Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As Jesus 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
I have been unable to write this blog for a few days. We were at convention and I don't have wifi at my home in Helena yet. We traveled from Helena to Billings for convention and saw some beautiful country side and mountains along the way. There were places along the way that might have been identified as buffalo jumps, those places where local native people would have driven the buffalo in order to trap them. These are places of great power and are held in great reverence, as were the buffalo. The animals were never over hunted but the people took what they needed using every part. With the advent of European fur traders, the sacred buffalo hunt became a reckless slaughter.
Jesus finds a man suffering so severely that the whole village is afraid. His family is afraid of him. The healing made them even more afraid. God's mighty works can startled and frightened us. These can be beyond our understanding. The miracles of God never invite us to destroy others, or take over what was others. The evil within the man destroyed the people's means of survival. It was a moment they would never forget and that place would always be holy to them. Despite their fear, God had stepped in and made whole the most troubled and the most violently tormented. And God promises that for us alos.
On this day, which some people celebrate Columbus Day, and some of us celebrate Indigenous Day of Survival, may we all remember with reverence the mighty gifts of God. May we seek release for the troubled and still expect miracles of love and trnasformation in our tiem.