Monday, August 10, 2015

Exorcism, Captain Hook & the Armour of God

There was a fantastic turnout at lux.teachings as we gathered in the parish’s very own ‘upper room’. It was great to see such a mixture of different people: the crowd was made up of young people from the parish, young people from nearby Sacred Heart in Flitwick and we even had some young people from Italy and Spain who were spending some of their summer holidays over here: staying with families in the parish.


Once everybody was there, we began to consider our topic for the evening: Exorcism, evil and the Victory of Christ. Wow, definitely not a lightweight topic!


We spent a bit of time thinking about some of our favourite Disney characters (well why not?!) and we soon realised that, in a Disney film, it’s usually pretty obvious who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. I mean just look at Captain Hook. You need only look at him to see he’s bad news.


But is this the case in our spiritual life? Well actually, yes! We know who the good guy is. (Spoiler alert: It’s God). And he’s definitely on our side:


Through Jesus Christ the invisible God becomes visible…He walks every path with us. He is there in our abandonment, our sufferings, our fear of death. He is there when we can go no farther, so as to open up for us the door leading to life. (YOUCAT #9)


But what about the bad guy? We don’t talk about the devil that much, but he’s definitely real as well: Sometimes it’s pretty clear when we are being tempted by him but sometimes it’s harder to recognise him in the subtle temptations and urges we all face.


Does that sound scary? In fact, it doesn’t need to be: God gives us everything we need to resist evil. St. Paul used the image of a suit of armour to remind us that God has got us covered, and that he will equip us to resist temptation. He writes:


Stand your ground with truth buckled around your waist and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet, the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword. (Ephesians 6:14-17)


We then had a bit of ‘prayer-obics' to try and remember this passage from Ephesians, acting out the different pieces of the armour of God.  


Canon Bennie then talked to the group about exorcism which, put simply, is a form of prayer, in which we ask for God’s help in our struggle against evil. Does an exorcism look anything like Hollywood might have us believe? Not likely, said Canon Bennie. The truth is, that if we went to an exorcism, we might be quite bored! That’s not to say there is anything boring about the victory of Christ over darkness, but there’s not going to be head-spinning and green slime everywhere! It’s likely to be a very long service with lots of different prayers being prayed. Canon Bennie described an exorcism in which the person being exorcised even fell asleep!


Lastly we reflected upon the victory that has been won for us in Christ: through his cross, death and Resurrection. We watched this clip that pretty much says it all. Thank you to Canon Bennie for having us, to the adult parishioners who came along to support us (and particularly for the great display that went up in the parish room about our teachings topic!) and of course to all the young people who came along. Check out some photos of the evening here.