Tuesday: Psalm 21, 23 & Luke 8:26-56

From Hannah Later

Stillness. To the man possessed by demons, I wonder at the peace he must have felt after Jesus spoke to him. The stillness of one voice cutting through the multitude of demonic voices, clamoring for his attention, his allegiance, his soul. To be drawn suddenly up and out of himself, into the clear and guiding voice of Christ, I think of David's psalm: He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. The man's desperation to follow Jesus, to follow the sound of his voice, and then for Jesus to send him away has always concerned me. But I think perhaps Jesus knew that this man already had all that he needed. Once Jesus speaks to us and brings us out of darkness, he is always with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Even in real and mortal death, as the death that befell Jairus's daughter, Jesus demonstrates his power to overcome even that. 

But perhaps I am most struck by the bleeding woman, who touches Jesus's garment as he passes, desperate to be healed. "Someone touched me," Jesus says, "For I perceive that power has gone out from me." I never think of Jesus's healing miracles as having any sort of toll on him, yet there it is. There is a cost, however slight it may seem. Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of the ultimate cost, the final sacrifice he will make for us all, to heal our greatest wound with the price of his life.

He prepares a table for us, in the presence of our enemies.He doesn't just walk with us and protect us, he provides for us. He welcomes us in, seats us at his table and honors us, anointing our heads with oil. I take this for granted. I forget what such an abundance cost him. All we have to offer is our faith, and even that falters. Yet he will never leave us nor forsake us. He holds us constantly and tenderly in the overflowing stillness of his love.

 

I am a baker (not a banker) who seeks coziness at all costs. I'm mostly just trying to keep my houseplants alive.