PENTECOST 4C

 June 20,  2010       

 

 SCRIPTURES  

-The law, as Paul sees it, is a human effort to get into God's good graces...to get right with God. (But God already loves you)

-You can't baptize yourself! It is something done to you and for you rather than something done by you.

-This is the great good news of faith: we are all home. We are all adopted. We all belong.

-Like going to church for some...they joined  but never belonged.

-Common denominators..  there's only one...(You figure it out)  Lindy

-Faith is the "plugged in " part....needed to complete circuit to God.

- Faith is located under the left nipple. Martin Luther 

-"There is no longer gay or straight..."  Borg

-St. Paul’s words about law and faith give us an opportunity to think of restrictions and freedom

-God treats us the way he treated Abraham (who lived without biblical law) and expects from us only what he expected from Abraham. (Faith!)

-Isn’t Paul giving us a Christianity-made-easy? (If we don't need to obey the law)

- gay/straight;  Southern Baptist refuse to ordain women;  all Muslims are terrorist; 

- Divine law: "If you love me, keep my commandments

  World law: "If you fear me, keep my commandments

- Too much of religion is  spiritual calisthenics

-We are made to run well on the commandments. You could put channel #5 in your car but it wouldn't run well on "smell #5". F.Sheen   We are made to run well on faith.

-Jesus asked the spirit's name, and the man answered, "My name is Legion! For we are many."  A legion of soldiers was numbered a couple of thousand, so this passage is often translated, "My name is Mob."

-When love is the law, we police ourselves. 

-Let us be temples and not court houses. Ed. Hays

-Laws are necessary when there is a lack of mature love. Ed. Hays

 

Luke 8:26-39 Jesus and the Gerasene man possessed by demons. Jesus casts out "Legion," and the man is delivered, clothed and in his right mind. The people are afraid.

-"Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes" (v. 26a).  Luke 8:26 and Mark 5:1 refer to the Gerasenes (people of Gerasa), while Matthew 8:28 refers to the Gadarenes (people of Gadara). Both cities (Gerasa and Gadara) are several miles from the Sea of Galilee, the lake where the pigs will drown in verse 33, but Gadara is much closer and probably has associated territory that reaches to the water.

-"In our day, we have become far more accustomed to attributing calamities and disorders to the forces of nature or to internal mental or emotional problems.  The remedy is not exorcism but counseling or medication" Culpepper,    

-  Counselors know the frustration of working with people who cling to their demons –– people who, in spite of their misery, refuse to change their self-destructive behavior.  We even see this principle at work among Christian congregations who are unhappy with their inability to attract new people but who cling for dear life to the old ways that keep them marginal.  Sermon Writier 

-"We may well note the sheer courage of Jesus in dealing with the man….  His fellow-men were…terrified of him, ... but Jesus faced him calm and unafraid"  Barclay.   

-A legion is a Roman army unit of about six thousand soldiers, and symbolizes the Roman "occupying forces whose power was overwhelming and whose presence meant the loss of control over every dimension of their own society" Bible Dictionary   

 -"And they were afraid" (v. 35c).   Why are the local people not filled with joy at the deliverance of this man from his demons?  Why are they afraid?  they are not sure who might be next.  "The Gerasenes are not praising God that a man is healed; they are counting the cost and find it too much" Craddock,

  (v 37). While we can understand their fear, we are saddened by their response.  They have a choice –– do not have to allow their fear to dictate their decisions.  The frightened shepherds did not ask the angels to go away.  The frightened disciples did not ask Jesus to leave their boat.  The Gerasenes could choose to be celebrate the Godly power in their midst, but choose instead to cater to their fears. Sermon Writer

 -Though the name of the place is also given as "Gadara," and "Gergasa," this makes no difference in understanding the reading. 

- Sometimes Jesus commands us to venture out...to travel with him to some far place.  And sometimes he commands us to undertake an even more difficult assignment

    to go home and tell those closest to us what God has done for us.  Willimon

-"Legion" is not a name, but a number. "A Roman legio numbered six thousand soldiers." 

