What news would you run to tell—and how would you spin it? The pig herders run to town to tell everyone what’s happened. They are more concerned with the deaths of the pigs then with the healing they just witnessed. Picture them trying to explain to the owners of the herd: “It wasn’t our fault! Really, you’ve got to believe us!”
When the townspeople arrive at the scene, they are full of awe. The former demoniac sits at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. You’d think that this is cause for celebration. Shouldn’t they start gathering party fare? Instead, they ask Jesus to leave immediately. This situation unnerves them. Do they fear what else Jesus might start changing about life as they know it? Or is their reaction a humble response to Jesus’ power, like the time that Peter, the fishing expert, reluctantly follows Jesus’ instructions and gets a boat full of fish: “Go away—I’m not worthy” (Luke 5:8).
To encounter God’s Spirit is to see ourselves more honestly. Along with a glimpse of who God is, we glimpse who we truly are. We see both our desperate need for Grace and the possibility of being changed by that Grace. To experience Christ is to encounter the one who can rewrite our stories. Christ will introduce new themes for us to live out: the power of forgiveness, the possibility of redemption, the difference love makes, the joy that never dies.
Those watching Jesus that day don’t know what to do with him. They fear the change he brings, so they ask him to leave. Jesus complies, getting into the boat to return across the lake. If you had been there, would you be relieved or disappointed when he started to go?
What theme or plot might Christ want to introduce or strengthen in your story?
God, help me celebrate your presence and be open to your movement and change. Amen.