tsimtsum, which is the idea that at creation God so completely filled every space that God had to contract God’s self to make space to create, and in that contraction there was an opportunity for the absence of God, which we experience as “evil.”

The absence of God isn’t quite the same thing as the opposite of God. I don’t know if God has enemies. I hope not. I hope that God is always love and that the absence of that is what sometimes makes our world inexplicable, unpredictable, or painful. 

We are living in a time of great uncertainty. We are also presented with neat and tidy dualisms. Democrat or Republican. Liberal or Conservative. True or False. These are always presented as choices, like radio buttons where you can choose one thing at the exclusion of the other. But, as Jesus points out, a kingdom divided becomes a desert. There is no such thing as easy binaries. It never has been as simple as this or that, good or evil, God or Satan. Our world, like the God who created it, is much more intricate. It is much more beautifully diverse than can be so precisely categorized. The choices are always false.

My belief does not have to be your belief. There are not right or wrong ways to believe in God, there are only experiences of the divine that can orient us toward God. Whatever you believe, I hope it is as heartening to you as it is to me that the finger of God can cast out the disorder of “evil” with a single touch. 

The one certain thing is that these next two weeks (or months?) will be uncertain. You will probably see and hear things that sound like evil to you or are at least evidence of the contraction of God. In those moments, be attentive to where you notice the divine spark of creativity and seek the warmth of its light. That is where you will find the kingdom of God.
Prayer
Creator God, we are feeble people. In all things, keep before us the Truth: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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