-Why are there so many pigs, when Jews would have no use for pigs? Because pigs had one purpose only -- to feed the bands of Roman recruits.
-The cured demoniac is left as a witness to the power that was present among the Gerasenes and was refused. This is our task, too. To proclaim how much Jesus has done for us, even among those who would rather not hear.
-A Roman military legion consisted of thousands of men, so this sick man had thousands of demons in his mind.

-The people gathered from the surrounding country side weren’t afraid of the grubby guy- they were scared of Jesus! Come to think of it, that is pretty scary. If Jesus put too many people back in our right minds, some frightening things could happen. Legislation might pass to give every worker a living wage in this country, and CEOs might lose some of their salary. Gay and lesbian people might be included in the full life of the church, and church leaders might have to admit we were wrong. Parents might take off work earlier to spend more time at home, and all Americans night have to rethink our work ethic. etc, etc,   So they ran Jesus off. Will you and I be scared of Jesus too?Rev. Dawn Darwin Weaks

-We assume that most demoniacs have been locked away but not so they live among us, perhaps within our own skin..

- God is not found in synagogue, church, or worship. God is not found in the words of Holy Scripture. God is not found in prayer or meditation. God is not found in earthquake, wind, or fire. God is not found in creeds, doctrines, or formularies.  Kubicek (God is found within each of us)

-In short there is no handholding and Kumbaya singing going on here.U. Nembach, J. Neukirch

- The clothing of the possessed may indeed be extra layers rather than nudity. (masks, etc.)

- The tragedy is that others find such persons untouchable.

-This man did not need to stay in the physical presence of Jesus to retain his sanity

-Abyss, Abyss-mal, abysmal

-Demons used to be thought as something within us. It would be better to think of demons as the lack of something within us. Lindy 

-Demon possession is a first century equivalent of serious mental illness, especially when the Bible says that person has legion of demons inside his or her mind.

-Edward Schillebeeckx, the great modern Dutch theologian, wrote: "Jesus' light burns in this world only with the oil of our lives........"   It is up to us.

-William Loader  The liberation which Jesus brings is a liberation for as well as a liberation from. The man retains his wholeness as he goes out and lives the liberation where he is, in his own household and among his own people

-Culpepper writes: "When it gets its way, evil is always destructive and ultimately self-destructive."

-Herbert Anderson in The Family and Pastoral Care, : "We are willing to trade the freedom to grow and change for the security of knowing that things will be like they have always been."  (They wanted Jesus to leave)

-Mickey Anders, Jesus may have healed this schizophrenic by symbolically sending his "demons" into a herd of swine, but today he would take Zyprexa.

- Jesus is both demon chaser and disturbing healer

-The town's people were upset. Two thousand pigs -- that's a significant economic loss. They ask Jesus to leave.  The townspeople don't care about the man healed; they care about the 2,000 pigs that just went over the cliff into the sea.

- What if we could find our center, our one unfragmented self.

-Culpepper (Luke, New Interpreter's Bible) makes about this situation. In our day, we have become far more accustomed to attributing calamities and disorders to the forces of nature or to internal mental or emotional problems. The remedy is not exorcism but counseling or me  dication. The story of the Gerasene demoniac should now be interpreted so that it speaks a word of assurance and hope to those for whom every day is a battle with depression, fear, anxiety, or compulsive behavior. They will understand what would lead a person to say that his name is "mob" (GNB). With such a response, the man had acknowledged that he no longer had any individual identity. He had lost his name. He had lost his individuality. All that was left was a boiling struggle of conflicting forces. It was as though a Roman legion was at war within him. [p. 188]

-It is a common theme in folklore that knowing a demon's name gave one power over the evil force. There is also some truth to this in our day. When we can put a "name" on a disease or disorder, we are on the way to curing it.

-How do we talk about "demons" to our contemporary folks? One approach, suggested earlier is to consider it a way that the ancient people talked about mental illnesses. Another approach is to talk about "evil or destructive powers" -- those people, situations, etc. that dehumanize and destroy people.

