“As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs…. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” (Luke 8:26-39)
The scripture story describes a man whose demons forced him to live on the outside of community. The story is not only an ancient tale. So many struggle with demons that hold our spirits captive. The stigma of this torment keeps us separated, holding life at arm’s length. Transformation and healing is possible but it may need to start with the work of compassion and truth-telling. How can we stay in conversation, not running and hiding from the reality and pain of mental illness in our communities and be the healing salve of Jesus’ presence?