Journey with John
The stories, where Jesus healed people of their unclean spirits, have always intrigued me. I am especially drawn to Mark 5:6-9, where the man with the demon recognizes the power of Jesus and falls before him. “When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him, and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many….’” It fascinates me that the unclean spirits that plague the human mind are so perceptive as to Jesus’ identity. They recognize the spirit of God when calmer minds do not. The thing that grabs me in this story is that it wasn’t just one spirit within the man. He said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” Doesn’t that describe us all – there are many inside us, all fighting for control. Sometimes one need is dominate over another. Jesus calls and the spirits leave and peace comes. Robert Raines has written a poem that speaks to me as I think about this healing story. He writes:
“I’m all mixed up, there’s a multitude in me – a smiler and a cryer
a laugher and a list maker, a reconciler and a fighter, a schemer and a dreamer.
Who are WE in me?
Treat me tender, Lord, for all my bluff, I’m sore inside and afraid sometimes.
Sit with me in my shadows – dance with me in my sundance times.
It’s strange but I’m often hurting most when I’m telling jokes.
I want to be so much more than I am,
I want to grow and change and change things that should be changed.
I want to hang on to what I’ve got but I want everyone to have enough.
Forgive me for doing nothing when I could do something.
Forgive me for doing little when I could do more.
Forgive me when I acquiesce in prejudice by saying nothing
or looking the other way or pretending not to see or hear.
Lord, you know me as I really am…
That comforts me… and… sobers me.”
Jesus knows the “many” inside us, and speaks, bringing order and calm and peace. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Speak to us, again….