- Reasons the people sent Jesus away:  he disrupted the status quo.

- Demons:  drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex crimes, genocide rampant in China, Russia, Central Africa,   Timothy McVeigh. Columbine killings and at Virginia Tech, etc.

 


SERMON                                   HEALING 

 

If sin is simply ignorance, then education will put it to flight.  If sin is simply bad  behavior, then punishment and rehabilitation  will put it right;  but if sin is fundamental  to the human condition a fact of who we are, a part, if you will, of our essential DNA, then this may help to explain why the  advances in education, penology, and science have failed to stem the essential cussedness of human beings and the persistence of evil in the world. Gomes....and also why only a love such as God's (Jesus') can heal us in everlasting ways.  Lindy

 

-Jesus did not take something out of us to make us good. He made us see what we already have....truth, love, forgiveness, etc.

-Jesus is the light in our darkness. M.Borg

-The truth shall make your free." Jesus , ( Jn.8:32)

-Not, “What would Jesus do?” But more dangerously, “What would Jesus have me do?” Gomes

-God is not only over creation, God is in it. God is not merely transcendent but is also immanent. John Macquarrienot

-Life is neither a good nor an evil: it's a field for good and evil Seneca

-Not evil but short sighted.

-Nothing is evil by itself...only when we give it the wrong priority.

-The only evil in the world in our hearts. That’s where the battle should be fought. (Ghandi) inside

-There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. Thoreau

-Out damn spot out! MacBeth

-Man's divine image never destroyed...only defaced. Evil Sheen

-Forgiveness is a by product of healing dict

-We are beings in process God takes us at what ever point we may be at.

-Growth is important as a spiritual process and a physical process.

-Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself..to become what he potentially is. E.Fromm.

-One comes into the present unfinished.   

 -We know people whose lives have been destroyed by their demons.  We don't call them demons!  We call them addictions!  We call them emotional disorders!  We call them disturbances!  Sometimes we call them hobbies!  But when they destroy people, wouldn't it be more accurate to call them demonic.

- How easy we find it to come to an accommodation with the demons that live at the edge of our town!  Bars and saloons promise pleasure and friendship but deliver brokenness and want –– and we accept them as a part of our community.  Crack houses destroy whole neighborhoods, but they don't worry us unless they are our neighborhoods.  Porno shops destroy all sorts of people, but we defend the First Amendment rights of the people who run them.  Casinos promise money for education, so we ignore the crime and poverty that follow in their wake.  We drive by the homeless and the demon-possessed, and try not to notice.  We close our eyes to the broken families and aimless kids that dwell all around us on every side.

-But this talk of demons makes us uncomfortable.  It seems so primitive.  We want a world in which every effect has a cause from which science can deliver us.  We no longer speak of demons, but of illness.  We would like to believe that we will be delivered from our demons by education or money or medicine.  But, if education were the answer, college professors would all be saints.  If money were the answer, the oil-rich Mid-east would be heaven.  That leaves medicine.  We still hope that counseling or medication can take the place of exorcism. 

-When Jesus delivers us from our demons, he calls us to share the salvation with which we have been saved.  In some cases, he calls us to exotic lands.  In other cases, he calls us to serve where we are.   

-Today as never before it is important that human beings should not overlook the danger of the evil lurking within them. 

It is unfortunately only too real, which is why psychology must insist on the reality of evil and must reject any definition that regards it as insignificant or non-existent. Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist 

-“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

 


 QUOTES

-"When it gets its way, evil is always destructive and ultimately self-destructive."  Culpepper

- We are willing to trade the freedom to grow and change for the security of knowing that things will be like they have  

   always been." Herbert Anderson

-the good thing about a rut is that you know where you're going

 

HUMOR

--Those hogs ran down the side of a cliff and committed “suey-side

--Although both Mark (5:1-20) and Matthew (8:28-34) have parallels to this text, they are not assigned in the Revised Common Lectionary. So this is the one shot the lectionary preacher has of saying, "This is the first reported case of deviled ham."

