Monday, October 13, 2008


When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Luke 8:33

In the small town where my mom lives, not only do they have great community celebrations, they also have community collections. One day in the fall and one day in the spring is designated as bulk trash day. It generally falls on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend like this one. Starting on Friday or so, people drag out their unwanted large items to the curb. This can be counter tops and sofas, rotten carpets and broken chairs, and a myriad of other items. One of my neighbors drives around and collects any scrap metal he can find and recycles it. He usually gets over $150 dollars for what he brings in. Other folks walk around and scout items and come back after dark with their cars or trucks to collect their finds. I saw a complete well worn wicker set out by the curb one afternoon, which disappeared by the next morning. I saw old cable spools that were used as tables disappear also. Those who have a keen eye and a good memory can even spot items that have been put out before, now put out in front of another house. The people who buy new furniture are often mocked as new comers. But then too, they are watched by a flock of hawks (long time residents), who are hoping they will offer their unwanted items to the bulk trash pick up roulette. Newcomers often put out the best items. Most of my life I have watched chairs change hands, get repainted,refinished and reworked and offered as seating in another kitchen or on another porch. This is recycling, finding possibilities for what was left at the curb, and finding hope for what was clutter and damaged goods.

I believe that God is the ultimate recycler. One look at the yearly cycle of seeding, growth, harvest, decline and rebirth points to a Creator who reuses everything and who finds hope and possibility in things tossed aside. When I was a child, I didn't like this story of the possessed man whom Jesus healed. He made the man better, but allowed the demons to kill all those pigs. I've always had a soft spot for pigs and the story made me cry. But now I know that good always is recycling and restoring while evil is that which tosses value and life away as if it had no value. Our worst sin is that of shutting out possibility and creativity in ourselves, in relationships and with God. We are demon possessed when we are unable to see value in another, when we shut them out and the possibility of encountering God.

Today, I want to find a way to see the possibility in everything and everyone. Even those who have been tossed to the curb and even those who have been rejected as inadequate or unstable. I know the Creator is in the repair and restoration business. God is willing to hang around the curbs of life,and around the junk yard because there are treasures to be found there - in people and in life that can be renewed. May we remember today that the Creator of all life is continually retooling us, remaking us and renewing us so that we might bring life and light to the world. And may we tell those in whom we see possibility and potential that they are loved and needed. It is a message so many need to hear today.

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