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
Today we are driving 8 children to Grace Camp. Grace Camp is a week for children of incarcerated parents. My daughter Emily is accompanying me this year, as she has written a book for just such children and our wonderful chancellor has bought a copy for each of the children. We are delighted and anxious, as we want to be the most help we can but still have to learn what is best. We want to help with their challenges and demons while celebrating the great gifts of each child and family.
Jesus is up against a great challenge in the ill man and the community that has gotten used to his illness. They want him better but they don't want things to change. Healing always comes with change, losing demons always comes with some sort of about face and a measure of loss. We lose the familiar so new flesh, new ways, new life can move in.
Today I ask God to help us see the beauty in each child we will be with this week. May our actions help bring healing where needed and may we celebrate each one as incredible treasures. May God use us all to rid the world of demons, who would destroy goodness and keep beauty and love on hold.
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 lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.