Archive for May 29th, 2008

Pork — It’s What’s for Demon!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 8:26-39 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

When I was growing up, some close friends of our family were hog farmers. I used to love to go over to their farm and see all the little newborn pigs when the birthing season came around and probably would have had a pet pig if my parents would have let me. These folks were part of a large Bible study group that met with my parents, and I found it amusing that the man who was the hog farmer mentioned that he had always had problems with today’s scripture! Well, it sounds like he wasn’t the only one.

Instead of celebrating the demon possessed man’s new freedom from his bondage, the townspeople were afraid and asked Jesus to leave. A very strange reaction indeed!

Maybe, as my friend the hog farmer felt, they thought it was a crime to allow the demons to drive the hogs into the lake. It would have certainly meant the loss of someone’s livestock, and I doubt that farmers in that time could any more stand to loose their livelihood than farmers now could. Or, maybe they thought Jesus was making a heavy handed political statement about keeping kosher and ran the pigs into the water out of spite.

I think to understand what was going on in the minds of the townspeople, it might help to share a story that just happened.

I work in the church office through the week, and for the last several months we have been sending an offer to United Church of Christ congregations in several states. This offer is nothing more than a printed card giving the recipient the opportunity to evaluate our church’s book about homosexuality and the Bible and a study guide for about half the normal price. For the most part it has been well received and many churches have taken us up on the offer.

However this past week, I received an email asking us to take one particular UCC off our mailing list. In fact, our email address isn’t included on the card we sent out, so someone had to go to some effort to even get an email through to us. And we received one of the cards back in the mail. Part of the text on the card had been scribbled out, and this person had written “Return to Sender” and “Stop sending this nonsense to us!” on the face of the card. Both seemed like out of proportion reactions for the one and only piece of mail they will ever receive from our church!

But the book and our website probably stood for something new and unknown to them, and if you combine new and idea with God, some people start slamming doors rather than taking the time to find out what is really going on.

And that is what I think the people of Gerasene were thinking. Things had always been a certain way, and that’s how they liked it — crazy tomb guy and all! Jesus was changing the status quo and they didn’t like that.

Thought for the day: God, am I open to letting you change me as You see fit?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Be still and know… is proudly powered by WordPress.