Reflections from Father Adam: Go Home and Tell
March 14, 2020
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”
These lines from gospel lesson appointed for evening prayer today struck me hard. Jesus has just healed a demon-possessed man whose life was so out of control that he was living in a cemetery. Jesus drove a legion of demons out of him, and ended up killing a herd of swine and upsetting the local farmers.
As Jesus is getting in the boat to go home, the healed man begs Jesus to be with him. Jesus refuses and tells the man to go home.
I feel like this man tonight. Worship tomorrow is canceled and the church is closed. I am heartbroken, as I know many of you are. I want to go and be with Jesus, and on Sunday mornings Jesus always shows up in the Eucharist and in the people of God at St. John’s. But just like the former demoniac, Jesus is telling me to go home instead.
Of course, Jesus continues, saying to tell your friends how much the Lord has done for you and what mercy he has shown you. These words of Jesus may be the commission for us in this time. What if we actually went home this Lord’s Day and told our family and friends how much the Lord has done for us? What if we took the time to remember and share the mercy God has shown us?
For those of us who have to stay home from church this weekend, we have a few options. We can read morning prayer or other devotions. (Forward Movement offers helpful resources). We can watch a service on TV or the internet. (The Presiding Bishop will be at the National Cathedral at 11:00am here). Whatever we do, however, we also have the challenge to talk about the incredible love and mercy of God with those closest to us. This discussion doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as easy as taking turns answering two simple questions:
- Where have you felt closest to God this week?
- Where have you felt most alone or afraid this week, and how has God been with you there?
If we share God’s love and mercy for us, I believe we will find our spiritual lives deepened and enriched. Such sharing may become a regular practice that opens our homes and our families to a profound awareness of the presence of God. These godly conversations can remain an important part of our lives when this current crisis is past and church life returns to normal.
Even with churches closed, we can use this weekend to grow closer to Jesus and to our family and friends. We just need to do what Jesus says: “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”