No one could restrain him any more...

Mark 5:1-20 is the beginning of one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible.  Over the weekend I was able to spend a little Lectio on this wonderful story and came out with an interpretation that deeply spoke to me and where I feel my situation is.  I share it here in case there are others who are like me.

The man lives in a culture that builds up walls and fortifies their position (Gerasene means a place surrounded by a wall).  Perhaps he has been seeking for a way to live his life and many people have come to him and given him advice on how to live.  Of course the advice given is advice to become another wall builder.  So he tries, but it does not work.  As he moves closer to the age where he can have influence, people try to restrain him with chains they have made.  These chains are broken by this man's intensity to find his way to live.  He is told by a "legion" of people to become like them -a wall builder - and he becomes frustrated and angry on these ineffective models.  The man is restless trying to find a model that he can pattern his life after that is not destructive or violent or wall building or fortifying.  His intensity to find a model as well as the pressure of the community to become like them, drives him mad and into habits of self destruction and pain.  

Then Jesus appears.  

The man has become jaded at finding a model when he falls at the feet of Jesus.  He has fallen at the feet of so many people looking for the way to live only to find the advice given is rooted in wall building and violence.  The man cries out,  "What have you to do with me Jesus.  Please do not torment me, don't give me more of the same advice!"  Jesus commands the other models (the legion of demons) to come out in order to make room for a new model that has not ever been seen before in that area of wall builders.  The demons run into swine and do what they do best - destroy themselves.  

The man finds a new model in Jesus and is freed.  But now the community is fearful of not only Jesus but this man who chooses to live not as a wall builder - not like they want him to live.  The community asks Jesus to leave so that no others may disrupt the wall building system.  Jesus leaves and the man pleads to go with him for he wants so badly to be with people who are like him - un-walled people.  Jesus wants this man to go to the other cities, the Decapolis (ten cities) and help break down walls, liberate others and share the new model.

The community of wall builders are amazed - perhaps realizing their way of living (building walls) is not longer functional or healthy.

As I move closer to ordination, I am involved in more and more conversations in which other ministers offer up a model for ministry for me to follow.  I feel that I am being fought over by different camps who want me to be "like them".  I long for liberation from these models that are hurtful for me.  I long for Jesus to enter into my life and show me a way to "do ministry" that is sustainable and fruitful.

This is my prayer as I move toward June.