Lectionary Reflection Luke 8: 26-39 Freedom

An interesting passage to talk about demons, whether you actualize them or spiritualize them or humanize them.  Personally, I have no desire to talk about actual demons at the present time.  And I have no interest in spiritualizing them by naming the words that possess us in this present age, like greed, lust and despair.  And I have no intention of talking about the humanization of those demons in money, consumerism, and the instant communications and internet that have so ill possessed our children.  But you might.

This is also an interesting passage to talk about healing inherent in faith.  We might consider the infinite kindness of God who did not cast even demons into the pit, but let them possess the pigs instead.  (Oh, how kosher)!  We might consider how God reached out to a man who was not even a Jew in a region of non-Jews, and how he longs to reach out toward us in our day, and heal us—and cast out all of our demons that torture us and make our lives miserable…  No, I am not going to talk about that.  But you might.

There is something else of note, here, and it comes near the end of the passage.  It has to do with fear.  The people of that region saw a great and wonderful man do an awesome and impossible thing, and they became so afraid they asked him to leave.  Think about it.  The message here has nothing to do with acknowledging Jesus or believing in him, or recognizing that he is the Immanuel—God with us—or even accepting him as Lord and Savior.  It has to do with following him.  So, how many people in Christian churches in the United States and indeed, around the world, claim Christ as Lord and savior yet remain afraid to truly follow him?  How many wish he would just depart from them?  Lord knows, this would be a hard message for millions to hear.  But you might.

For me, I saw something here that has weighed on my mind, especially as we approach Independence Day.  It is the issue of Liberty.  Because in God, as this passage illustrates, we have our true liberty, which is freedom contained in three parts.  Calvin (no I am not a “Calvinist” and you probably aren’t either) but Calvin said it very well.  He expressed the three parts of Christian Freedom in this manner.

We are Free FROM Sin (evil).

We are free FOR good (righteousness).

We are free to be indifferent about indifferent things. 

Like the demon possessed man, all of us in Christ are liberated from sin and made strong in God to resist the Devil.  This is the Good News.  Who is in a position to condemn?  Only Christ and Christ died for us.  Christ rose for us.  Christ reigns in power for us.  Christ prays for us.  Friends, believe the Good News.  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Like the demon possessed man, once we are in our right minds, we are free to do the good which before we could not do.  Above all, that is to shout with joy our witness of what great things God has done for us.  We are liberated from sin and at liberty to share our great good fortune with the world.

And then, we are free to be indifferent about the things that don’t really matter, like what kind of car you drive or what color tie you wear or even if you wear a tie or not.  The problem is people have taken important things in our generation and tried to make them indifferent things.  That kind of freedom is not Liberty, and it is certainly not what Christ freely gives us…

I think I may have to start a Liberty Corner on this blog.  Because people by the millions these days don’t know what Liberty is…and maybe that is why some say we are in danger of losing it…

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