This Sunday begins the Advent season, I will be preaching from Mark 5: 1-17. In this text, Jesus encounters a man at the low ends of life. This is a story of hope and transformation.
When Jesus asked him, “what is your name?” the man replied, “I am Legion, for we are many.”
Theological scholars agree that Legion refers to a Roman army unit of about 6000 soldiers. So when this man says that he is Legion, in a practical sense he is saying, “My life is broken into thousands of pieces. I am fragmented and fractured. I don't know my true self”
He had been dispossessed of himself and his humanity by powers beyond his control. His life had been shattered into pieces. He was in fact alien to himself and alienated from his life. He no longer lived in a house with family in the city, but he lived in the tombs.
Sometimes life has a way of disorienting us and we lose our bearings. It takes us through a place and time of separation, loneliness, and isolation. Sometimes we become exiled from ourselves and from loved ones. I have been there! Each of us could tell about a time when we felt our life was shattered. It could be dreams and hopes or the death of a loved one etc.
Just like in this story, Jesus comes into our lives. Jesus comes unafraid of death or the tombs in which this man lives. He is not distracted by the man’s craziness. He is not repulsed by the man’s nakedness or appearance. He comes to us as the savior, redeemer and healer.
“When the man 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?”
Within this brother’s question are recognition and fear. Jesus stands before this brother and before us with a truth that challenges us at the places in which our lives have become fragmented and distorted. He then brings transformation and wholeness into our lives.
As Suzanne Guthrie puts it, “Transformation and healing requires confrontation and bold truth telling. If you can't name the disease, how can you find the proper cure?”
In this story, evil finds its name revealed, and, shouting and protesting in fear, it trembles in the presence of Holiness.”
We will go deeper on Sunday morning, don’t miss it!