Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pentecost 4c - Luke 8:26-39

Luke 8:26-39
The man set free from demons is the hope of every parent, sister, brother or friend of a loved one shackled by insanity, tormented by self abuse or consumed by addiction. The story is recorded in Mathew, Mark & Luke and it would seem from the narrative, especially the details of self mutilation in the Gospel of Mark, that the man was chained as much for his own protection as he was to protect others from his violent behavior. No doubt the man of Gerasene had family and friends who like their counterparts in our time prayed desperate prayers and hoped and wept and blamed and despaired and prayed again. And so when the shackles of insanity are finally broken and the Legion possessed pigs take the demons to the deep it seems odd that the people are afraid and tell Jesus, as politely as possible, to get out of Dodge. On the other hand it makes perfect sense that the man now in his right mind pleads to go with Jesus and if permitted I imagine would have died rather than desert or deny him when the time came to choose. But Jesus sends him home and because he does the next time Jesus steps out of a boat in Gerasene people recognize him immediately and run “throughout that whole region bringing the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was… begging him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak...”(Mark 6:55, 56) The possessed man now in his right mind has changed the minds of the people of Gerasene by the telling of his story and the witness of his life. There is healing in hope that springs from touching Jesus through the love and care and support and encouragement of people in their “right minds” concerning the promise of God to deliver us, as Luther put it, from sin, death and the devil. It may be that healing happens as it did in Gerasene. It may be that healing is the strength to endue another day. It may be that healing is the courage to make difficult decisions born of love for the possessed. But however it happens the only way minds and lives are changed is when we who have been set free share our story and the witness of our lives so that those still bound might experience the blessing of a right mind.

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