This sermon was recorded Sunday, Feb. 17. It was delivered to the congregation of Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska where we had concluded regretfully that a second scheduled community program on gun violence in America would not serve the purposes of constructive dialogue.
Two texts interact in this sermon. The first is the traditional First Sunday of Lent account of the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. While two later Gospels, Matthew and Luke, tell the story of three temptations in the wilderness, the earlier Gospel of Mark describes the entire wilderness temptation with one curious phrase: “he was with the wild beasts.” The second text (Mark 5:1-20) is the encounter of “Jesus, the Son of the Most High God” with the insane man living alone among the tombs, “possessed” by the “Legion” (a Latin word in a Greek text, the word for a unit of the Roman occupation forces). The story ends with the man who had been possessed/occupied by the Legion “sitting there, clothed and in his right mind” to everyone astonishment.