Scripture Reading: Luke 8:26-39
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. –Luke 8:26-31
Heal My Soul. I think I first heard this prayer in a song by David Teems in his album Scars and Stripes which came out in 1998. It has resonated with me ever since. Last year my Sunday School class completed Joel Ortberg’s study Soul Keeping. We all were touched by how much we needed to pay attention to our souls, but often do not. It can be quite scary to think about ridding our souls of the muck and mire that clogs our being like rotting leaves backed up in a sewer line. We do not deal well with emptiness and we are at times hesitant to be filled with the powerful love of God. Why do you suppose that is?
It is really hard at times to see ourselves as others see us or to know ourselves as God knows us. I have done battle with weight most of my adult life. (Was an underweight skinny little kid actually.) My doctor referred me to a nutritionist. A tall angular woman, who I am sure was never a pound overweight in her life, studied very carefully the food diary I had keep the previous week. I was supposed to eat no more than 1200 calories each day and I had fulfilled that requirement but had not lost any weight. There was no question in my mind that she thought I was lying to myself and to her in my accounting. Just for the record, I was not lying. I even had measured and weighed everything. She took a plate and set it on the table between us and then took plastic food, including two sunny-side-up eggs, and carefully displayed them on the plate lecturing me on proper proportions. I am not a violent person, but I was very tempted to pick up those plastics eggs and slap them across her face. You will be pleased to know that I did not. I also did not ever return to see her. We cannot help others, if we let biases based on our own way of being cloud our judgment.
While I doubt we will ever obtain Paul’s perfection in real time, we must deal with our own demons to some degree before we can truly be servants to others. The process of daily examination of ourselves in the presence of God is a worthy one.
Prayer: Heal my soul, O Lord, so that I might be a balm to others. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.