- - Laws are kept better than men's lawns

ILLUSTRATIONS

-In spite of what they say, 90 percent of the chronic patients who see today's physicians have one common symptom. Their trouble did not start with coughing or chest pain or hyperacidity. In 90 percent of the cases, the first symptom was fear. This is the opinion of a well-known American internist as expressed in a roundtable discussion on psychosomatic medicine. This is also the consensus of a growing body of specialists. Fear of losing a job, of old age, of being exposed—sooner or later such fear manifests itself as "a clinical symptom." Sometimes the fear is nothing more than a superficial anxiety; sometimes it is so deep-rooted that the patient denies its existence and makes the round of doctor to doctor, taking injections, hormones, tranquilizers, and tonics in an endless search for relief.

-An old friend, a former pastor who’s been working the Alcoholics Anonymous program since 1981, used to say to me, “Most of the demons are inside.” Memories of parental neglect or abuse of some sort are inside. Memories of childhood taunts and humiliations are inside. Living with the road not taken whether career choices, romantic choices, or some other what-ifs are inside. Knowledge of one’s failures and imperfections are inside. Stinking thinking (toxic thinking) is inside. All of these things (not an exclusive list) can become demons that possess and even destroy. Zumwalt
-When C.S. Lewis was on the road of conversion to Christ, the Spirit of God convicted him by showing him the awful truth about himself.  He thought he was a happy, reasonably good pagan, but now this is what he saw: "For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me: a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was Legion."

- The man who sat at Jesus' feet and who learned from him wants to go with them. Look at his options! He is standing on the beach with Jesus, with the disciples in the boat in front of him and the townsfolk who banished him to the graveyard at his back. He wants to go with the one who healed him, the one who wasn't afraid to come near him, who didn't walk on the other side of the street. He wants to go with his new teacher and Lord and learn more about the kingdom of God. He's ready to follow Jesus. There's room in the boat, and he'll leave without looking back -- there's no one to say good-bye to. But Jesus says no. To others along the way Jesus issues the invitation, "Come, follow me," but to this one he says, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." At the very end, we see what kind of story this really is. It isn't simply a story of one man's healing, but a story of one man's calling. Jesus does bid the man to follow, but in this case the following, the call to ministry, involves staying rather than leaving. Jesus does not reject the man's application for discipleship, but accepts it fully. I even have a first appointment all lined up for you, Jesus says from the boat. Your congregation is standing right behind you. No, go and tell....Part of Article from Christian Century about the last part of Luke scripture.  by  Mary W. Anderson: 

 

CHILDREN

I couldn't find any new children sermons for the Luke scripture.  I'm pulpit supplying next Sunday and am thinking of talking about demons.  Talk about the different "demons" with in us as mentioned above.  Then talk about saviors.  Teachers, parents, nurses, doctors, ministers, neighbors, friends, etc. etc. etc.   Then end by talking about God's spirit that is in us...that we can pray to and trust in when there are those times we can't do anything ourselves.

2.  Just found this one. On leading an All age service some years ago on this passage, I gave everyone a piece of knotted string, before the Gospel was read I bound a child up with rope, as the story unfolded so we released the knots and let the child go free. We talked about the things that tie us up in knots, inwardly and outwardly. During our prayers of intercession, as we prayed we undid the knots in our strings and then offered our strings as part of the offertory of thanksgiving for what God has done for us.  Clare Sanders Grundisburgh Suffolk UK

3.Children's Sermons from Sermons 4 Kids | Object Lessons

 

PRAYER PHRASES

Free us  from all that binds and enslaves us.  All that concerns us from freely following you.  Free us from merely respectable, polite religion so that we may more boldly, courageously, and exuberantly be the disciples you deserve. Free us to step over our boundaries...to go where you are in the world of human need.  Free us that we might be bound only to you. Willimon

 

 

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