Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 6c)

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We can find many examples, ranging from our own family dynamics to complex sociological structures, that rely on scapegoats as a key component for maintaining what oftentimes is a veneer of functionality. In today's lessons, the scriptures speak of a demon-possessed man who could certainly be considered a scapegoat of the Gerasene community, and Jesus goes directly to this man, bringing healing. We learn today that our own healing can come when we refuse to continue the cycle of scapegoating and avoidance, and instead decide to clearly confront our own dysfunction, prejudice, division, and hatred.

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The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 Comment

  1. amen!
    this is wonderful. both of my parents are alcoholics, and it had a tremendous impact on my young adulthood, mostly in the form of distinctly southern lady version of rage, which manifested in a number of neuroses and chronic depression.
    more recently, I maintain that I have emerged from the shadow of mental illness, largely since I came back to Christ. Because I learned the power of forgiveness, and started focusing on the inappropriate coping mechanisms I’d built as a teenager and carried into adulthood, my life changed and my relationships with other people changed.
    so in that sense, you almost can get a tangible sense of “being saved.” that it took stopping and listening for God to get to that point in my life, and that once I did, a transformation happened. When people ask if I really believe that Jesus died for my sins, I answer that I very much do, because he took that anger off my shoulders and showed me another way. truly, the scapegoat, for taking my anger toward my parents and showing me how to love.
    Sorry for the babble, I’m incredibly introspective today. 🙂

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