“Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.”
I was hardly halfway into the first chapter of my daily read, when it struck me how similar we are today, to folk 2000 years ago, when it comes to fear and faith. In this Covid19 moment, we all certainly find ourselves with a better understanding of the term “herd”; whether related to immunity or group violence.
My thoughts this a.m. have little to do with herd immunity, demons or pigs, but the reality of what we miss as people of faith. Sadly, in this 21st Century, we are still quite likely to respond with herd-like behavior, often near insanity, when something is occurring that is unfamiliar. This once in a lifetime pandemic along with our deep and fomenting racial inequities, seem only compounded by a diminished faith quotient across our land. Otherwise, we would pray, and God would heal our land! We still believe that, right?
Back to the text above, our fellow humans were smack in the middle of a phenomenal and likely transformational moment, at least for the one possessed, yet, the crowd is focused on fear.
Here stands a previously insane man, now in his right mind, along side another, the One who apparently had just demonstrated the power to provide remedy for their deeply troubling community challenges. Their response, fear rather than inquiry and deepened acquaintance with the One.
In this critical moment as a nation, whose majority still boast of being Christian, at least among those most ready to quote some Biblical text, we are in another very transformational moment. Seized by this perfect storm, nearing an election that we all mostly know will bring little solution to our deep disunity, we are hanging somewhere between living into what our forefathers wrote on a paper known as the Declaration of Independence, and political insanity! Our response on the street, whether one’s orientation be “left or right of center” seems more fear than faith.
My course of action has long been to ground myself in scripture, as I have found that to be doorway to wisdom in time of crisis. As well, to keep myself in deep conversation and exploration of thought within the herd. I truly sense this moment perhaps sovereign, necessary for learning purposes. We have been here before and the chaos always advances the course to a degree, though tiring and costly for sure.
Maybe on this Sunday morning, some preacher somewhere on Zoom or in a socially distanced congregation will present the Good News, sufficient that we as a nation are more willing to rise above our fear and long “masked” prejudices, love our neighbor as ourselves, moving into our long resisted destiny as a land of the free. The dream finally fulfilled, this hard lesson behind us.
It will be good to be back in our right minds!