“What do we do when we are scared?” … Adonai’s words: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” – The papa of little Mary Magdalene
I committed to this series of reflections on The Chosen episodes, and in light of the recent church vandalism at Ss. Peter and Paul here in Wilmington and St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda – on top of the increasing hatred, violence, and destruction wreaking havoc in our country – this seems to be perfect timing.
Episode One tells the story of Mary Magdalene who we know from Scripture was possessed by seven demons. Mind you, hers is an intense journey with a heart-breaking beginning eventually leading to a beautiful ending. (Be forewarned – our children hid under blankets during particular scenes)
Other characters are introduced, wrought with inner turmoil and desperate situations. As the minutes went by and a vivid depiction of human brokenness was clearly drawn out for us, the kids kept asking me and Gary, “When is Jesus coming? When is Jesus coming?” because they know by both knowledge and experience that Jesus makes everything better. When the Lord finally makes His presence known, there is a spark of hope and a torrent of tears upon seeing how divine goodness and power heal through love.
On more than a few occasions I have witnessed demons torment people, showing intense resistance to releasing the poor souls they have been attached to for so long. It always takes faith in the name of Jesus, focused prayer in the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s merciful hand to finally free them from their deep-rooted anguish. And we would thank Jesus every time for the peace that would follow. Straight out of the Gospels is how I would describe these encounters where the glory of the kingdom is made as real on earth as it is in Heaven.
The words of Nicodemus in this episode ring true: “Only God Himself could have drawn them out.” These spirits exist, and they are very active in our world. Those of you who know me well understand that I would not make this up. For 20 years, I have read, studied, and “sat at the feet” of mentors and spiritual directors who are trained to meet pain and evil face-to-face. It is an important part of my spiritual formation I don’t openly share, but given the present state of our times, I have realized that the bushel basket needs to come off.
Why? Because I cannot sit back watching more of our brothers and sisters struggling alone without meeting the Love who can save them. There is still work to be done in my own heart…deeper wounds that this quarantine has brought to the surface…but at this point I know too much to keep the fullness of the message to myself.
So praise God for Dallas Jenkins, Jonathan Roumie, and the rest of the cast and crew of The Chosen. In the following episodes and coming seasons, they will show us who we really are and who He really is. If you need to rewatch the show multiple times like I do, feel free to download the app on your phone…and as I said before, make sure to grab some tissue before you hit play. It’s that good.