Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Casting Out

When Jesus came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go!" So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. Matthew 8:28-34

Healing and radical change are often desired but too often hard to live with. Those of us who have had successful surgery to correct a physical deformity can tell you how painful the aftermath can be. Nothing works like it did before. My mother has often referred to the folks in Physical Therapy, who helped her to wholeness after a knee replacement, as her torturers. We want to be better, but better always has a cost. And sometimes it is a cost which we initially react to with anger and denial.

Jesus takes pity on some men who have been ill for very long. They have struck fear in the people and terrorized the community. Theirs was a terrible illness, and their behavior was violent and unrelenting. When Jesus healed the men the demons took the pigs and threw them in the water. Despite the fact that he brought about what they had begged for, prayed for and desperately needed, they railed against Jesus and tossed him away. We are reminded today, that no matter how angry we are for the change that comes, God is in the midst of it and goodness is coming forth.

Today I ask God to help me embrace very change with joy. May we not fear those things which bring us healing and new life but embrace the love we have been given today.

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