The following is a reflection on Luke 8:26-39, the story of the Gerasene Demoniac, the Gospel lesson appointed for Proper 7C according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
People learn to love their chains.
So said Daenerys Targaryen, from HBO’s Game of Thrones, as she looked over a slave city she was trying to free.
How true. How sad—but oh, how true.
Here’s a man who’s utterly afflicted. Crazy. Out of his mind. Breaking-chains-with-his-bare-hands-lunatic. Living by the tombs. Saturated in evil. Naked.
Jesus comes and delivers him from every evil thing which had taken root in him.
And THEN the people get scared.
They were seized with great fear.
I mean, isn’t that just the strangest thing?
I can understand being scared to death when there’s a naked crazy man living down by the cemetery [click to tweet], but being scared when he’s in his right mind again and clothed? Perhaps they were scared by Jesus’ power over such dark forces. But, more likely, they were scared because the delicate balance of their lives, however unbalanced it was, had been disrupted.
In the case of the Gerasene Demoniac it really is “the devil you know” that seems to be preferred.
And, because of that, in this story the Gerasene Demoniac is delivered, but the town around him is still in chains. [click to tweet] You’d think they’d be the easy ones to deliver. The easy ones to set free. Jesus had already rid their town of a legion of demons.
But, no. Sometimes people learn to love their chains.