(In The Life Of The Church)
I’ve often said in sermons that Jesus’ miracles do more than heal/fix/restore. They add commentary to the story and/or the mission. Very often the same could said of the Jesus’ exorcisms, though those may be a kind of miracle.
There’s an interesting story that shows up in Matthew 8/Mark5/Luke 8.
Jesus heads to the region of the Garasenes, which is on the east side of Galilee. Most of Jesus’ ministry occurs on the west side, but if you map Jesus story in say, the gospel of Mark, he looks like a ping pong ball being shot back and forth across the lake. Jesus is going to the area of the Gerasenes. It’s really the southeast side and it’s where Decapolis (ten federated cities of the Roman Empire) was located. There he meets a man living among the tombs. He’s untouchable for many reasons. Here i’m just going to give you some facts in short hand so you can appreciate this for all it is worth.
· The region of the Gerasenes was a place where land was granted for Roman military veterans with status--a retirement village of soldiers if you will.
· The demon possessed man (hereafter “dpm”) could not be “subdued” by anyone because he was “occupied” by demons
· The space the dpm was in, the region of the Gerasenes, for a Galilean, was occupied by a force that no one could subdue.
· The dpm is said to be living among the graves. This is a violation of the Holiness code.
· When Jesus asks the dpm for a name, he Jesus it is “legion.” Legion is a word used to describe a division of Roman Soldiers (scholars estimate that number to be around 2,000).
· Nearby was a “band” of pigs. Band is a word often used to describe military cadets
· The demons ask to into the pigs. There are about 2,000 of them and they are also symbols of uncleanliness.
· The 2,000 pigs “charged” into the sea, this undoubtedly is an allusion to Pharaoh’s army that also “charged” into the sea. (1)
It would not be disingenuous then to conclude that Jesus is suggesting that the people in this region were made sick by the imperial rule and power. In the Christian tradition we have one final authority and that is Jesus.
I sometimes argue with my friend David Wilhite about the attributes of God. The first five centuries of church theology, which is Wilhite’s specialty, pretty much figured most of this out. Part of what they figured out is that God is impassive. In case you don’t speak nerd language that means without change in emotion. Or even more simply, God doesn’t change. That used to bother me especially since Jesus wept in the garden and at other places, but then I began to see the benefit of the doctrine. God, who is perfectly present in every emotion all the time, doesn’t make Jesus our authority because God needs some kind of loyalty or affection from humans. One of the reasons God makes Jesus the final authority because every other possible leader, including every human there was or is, ends in idolatry. Humans will fail humans.
In this particular election it's not hard to convince people that Jesus is Lord. There are enthusiasts in both parties, but more than I remember in past elections, people are disappointed with their party candidates on both sides. I simply take this to mean that Jesus was right back when he casted the demons into the pigs.
Pray for our politicians, they need all they can get.
(1) Interested readers can read more about this in most biblical commentaries on Matthew, Mark and Luke or for a simplified easy to read version … Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw’s Jesus for President.
Grills and Chills
Friends, this Wednesday, June 22nd we will have a grills and chills event at the Wren Household. We will have sign ups this Sunday after church so we know how much food to get. if you include your email you will then be sent an address. UBC will provide drinks, burgers, dogs, and a veggie alternatives. We are asking participants to bring a side. If you will not be at church this Sunday and would still like to sign up please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wanted to put out one last call for our discernment team. We are looking for individuals in the church who are passionate about the future of our kids ministry and can help us dream about how to solve our space issues. If you are interested in being on this team, please email email@example.com. PS: we have plenty of men that volunteered, i'd love for a few our women to throw their names in.
Friends, one of UBC's former employees and fearless warrior champions, Katie Lauve Moon (pictured below), is doing PhD work at Tulane. As part of her research she is asking that people from our community take this survey. I will include this survey 3 times over the next 6 weeks. So if you are annoyed, you can help make it disappear by participating now.
Random Cool Picture to be used as thumbnail to generate more Traffic
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Emmy
Mug Cleaners: Leigh & the Cooleys
Money Counter: Hannah Kuhl
- Sunday Sermon Text:
- MD Chains Location: Panda Express by Target
- Summer Grills & Chills @ the park ... Wednesday June 22nd. More information to come.
- Special thanks to my friend Taylor Post for brining word to the herd this last Sunday.
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