View print-optimized version

Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, February 9, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 5:13–20

So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. (NRSV)

I really wonder about pet pigs.

You see the YouTube videos, people with these wonderful pigs. Big pigs, little pigs, cute little baby pigs. They seem so nice, and I really just wonder “Why?”

I mean, if you look at the history of pig-human relations, it’s hard to see much benefit accruing to the porcine side of the equation.

Take this story, for example. A guy is living in the graveyard and no one can get him out, since he has this berserker strength. Then Jesus shows up and it turns out that the guy has a tiny little demon problem. The demons see Jesus and say, “Oh (darn it), we’re (in trouble).” And before Jesus can do anything they offer a deal. They’ll go into a nearby herd of pigs. Apparently the demons were fans of Mythbusters and knew that pigs are a close analog for the human body; but if they’d watched all the episodes, they’d have known that this was one more thing that never goes well for the pigs.

The pigs run into the water and drown, busting The Myth of the Swimming Pigs. The swineherds run off to tell people, who come back and ask Jesus to leave. (“We’re really sorry, but both drowned pigs and demon pigs are bad for the local swineherd cooperative.”)

Jesus, not being one to stay where he isn’t wanted starts to go, and the guy wants to go too, but Jesus says, “No, you go back and tell everyone what happened to you.” Because he could see that in spite of being able to see the guy being sane and healthy, the people were only thinking about pigs.

So the now-OK guy goes back and tells people what happened. And they were amazed, and for a little while they didn’t think about pigs. Which was probably one of the best things to happen to the pigs in a while.

And the moral of the story is: Get your mind off the pigs and look at what can be done for people. It’ll be good for everybody.

Lord, so much of the time we get caught up in our petty concerns and we miss the point of what we’re supposed to do for each other. Let us learn to rejoice in the blessings of others. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email