We have Matthew's version of the Gadarenes' demoniacs. In Matthew there are two living out there on the fringes of society, possessed by fierce demons, keeping everyone away from interacting with them.
Jesus has just left the crowds "on the other side" and exhibited exhaustion in his response to nearly everyone around him. He had slept on the boat ride over (interrupted to calm the disciples and sea) and upon starting his sojourn in this new province, he cures these two isolated individuals and then is asked to leave the area by the residents.
Roses, in there natural environment, have thorns (and pretty sharp ones at that) to protect their beauty. Those isolated individuals in our story today, living out in the tombs, know who Jesus is and at first taunt him, and then beg for release. The thorns, their taunting, were their initial reaction to Jesus, but the beauty of their inner rose overwhelms their self-protective fear, and allows them to be healed.
How often in life do we react out of self-protective fear as opposed to really listening to a voice, a feeling, an instinct that is directing us toward a different way of acting? Is there something today, from which we have been resisting our inner-urgings, that if we were to respond would alter our lives for the better? Can we take that step toward wholeness today?
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Beach Rose, 2008, jfd+