5th Sunday after Pentecost
June 23, 2013
Luke 8: 26-29
Readers Theater begins our sermon this morning:
Local Dealer Loses Prize-winning Herd of Swine, Story at 11:00!
Reporter: Ginny Beard from KGEZ, Gerasene TV News. I am here with Mr Jimmy Bar-Justus with tonight’s story. Mr Bar-Justus, can you tell us what happened to your pigs?
J Bar-J: Yeah. They went crazy. That guy over there was talking to the crazy guy. The crazy guy was yelling at him, calling him God, the Most High, and begging him to go away and leave him alone. The crazy guy was lying on the ground and tearing his hair, shouting all kinds of stuff. I saw him wave at the pigs, and the tall one, I think someone said he was from Galilee across the Lake, pointed his finger at the guy on the ground. He said something I couldn’t hear and pointed to my pigs and they went nuts. They ran right into the lake. What am I gonna do now? That was my prize-winning boar in that herd. He was the ticket to send my kids to college. Someone’s gotta pay for this? I went to get the cops. They’ll figure it out.
Reporter: Thanks, Mr Bar-Justus. (turns to audience) I’m going to talk to one of these women who came out from town. (Turns toward Town Lady) Ma’am, can you tell us anything about the man?
Town lady: I don’t know anything about the stranger, but I sure can tell you about the crazy guy.
Reporter: Crazy guy?
Town lady: Yeah, that guy on the rock sitting next to the stranger. He’s all quiet and dressed up now, but he lives out here in the graveyard next to the field with the pigs. His family just gave up on him years ago. You can’t tie him down, he rants and raves and rips his clothes off. They tried to lock him up, but he likes it outside, out here where no one bothers him. So we just leave him alone and let him be. I have never seen him so quiet before. Did you see what happened to the pigs, someone told me that they went nuts and ran into the lake. Jimmy’s really gonna be ticked off. Those pigs were his pride and joy.
Reporter: Thanks, Ma’am, for letting me talk to you.
(Turns to camera) I’m going to talk to the two men who started all this.
(Just then Jesus, gets up and starts to walk away)
Reporter: Wait, Sir. Can I ask you some questions?
Jesus: You should talk to him (gestures to the “crazy guy” sitting on the edge of the crowd), he can tell you the whole story.
Reporter (turns to ‘crazy guy’) Sir, can you tell me what happened?
CG: Well, yeah. That man, his name is Jesus, he saved me. All my life I have been tortured by hateful voices and horrible dreams. I had millions of demons in my head and they wouldn’t ever let me rest. When Jesus got out of the boat at the shore, they just went berserk. I fell down and thrashed around, worse than I’d ever done. I just can’t explain it. Most of the time people run away from me, but he didn’t. He told my voices to be quiet, and they did. Then they began to whimper and cry that they couldn’t go back into the dark places of my dreams. The man said they could go into the pigs. And they went away. He took my hand and raised me up and asked one of his men for some clothes for me. I can’t believe it. It’s quiet in my head, and I can go back to my family. My mom will be so glad to see me like this. That Jesus, he knew what I needed and he wasn’t afraid of me. He told me that it was God’s power that healed me, and I believe him. Nothing else has been able to free me. I wanted to go with him, but he said I should just go home and tell everyone how God was so good to me. I’ll thank God all my life for this. Maybe I can help someone else now.
Reporter: Thanks for telling us your story.
(Turns to audience.) So there you have it. That’s the pig story from KGEZ News, Gerasene TV.
Nice story! And pretty dramatic. Luke tells us that Jesus ventured all the way across the Lake, calming the storm on the way – evidently just to heal this man who was so tortured and tormented. It may feel like a news story from the First Century only, but we all know that there are still plenty of demons out there in our own world. Advertising tells us that we are not good enough, pride and fear keep us isolated from those who have the same griefs and sorrows that we carry. Economic ups and downs rob people of the ability to provide for their families, mental illness and addiction rob families of their loved ones and steal people’s very lives away. That is besides just he ordinary things like illness and failure and need. We could spend the day listing all the torments of life.
Jesus still comes for us over the water, zeroing in on all the torments that rob us of the joy and peace of life. He walks with us in the prayers of those who are our community, in the healing that modern medicine brings, and in his quiet presence when we despair. God’s love is never ineffective, it is never absent, it is always powerful enough to heal our hurts and heartbreaks. The lesson in this story is not only that Jesus was able to publicly drive out the demons that tortured this man and effect the healing that restored him to his family, but that he is still at it. Present for us as we are present for each other. And he tells us also to share the story of what God has done for us. That is the story the world wants to hear. Amen.
Now may the peace that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.