...Work continues on repairs, improvements and painting the church and parish house. Thank you to all who are funding this construction with your donations. It is not too late to make a contribution to our 2019 Capital Campaign. Donations for the 2019 Capital Campaign thru June 24 are about $79,856.20. This is a wonderful expression of your love of our church. The work will help keep Christ Episcopal active in
…For a ‘bird’s eye view of our church go to the following link and watch the first part of the video (the remainder of the video is good too):
The video was taken before our repairs and painting efforts.
...Jane Barnett will lead us in our Morning Prayer on June 30 and Father Riley will lead in Holy Eucharist July 7, 2019. Services at 10am as usual. Please invite others to join us Sundays.
2 PENTECOST, PROPER 7, C - 19 LUKE 8. 26-39
“Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite
They are amazed of Jesus’ power and authority over the natural elements. But they have not seen anything yet. As soon as they step out of the boat the local crazy, the man of the tombs, whom everyone in the neighborhood is afraid of, confronts Jesus. He was naked and obviously out of his mind shouting at the top of his voice and falling down at the feet of Jesus.
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”
What the disciples and the locals must have been thinking when the crazy man identified Jesus as the “Son of the most high God,” one can only imagine. How did he know? At this point in their relationship to Christ, the disciples were not certain of who Jesus really was and what he was up to. Yet this poor soul, who lived among the dead, somehow seems to know.
I have always imagined the scene on the beach. The disciples, afraid of the man, are standing behind Jesus and near the boat in the event they need to make a quick get away. The locals are standing at a safe distance from the demonic and Jesus. They know what the man of the tombs is capable of. On the other hand, they do not know Jesus or why he is there.
“What is you name,” Jesus asked the man? He said, “Legion;” for there were many demons that had entered him. Now here is where the story gets a bit strange and remarkable. The demons beg Jesus not to send them back to hell but rather into a herd of nearby swine.
Jesus gives them permission to do so and the herd, now demon possessed, proceeds to hurl themselves over the nearby cliffs into the sea below and are drowned. Word quickly spread of what had happened.
Somebody’s herd of swine was destroyed. The man of the tombs was now clothed in his right mind and sitting at the feet of Jesus. What’s going on here?
The townspeople were beside themselves with fear. What would happen next? This is predominantly Gentile territory. Perhaps these Gerasenes had not heard of Jesus or of the mighty acts had had already performed in Galilee. Either way, they wanted him gone.
Therefore, in their fear they ask Jesus to get back in the boat he came in and return to where he came from. Jesus complies with their request as he did with that of the demons. As the disciples and Jesus were shoving off the man of the tombs asked that he might go with them. Jesus said no.
Instead, he gave the man a mission. “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” The man quite understandably is somewhat reluctant to return home not knowing what kind of reception he might receive. How would he explain what had happened to him?
The demons that once possessed him recognized Jesus as God’s Son. Now that the man of the tombs is clothed in his right mind, he too knows who Jesus really is. For he went home and told all who would listen what God had done for him by telling them what Jesus had done for him.
As strange as the story may be, it appears in all three of the synoptic gospel, albeit with varying detail. The point of the story being Jesus’ supreme power over evil spirits. His power and authority, as the “Son of the most high God,” extends beyond the natural realm to include the super natural.
For the man, it is not just a story of healing but of salvation. The salvation God had promised long ago to his chosen people, Israel, is now spreading out to include the Gentiles. How do we come to the knowledge that Jesus and the Father are one? What does it take for us to make the leap of faith?
If the enemy of God knows who Jesus really is, why is it so difficult for us who claim to be His followers to do the same? Many still see Jesus as a just man, albeit with extraordinary powers, yet a man nonetheless.
Is it so hard for us to conceive of the fact that God at a certain moment in our human history came down from heaven, humbled his divinity to share in our humanity by becoming one of us? Obviously, for some it is and always has been. To understand who Jesus is and what he has to do with you and me, it is necessary for us to put ourselves in the story.
Just for a moment be one of the disciples who, at this point in their relationship to Jesus, are still behind the learning curve. He has stilled the storm at sea and saved you from drowning. Now he has stilled the soul and mind of this man who once lived among the dead by exorcising the legion of demons who had possessed him. Who can do that but God?
See yourself standing, at a safe distance, as a member of the Gentile crowd who are afraid of what might come next. What am I to think of this Jesus who, on the one hand has somehow made the man of the tombs whole again, and on the other has destroyed a herd of swine?
Who is this Jesus? Moreover, what does he have to do with me? To answer that question we must compare our own story with that of the man of the tombs.
He was as good as dead. He even lived among the dead. He had no life. All were afraid of him. He ranted and raved as though he were out of his mind. Then he met Jesus. As demented as he was at that moment, yet he fell at Christ’ feet. Once relieved of his demonic possession, he willingly sat at Jesus’ feet assuming the role of a disciple.
When I stop and contemplate the import of this strange and unique little story, it is easy for me to see something of myself in the disciples who were ready to flee, at the presence of evil. Or one of the Gentile on-lookers who were afraid of the power this Jesus seemed to possess and asked him to depart and leave me alone. Fear is one thing. Godly fear is something else.
But, more importantly, I see myself in the man of the tombs, who once Jesus came into his life, was transformed and made whole again. He now had a purpose, a reason for living. He became obedient to God in Christ.
He carried out the mission Jesus gave to him. He proclaimed that this Jesus was God, for only God could have done what Jesus did by rescuing him from a life of sin and darkness and raising him to the new life of light and peace.
We don’t always think about what God has done for us, and continues to do for us - do we? How he has rescued each of us from a life of sin and death, and raised us to new life in Him who died and rose again. It is a life we are powerless to live, however, were it not for the Love of God, who in His infinite mercy continues to shower us with His grace to live it and to own it.
We don’t always think about it, but we should. For the story of the man of the tombs is our story, a story of salvation; a story we should be most willing to tell, as he did, giving thanks to God for all that he has done for us by telling any and all how much Jesus Christ has done for us. AMEN+