My thoughts (Tommy Chittenden):
Deviled ham, I feel, falls in the same category of things like potted meat, spam and vienna sausage. It’s like “mystery meat.” Reading the ingredients does very little to help me understand what it is I am considering putting into my body. Yet so many of us have a considerable history of growing up with “mystery meat” as part of our family’s approach to providing food during economically challenging times. And I am sure if some of us were to open our pantries even today we might find those small metal cans with pop tops or that can with the crazy little key used to “roll back” the lid — making it even more mysterious.
Recently I was in Louisville getting to better know a wonderful gentleman who was giving me a guided tour of the city. We were at a stop light when I saw a truckload of swine turn into what surely was their “final destination.” I allowed my thoughts to meander around the variety of food products created by a truck load of “oinkers” when I suddenly landed in the story told by today’s scripture. Ta-daaa! (Now you know a little bit of how my mind works in order to write a Be Still.)
So Jesus converses with the demons, and when they beg to enter the pigs rather than be banished, Jesus says “Fine, go.” Wonderful news for the Gerasene, not so good news for the swine who, now possessed with “demons”, rushed down the steep cliff into the lake and drowned. And that was how we got “deviled ham”! (Just this one writer’s opinion, of course.)
There is absolutely no doubt about the power of God (inside me and you) to overrule, overcome, and banish the demon(s) that create chaos, suffering, hell (inside me and you). 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He that is IN YOU than the one that is in the world.”
Consider any thoughts that are born of fear, your no-good self, your never-enough self, your unforgivable and unlovable self, and you might as well list them as ingredients on your own physical container. They’re the recipe for personal suffering, chaos, self-hatred and much, much more. Make no mistake. This is genuine misery. This is hell.
Notice what happens when the people of the countryside around Gerasene (who were also possessed and suffering with dread and terror) learn about what Jesus had done for the man possessed with demons. Instead of seeking out Jesus that he might do the same for them, they “asked Jesus to depart from them.”
Anybody been there before? Comfortable in our misery, in our pain, in our chaotic thinking, turning to the numbing contents of the bottle, the drug of choice, the risky behavior that so easily compromises our body causing us to run off a proverbial cliff into a proverbial lake terrorized by fear — instead of going inside to inquire of Spirit if any of this “mystery meat” is even true. Our Truth is in every one of us! We have the power to cast out anything that is not supported by the power of love.
Thought for today: Today, God, I choose to come home, come home to myself, with the awareness that I am yours and that I have the power to choose hell or heaven in this moment. With your grace and love, anything, and all things are possible!
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.