Second Sunday after Pentecost
There’s a lot going on in the Gospel reading for this Sunday: mental torment, confinement, exclusion, loss of livelihood, and ultimately, healing, reconciliation, and clear guidance from Jesus.
The man suffering mental torment is not named. Even so, we know several other things about him: he lives in the tombs, is naked, and has had episodes of distress so severe that he has been shackled. We can surmise that in addition to the mental torment he also suffers loneliness, hunger, thirst, and cold.
When Jesus comes into his community, he seeks him out and visits him among the tombs. Jesus is like that, looking for us and caring for us right where we are, even among the tombs (be they literal or figurative). Jesus goes to the place of hurt and brokenness and visits this clearly suffering man.
It’s there, among the tombs, that Jesus brings healing into his life. It’s important to note that later Jesus himself will also rise from a tomb.
The restored man wants to follow Jesus—literally— out of town and wherever Jesus goes. But that is not to be. Jesus gives the man the very opposite instruction: stay here. Don’t go anywhere. Stay right here and tell everyone what has happened. Be a living witness to the goodness and the power of Christ in your life.
Jesus’ direction calls us to ask, “How can we be living witnesses to the power of Christ in our lives?” How can you, right where you are, let others know how much God has done for you?
Tammie Rinker, pastor, Trinity Moravian Church
New Carrollton, Maryland