This sonnet is about the Gerasene demoniac. In it I imagine from the demoniac’s view, what Jesus’ coming meant. Did it mean judgement? Further bondage? Or does Jesus have something other in mind? What if Jesus’ coming meant new life arising from defilement and death? And what if in kindness, he did not let us go with him away, but he sent us to in order to tell others about him?
Luke 8:26-39 reads,
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
It helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.
Long since, I left my people and my home
Who had long since given up on me
To dwell in undwelling, midst death and bone
Among these tombs by the Galilee.
When he came, I rushed, was all in a rage;
As he called them out, rebuked the unclean,
I thought his call was back to a cage.
“Leave me alone! Leave me unseen!”
What if we would step out, wait, let him speak;
Let him see our hearts, untie the twisted;
Be bold yet humble, use our strength to be weak?
What if in peace, we could just sit and listen?
What if Power were joined with affection
And sent us word of the coming resurrection?
© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Der liebende Jesus jagt Dämonen in Schweine. 1860 Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794–1872)