Thursday, May 26, 2011
When Pigs Fly
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:26-39
Pigs are fairly smart creatures despite being much maligned. The name pig is used as an insult for police and for large people. I been called a pig to my face more than once. And yet there is so much more to a pig than simply size. They are cleaner than most, brightest among the farm animals and capable of fast motion and clever concealment. But we say things like,"when pigs fly", to indicate when the ridiculously impossible happens.
And yet, the impossible happens in God's reign. A tormented soul, ravaged by mental illness was made whole and sane by Jesus in the blink of an eye. The pain and demons which racked his body were sent into the pigs, and they were sent over the edge. Pigs are smart enough not to take their own lives, unless they are riddled with pain. There was enough pain to poison a whole herd. Jesus found a way to not only heal this man but put a whole community on a course of care and faith together. The seemingly impossible made possible.
Today I want to remember that God invites us to seek change even in our darkest and most impossible place, to ask for healing in the most stubborn and relentless situations, and with the most difficult and painful relationships. God was willing to heal the man who had terrorized a whole community and God is willing to heal our darkest places, so that all might know God's love in their lives.