Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
Have you ever had moments when life comes rushing at you with all its changes, or you find yourself moving from one thing to another so rapidly you can’t think clearly? Take a moment to identify one word that describes your feelings as you think about the world right now?
When I explored this question with several friends and colleagues, here are the words they shared: afraid, anxious, confused, angry and unsettled. The word I chose came to mind for me was “chaos”. The dictionary defines chaos as a “state of utter confusion, disorder; a total lack of organization.” This is the word described in the scene Jesus faced as he arrives in the region of Gerasenes at the town of Garsa.
Jesus and his disciples had already experienced the chaos of the sea and now he arrives on shore and is met by a naked man nicknamed “Legion” who is obviously out of control. The label of legion tells us how deeply disturbed he is. A Legion is a unit of 6000 fully armed Roman soldiers sent by Rome to maintain the peace. Controlled by many demons the man has no home by the local grave yard where he roamed among the dead because no chains could restrain him.
He was loose but not unchained from his inner turmoil. Jesus and the disciples have already experienced chaos in getting here. In Luke 8:22-25 Jesus is awakened from a deep sleep as a storm arises and he rescues the fearful disciples who are amazed that Jesus has control over the winds and waves. Asserting God’s power over nature; Jesus has dominion over demons & evil.
What Jesus does is instructive. First, he does not deny the chaos in nature or human beings. Jesus names them and with God’s help brings healing. Secondly, Jesus uses tools God has given us for dealing with chaos. Jesus turned to faith, scripture and and depended upon a growing relationship with God. A vital truth in this story is that there is nowhere God won’t go to free us from demons—those experienced by the man and us. Unchained! For what? Because God does this for us in Jesus we are to offer that today to everyone— No exceptions.
June 23, 2019; Cycle C; 2nd Sunday of Pentecost
1st Kings19:1-15; Psalms 42&43 Gal.3:23-29; *Luke 8: 26-39