WELCOME and happy Sabbath. Today, we will hear a story from the Bible, so take a moment to clear your mind, to listen imaginatively, and to let yourself enter into and experience the story. Author’s note – I am not a scholar, theologian, or pastor. I am an ardent, but novice, lover of God.
CAFE QUESTIONS: What’s your full name? Has anyone given you a name of endearment, and what’s the history behind that name? Has anyone ever cast a spell on you and what was that like? Do you have any tattoos or body piercings, and would you show them off at your table? Have you ever been scarred or cut deeply? If you saw a hand in the sand, what would you expect to be attached to it? When have you set the ball rolling or manufactured your own misery?
Choose a man or monster you’re most scared of: Frankenstein, Sasquatch, the Bogeyman, Loch Ness, or Dracula?
HYMNS & WORSHIP: “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)”
PSALMS responsive reading:
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning ~ if I dwell by the farthest oceans ~ even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!! Your workmanship is marvelous ~ how well I know it!!
(Psalms 139:1-14.) NLT
Project image on the wall. I like the story of Legion, but John Singer Sargent’s painting, “Frieze of the Prophets,” is freaky, groovy, and spooky in the same sentence.
“Frieze of the Prophets” rouses me because the subjects are dressed like wild, blood hungry beasts, in a kind of helpless, hypnotized hush, hanging around the fringes of the frame, causing all hell to break loose, but Sargent has a special way of creating movement in figures, and these guys look like they’re ready to rip through the canvas to get you.
SCRIPTURE: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17, KJV.
Narrate the BACKGROUND @ Mark 4:35-41.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s sail across to the other side.” Soon a fierce storm came up on the Sea of Galilee. filling their ship with water, and they were in great danger. Jesus turned the tide of the storm, and there was a great calm. The terrified disciples finally reasoned in their minds, “even the winds and waves obey him!” They had before them hard evidence of Christ’s power. Now morning came as they hit shore in Gadara, where no one was safe to pass.
This is where today’s story starts. NARRATE the STORY @ Mark 5:1-20, and 7:31, and 8:1,9,10. NLT, twice.
This is the story we have, and that’s the way the story goes. Let us spend some time to WONDER and DIALOGUE about this story, and bring any questions or observations we have to the table, including any historical elements, cultural customs, symbolic objects, or key word references, by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. Questions may not necessarily be answered, but will be voiced and will raise interest. For example, Where did the terrified disciples disappear to once off the ship? How exactly does a demon possess someone? When and why do demons announce their presence and show their power? Do demons only live among the dead? How many years in this man’s life were yielded and wasted? Is it the norm to break a demonic stronghold? Did Legion have an oikos? What was Legion’s original name? Why did Jesus allow the demons to destroy the 2,000 pigs, oink, oink? NOTE: Other stories included in the Bible about demon possession can be found @Mark 7:24-30 (daughter of a Syro-Phoenician woman) @Mark 9:14-29 (a child thrown into the fire) and @Luke 4:31-37 (the maniac at Capernaum). Note: Names are interesting. In the Roman army, a legion means about 6,000 soldiers. By the way, Jesus nicknamed his disciples, James and John, “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17.)
Let us get into the CHARACTERS of the story. Look for Jesus in everyone. Discover Jesus in their story. What do we know about Legion? Did Legion think of himself as berserk? What did he realize about Jesus? What was his immediate response to Jesus? What do we know about the piggy farmers? What did Legion’s community think about Legion, before and after encountering Jesus? How do we feel about losing our property, products, and profits, our pigs, privilege and position?
What did we learn about GOD in this story? Our God is the most high God. God has all authority and jurisdiction in heaven and on earth, and so it is with us when we’re under the control of God. God is the true channel of life and light. God’s powerful words can penetrate our weakened minds.
What aspects of this story or character, foreshadow the GOOD NEWS, especially in relation to what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and through his resurrection. Look for negative things being lifted and positive things being given. Validate others thoughts.
• Legion was liberated and reunited with his family and oikos by naming his problem to Jesus. Jesus renews our strength, allowing us to regain what we may have lost. I needed a gentlemen to lead me out of non-thinking, self-love, and selfish indifference. I need him to build me up for the glory of God in body, mind, soul, and spirit.
• Legion, an untrained disciple, spread grassroot channels of light to the “multitudes” of 4,000 by simply telling the great things the irrisistible power of Jesus had done for him. Christ sends his channel of light back to us, a fragile gift, a path back to God.
• Legion came to believe in Jesus while at the graveyard. Jesus went to battle for us in a major way when he was in the tomb, and “now shall the prince of darkness be cast out.” John 12:31
Storying EVALUATION: 1.Inductive teaching present 2.Biblical answers validated 3.Did we see Jesus 4.Clear questions 5.Logical flow of story 6.Affirmations given 7.Low participants encouraged 8.Who did most of the talking
Our goal is to seriously apply this story to our life. Our challenge is to write a prayer, a poem, a song, or create something that EXPRESSes our response and share. What will we do with what we know? Are our stony silences of, “I can’t,” just waiting to be effective?
Coming out of the fog
to cross the sea on log
the eastern to the western shore
at last relieved from an enormous storm
with all it’s salt and sand
reaching equally inland
to wash my headstone white and clean
still I’m a sight more pale and mean
than the hell I raised the night before
I must own that I have never seen one like you before
at once my face and fetters fell
my name I tell
befell by your love breaks my spell
now wise and well
no more to dwell among the assembly of tombs
I’m a slave exclusively for you
my landmark in the dark