Today was my first time back at service after a 3-week’s absence and how wonderful it
felt to be back worshipping and praying in our community!
As it is Remembrance Sunday, we spent some time reflecting on the sacrifice made by
so many so often to assure our freedom. This freedom from war and totalitarianism
that we enjoy in Canada was continued and expanded upon in Andrew’s sermon.
The text comes from our continuing study of the Gospel of Saint Mark – today was
chapter 5, 1-20 – the story of the Madman and Jesus’ healing. In our translation
the demon announces: “My name is Legion,” and in mine (The Message), it’s
rendered “My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.” This illustrates one of the reasons
that I really like The Message translation – it sounds much more immediate to my
As Andrew pointed out, this story is really all about Jesus and His power to heal, but
the other characters in the story are instructive as the reader (or at least this reader)
relates to them more easily.
I am not admitting here to multiple personality disorder, but there have been times
when I have felt like there is a rioting mob within – conflicting values, pressures,
priorities, etc. The resolution to these feelings is, of course, prayer and faith in
the healing power of Christ in our lives. Perhaps not as directly as the Madman
experienced, but the power of the everlasting means exactly this.
The other characters in the story are the farmers tending the pigs. When the demons
inhabit the pigs, freeing the Madman, they die, thus depriving the farmers of their
livelihood, or at least a part thereof. They react, to my mind, logically – they are angry
with Jesus and demand that He leave. They are afraid – of loss, of a terribly strange
occurrence, and perhaps most keenly, of having to adjust to the healed person “no
longer a walking madhouse of a man.”
The challenge that this story leaves with the reader is two-fold – how do we, after
having experienced the healing power of Christ, go forward; and how do others, in
the wake of changed circumstances, adjust. The answer in Mark is that the madman
preached and became “the talk of the town.” Mark does not provide an answer to
how the community reacted, but perhaps the answer is in Andrew’s exhortation to
generosity in all ways that we can.
It was a great day for me to return to service and I hope to work through the response
demanded by this story in the coming week.