The man’s words always chill my soul a little: “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
The demon-possessed man, tormented, prone to self-harm, both afraid and fearsome to others, this man encountered Jesus among the tombs. Jesus cast the demons out, sending them into a herd of pigs, which further terrified those who witnessed the miraculous event.
It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around such a dark, yet somehow hopeful tale, of spiritual warfare. It is so much easier to talk about church life, kingdom life, as if it is only about solving some current social problem. “Civil strife, global warming, pollution, world poverty…that’s more than enough for us to handle….leave the other-worldly stuff to whoever wants to make the latest sci-fi thriller.”
But not so fast.
There is good, historical precedent for our taking at least a little time thinking about how to confront the dark forces around us. I, for one, believe they are real. I cannot explain them easily – and I don’t think Hollywood has the last word on what they are like – but I believe they are real. I find no other explanation for the depth of evil I see at work, too often, around the world.
Still, I don’t usually lose a lot of sleep worrying about the unseen things that go bump in the night. Why? Because I am rock-solidly sure that they have already been defeated.
Evil won’t – can’t – ultimately win over love. Christ has already proven that. The Church, for all of her faults, and they are many, has already proven that. If you don’t think that – think seriously – seriously, carefully, not flippantly – about what our world might be like without the positive influences of the faith. Inquisition, holy wars, and clergy sex abuse not withstanding – I will still take a world with the Golden Rule and the teachings of Jesus in it – over one without them- any day.
There are still legions of demons out there – however you picture them – literally or figuratively. But, they are a beaten and battered group, on their way out, defeated – ultimately – by sacrificial love.
That…is very good news.