Reflection on the Gospel of Luke 8:26-39: Second Sunday after Pentecost, June,19 2023 

Including thoughts from the Epistle of Galatians 3:23-29: Second Sunday after Pentecost. 

The Gospel of Luke 8:26-39 

Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he 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? I beg you, do not torment me” — for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So, he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. 

Galatians 3:23-29 

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore, the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. 

Let us Pray: God of every land and nation, you have created all people and you dwell among us in Jesus Christ. Listen to the cries of those who pray to you, and grant that, as we proclaim the greatness of your name, all people will know the power of love at work in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

The season of the church from Pentecost to Advent in some denominations is called Ordinary Time. The Episcopal church does not refer it as Ordinary time but numbers the Sundays after Pentecost. Even though it is called ordinary time it is far from ordinary. The church has been through the season of Advent (preparing for the arrival of Christ) Christmas (the incarnation of the baby Jesus) Epiphany (Jesus’ journey of his ministry) Ash Wednesday and Lent (time to evaluate our lives) Easter (The death and resurrection of our Lord) Than Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. A busy beginning of the church year, maybe it is time for a little ordinary time. But if we think about it this can be a time when the real miracle of life can be experienced. A time of loving what is, instead of thinking of just what is possible or worrying about what has been. So, as we move through ordinary time (Pentecost season) we can stop and think about what an extraordinary gift this time really is. Time to explore, time to follow Christ’s journey and as we approach the end of Pentecost maybe we will be more prepared to start the season of Advent. 

In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Do you wonder what happened to that statement? Before you continue with the reflection take a minute and reread the lesson from Galatians. Paul insists there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.  Christians, however, sometimes have a hard time not just practicing but also even seeing that unity.  At least some of what we not only witness but also practice, in fact, seems to deny that unity, even, or perhaps especially, in the church. How many people have wondered what that person who looked rather disheveled is doing here in church with us, or they should go to a church that is better suited to them? As Christians we should be able to look past how that visitor is dressed or what nationality that family is. We need to be like Jesus and welcome each and every one into our church community. Who knows that visitor may be Jesus!  

By God’s grace most people resist the temptation to despise or look down on each other.  After all, Christians recognize that those who have faithfully received God’s grace are all one. Because of what Christ has done, we recognize each other as equals, brothers, and sisters, by God’s grace. 

In today’s Gospel, when Jesus stepped off the boat did he turn away from that man who had demons in him? But he did stop and take the time to recognize and heal the individual.  He didn’t hesitate because he wasn’t wearing clothes and was loud and obnoxious. He healed the man from his demons.  So, should we judge people by what they are wearing as they come to Church?  After Jesus had chased the demons from the man and they entered the swine and they drowned, all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. Why were they afraid? Was it because they didn’t understand who He was or they were afraid because they felt He was different? Or was it possible that they were afraid of the power they felt Jesus represented? Were they afraid because to them Jesus represented the unknown? 

It is easy to tie the two pieces of Scripture together, we see Jesus not concerned about who the man was He was about to heal, He didn’t ask. So how do we reflect those same traits, not worrying about who the person is? Do we live by the ideal that In Christ Jesus we are all children of God? 

As the Gospel ends Jesus instructed the man to return home and declare how much God has done for you. That is what we should walk away with from this Gospel, that we tell people what Jesus has done and what difference he makes in our lives. That is all we, are asked to do; all we are asked to do is to proclaim the Gospel and tell of the difference Christ can make to each and every one of us. 

Let us Pray: Lord God, friend of those in need, your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits. We lift up the prayers of our hearts for those still burdened, those seeking healing, those in need within the church and the world.  This we pray in your name Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen 

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