The “devil”, or “accuser”, in our reading today belongs not just in the wild place, leering at Jesus, but in any number of places in present-day Canada. You can hear them by the cash register at Canadian Tire, in the classroom, on the TV, and in our homes. They might look at your skin colour and ask: Where are you from? Sudbury? No. Where are you “really” from?
This season we’ve been exploring stories of call. Calls that were unexpected—like Samuel hearing an unfamiliar voice in the dark. Calls that challenged our old identities and sense of security with new dreams—like Simon Peter or Elsa of Arendelle. Calls that might have surprised those around us, but not the God who created us—like Mary of Magdala.
Does Jesus call us to forgive, accept, and maintain toxic relationships with family? Does Jesus want us to honour abusive parents? For too long the church has preached a message that calls victims of abuse, both physical and emotional, to keep open painful and dangerous family connections for the sake of “Christian family values.” This kind of thinking always infuriated me, and I asked myself, is this how Jesus wanted us to live our lives? But, after turning to the Gospel of Mark, my answer to that question is now an emphatic hell no!