Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daily Office Reflection: When We Are Afraid

Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 * 119:121-144; Isaiah 4:2-6; Ephesians 4:1-16; Matthew 8:28-34

In our Gospel from Matthew today, Jesus heals the two demoniacs who were living in a cemetery. These two are described as "fierce" making all afraid to go near the place. Jesus cures them sending the demons into a herd of swine, who run wildly over a cliff (or down a steep incline) and drown. The folks charged with minding and caring for those swine run into town, tell those present who come out and ask Jesus, actually beg Jesus to leave.

Here Jesus does a good thing (maybe not so much for the swine or their handlers), but certainly for the two individuals who were cast out from society because of their difference and illness. And perhaps the handlers and the townsfolk were pissed off at Jesus for hurting the livelihood of folks in their town. Or perhaps they were frightened at seeing those two healed individuals, who had been so fierce-some and now were "normal".

How do we react when we are afraid? When we are in the midst of something new and unexplained, how do we handle those times? It is much easier to be reactionary and fling away the new, clinging to the old and familiar. It is much harder to trust in the newness that is God's work in creation: to live into that newness with a sense of wonder and delight and joyful enthusiasm. Jesus did something new today: he gave new life to two individuals. How accepting would each of us be to meeting someone who no longer fits into the locked and defined box we have assigned to them? Could we accept their new life with us?

Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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