If we set aside all the worries about demons, animal cruelty and the welfare of the swineherd, what is the story of the healing of the demoniac of Gerasene teaching us? It speaks of the most outcast, the most impure, most afflicted person in a community becoming the messenger of hope for the whole community. He became the one who brought the message of the kingdom.
Jesus trusted the Spirit to work in him. When we realise that the feeding of the 4,000 took place in the region of the Gerasenes, in the region around the Decapolis, I wonder if his mission yielded more fruit than we could imagine. Maybe his message was the fish and loaves that fed so many.
Also, the fact that this was he region of the Decapolis, a region where the Romans held sway and brutally oppressed the people, indicates the trauma the local people must have experienced and were experiencing. This story is loaded with significance.
However, Jesus trusted the man with the good news. The one who was in the depths of affliction and rejection became a beacon of hope.
Jesus’ message heals and turns things upside down. Paul, says, ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.’ Everything is reconciled. We have been entrusted with this message.
What do we think the ‘and’ in ‘male and female’ signifies? In Jesus there is no division. This is referencing Genesis, expressing the fundamental unity of being in Christ; a reality that predates the complementarity of Adam and Eve. The phrase, one step forward two steps back, comes to mind when we see the history of Christianity. Is now the time when we can finally take back that step and return to new testament Christianity?
Listen to this wise lady church leader who speaks of the church and knife crime:
Maybe, through the work of the place of the church, the young people who seek sanctuary will bring a message of hope. Maybe a young person who encounters the healing presence of Christ in the Church may begin, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me” and go on to find healing, be clothed and take a place at the feet of Jesus with Mary the sister of Martha.
Sunday 23rd June 2019
…All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. …As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus…
…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.
This resource is an offering from The Vanderbilt Divinity Library at: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
As God leads, let us be constant in our prayer for
- The Church;
- Creation, human society, those in authority;
- The local community;
- Those who suffer;
- Our community.
We meet at the chapel on a Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40pm for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer during school term time