Anything But Ordinary!

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Two Sundays ago we celebrated Pentecost and last Sunday we celebrated Trinity Sunday. Now our paraments are green, and they will stay that way throughout the whole of Summer and much of the Fall with very little interruption. We are in the throes of what is known in the church as Ordinary Time and yet our Gospel text for today seems anything but ordinary. Cemeteries… and demons… and pigs… oh, my!  This is one of those texts from which we want to turn away but find ourselves drawn into more deeply as the story becomes (as Alice would say) curioser and curioser! But former Luther Seminary professor David Lose says, “This story isn’t so much about possession as it is about identity.”  That’s why Jesus asks the demon-possessed man, “What is your name?” In baptism, we are given the name Child of God. So when we lose our identity, when we feel trapped by our past hurts or possessed by the voices of our former failures, we’re bidden to come back to the waters of our baptism and hear Jesus ask us, “What is your name?” As we dip our finger into the water and trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads, we reply, “Child of God.”

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