Friday, October 17, 2008

Restoring Community

In oursmall group on Sunday nights, we're studying the book of Luke. Last week we talked about a chapter that has frustrated me in understanding it and I had a flash of insight about two stories that helped them make more sense. Specifically Luke 8:26-48.

After Jesus apparently woken up very grumpy from a nap and calmed the waves, he and his followers come to a man possessed by a number of demons. When Jesus casts the demons out, the man returns to his normal self and even though he wants to follow Jesus, Jesus tells him to return home and tell people about what God has done for him. Immediately after Jesus returns to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, he's approached by Jairus a synagogue ruler about his dying daughter. On his way to heal the girl, a woman with bleeding for years touched Jesus' cloak and she is healed.

Now on hand these two stories don't appear related outside the healing aspects. But there's something deeper I think. By removing the man's demons and healing the woman, both of them have been made "clean" or rather acceptable in the sight of the community. We tend to think of healing from only the physical aspect, but there was a societal aspect of it as well. A man naked among the graves would not have been allowed to be a part of the larger community. A woman bleeding for years was so unclean that she could not be with a man or even worship God according to the Jewish customs; she was ceremonially unclean.

By healing these people, Jesus not only took care of physcial infirmities, but just as importantly helped restore them to their communities, giving them a witness of God's miraculous love. Which causes me to think about ways that I as a follower of Jesus can help in that same mission, to restore people to community.

No comments:

Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro