Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Pigs fly

Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me" -- for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times 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 wilds.) Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they 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. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave 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." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:26-39

Several years ago, out on a bike ride we saw pigs airborne. Not very high off the ground, but as Mark and I watched, these clever pigs were getting off the ground. We talk about pigs flying as the height of impossible situations. They are earth bound creatures and we never expect them to be airborne. But as I have learned in my life, things that seemed completely impossible, somehow find a way, through God's grace to happen, despite our doubt and brokenness.

Jesus walks into an impossible situation. A man has been terrorizing his community and himself. Everyone is afraid for him and worn out with trying. Jesus doesn't avoid the horrible circumstances but plunges right in and brings wholeness back to this torn and terrorized human being. Right into the ugliest impossibility, God walks and restores the ravaged and broken. The people react with fear and rejection, while the man stays behind, at Jesus' direction, so that they can all live into the presence of love. God is walking into our impossible places, and promising healing, despite all of our fears.

Today I ask God to help me offer up the impossible in my life, making myself vulnerable to the Creator's touch. May we all not turn from our worst, but rather, embrace our terror and fears trusting God to release us from the impossible. May we not be afraid to invite love into our lives, no matter how hurt and broken we might be.

The Collect

O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving­ kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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