Third Sunday after Epiphany

photo ofThe Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, preaching.

“Let's Talk About Mental Health”
Psalm 88; Mark 5:1-15

O LORD, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
  let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
  I am like those who have no help,
      like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave,
      like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
You have caused my companions to shun me;
  you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
  or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O Lord, cry out to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O Lord, why do you cast me off? Why do you hide your face from me?
Wretched and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors;
  I am desperate.
Your wrath has swept over me; your dread assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long; from all sides they close in on me.
You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me; my companions are in darkness.
–Psalm 88

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. –Mark 5:1-15