Frightful miracle

         People came out to see what had happened,
         and they found the man from whom the demons had gone
         sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.
         And they were afraid.

                  —Luke 8.35
From madness and anguish, self-harm and shame,
from rejection and exile to life among the dead,
from a legion of demons not of his own choosing,
Jesus restores a beloved.
And you? In the graveyard outside your village,
unwhole and frightful, poorly chained,
a wordless voice cries out. Listen… Draw near…

The people are afraid.
Of what? Change? Damage to their profit?
A threat to their settled way of thinking?
The subjection of their values to God’s?
Proximity to such uncontained, uncontrollable power?
The thin, porous boundary between sanity and insanity?—
the possibility that if the man is now like them,
they could be like him?
Yes, at least.
Maybe our fear itself is the demon, the chains, the exile.
When the grace of God tears apart your awful world
and wrenches it into health, what frightens you?
If Jesus were to heal your enemy what would you fear?
If Jesus were to expose your demons
and fling them into the primordial abyss
what would you be afraid of?
You are already afraid. Let the Healer come close,
and name the demon, and reach out a hand…

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
   —June 18, 2019

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