I have never had bacon in my life, but I was thinking this evening just how sad it is that the pig has been attributed with so many negative traits. Sweating like the pig, a room in disarray is said to resemble a pigsty and a man returning to revel in some bad thing is meant to be like a pig in muck. Then of course George Orwell makes matters worse by allowing the pigs in Animal Farm be the sort to seek a better equal status than their counterparts. Indeed as you may have noticed from the title of this blog entry when we’ve made an error we are told we’ve made a right pig’s ear of that encounter. What has the pigs ever done to deserve it, I wonder?
Well I’m sure one episode in the Bible that doesn’t help the pig’s lot is that episode of Jesus with the Legion. Yet it is here that I want to dwell to make a point. So as the scripture goes there is a man who has been a menace to society and to himself. His ravings and lunatic activities have meant that people have tried to lock him up naked among the dead people. That was the way the city tried to deal with the problem, because they could not deal with it they tried to contain and keep it from public view. Jesus obviously pops on the scene and spoils everything through challenging the demon possession and then giving them permission to go in a herd of swine. Then the remarkable scene of the entire herd doing a Benny Hill all the way off the cliff to their sad demise at the bottom of the deep blue sea (alright it was a lake, but you get the point).
What happens next is a remarkable insight into how people cannot take someone upsetting the status quo even by removing that which has made an individual a menace to society. The man formerly crazed by demons is now sitting sane, coherent and ready to engage in society. Rather than embrace Jesus and call Him the miracle-worker, they are afraid of the fella and tell him to get out of the place. When the former loony wants to follow Jesus he’s told to go home and share God’s good work.
Sometimes I’m not sure if society and the church are made up for healing and restoration. Sometimes our mind-sets and cultural institutions are built to maintain negative situations as opposed to seek ways of healing them. It’s a bit like the war thing – it’s actually in the best interests of the military to keep a status that keeps them in business – i.e. one of a need for security and protection. So actual peacemaking schemes are dangerous because they would upset the way the economy is based. On the individual level I’m not sure if people are geared to desperately seek for peace, deliverance and healing. Sure there have been many disappointed by unanswered prayer and perhaps bitter at the lack of the miraculous. This should not make us hard to that glimmer of hope by faith of Christ doing the same with those wracked and bound with various issues as he did to the victim of Legion. Even as a witness to tell others of the life restoring power of Christ, we should hope and pray with that regard.
My faith journey has only given brief glimpses of what could happen, but I work in an environment about the neglected and misunderstood by society, many of whom are deeply wracked with issues that could keep them bound or send them loopy. It would be easy to cast them aside and try to contain them and keep them under wraps. The compassion of Christ compels me, sometimes against myself, to look out for them all the more. Pray for them and believe the miraculous can take place. Whilst I wait on that there are still things I can do to highlight the hope we have in this miracle worker and move to see them where he is. In the meantime are we ready for the mad and bad to be released and delivered and embrace God’s grace in action like this? Dear Lord make us ready.
For His Name's Sake