Preferring Our Demons

As Jesus stepped out on land, [in the country of the Garasenes], 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. . . . 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; . . . 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.  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.  Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear.  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.  — Luke 8:27, 30-32a, 33, 35, 37a, 38-39

On first reading, this story just doesn’t make sense. Jesus has landed on the shore of the Sea of Galilee Continue Reading →

The Problem with God, with Us, and the Rest of Us

Jesus prayed for his disciples, saying, ’I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one . . . . I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’— John 17:20-23a, 26

We have great problems with this, the final, passionate prayer that Jesus offers for his followers. He prays that we might be Continue Reading →

Listening for the Shepherd

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” — John 10: 27-30

    There’s an old hasidic story about a revered rabbi who was riding in a carriage with his young Continue Reading →