Today’s reading: Mark 5:1-20
Do you ever have those times when you feel your lips forming words, hear the sounds coming out of your mouth—and wonder, “did I just say that?”
This text, about Jesus’ healing of the demon-possessed man, makes me think so much of those times in my life when I’ve wondered who it was talking out of my own mouth. Throughout this passage, the demon-possessed man speaks several times–but it seems to me it’s never quite clear whose voice is talking. When is it the man? And when is it the demons?
When Jesus speaks to the man, he knows right away who he’s dealing with, and immediately addresses the evil spirits. He asks their name (and they reply “Legion–for we are many.”). But even the footnotes in the Bible I’m reading get it mixed up, confusing the name of the Legion for the name of the man himself (which in fact we never know). No doubt when the legion of demons were cast out, the man was relieved to reclaim his own name, his own life, his own voice.
Of course (when isn’t this the case?) there’s far more to think and to say about this text than there’s room for or time for right now. But it’s this that seems the truest to me, tonight: that God is about the business of calling us and equipping us and healing us and making us whole so that we can be our truest selves. Because only as our own true selves—-our own names, our own lives, our own voices—-can we go to the cities, proclaiming how much Jesus has done for us.
Thanks be to God.