Thursday, July 21, 2011
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea.
The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. Mark 5:1-20
We are all haunted by some demons - mistakes we made, people who have hurt us, traumas that seem to never fade away - all of us have little moments when our past invades our present. We can seem unable to move forward, stuck in some shadowy hurt that lingers. When I was a child, I used to hate going in the basement. It scared me, and haunted my dreams. And yet there was nothing there that every reached out and bit me. But there are other things in life that have scarred me, hurts deep and real, that some times come back to haunt me. Was there something I could have done different? Did I cause that somehow? If I was - you name it - smarter, thinner, more savvy, less trusting - could I have prevented that from happening?
In to the darkest places of our fears and worries, our Gospel lesson speaks today. We are all haunted by demons. The man who Jesus encounters in beset with a throng of demons, and he is healed. The weight of the past, the terror of failure and depression, the deep anxiety that caused him to try to hurt himself - all of it was gone by Gods loving hand. This tormented soul was tormented no longer.
Today, I want to remind us all that there is forgiveness and healing for us all, no matter how many scars and hurts we carry, no matter how many sleepless nights we face, no matter what mistakes we have made. God is alway actively seeking to restore us, to lift the burdens, the demons of our past, so that we might reach out in love to others. May we this day, for the sake of the world, seek healing and restoration in our lives, so that we might share that freedom and healing with others.