Posted by Rev. Jon Dunbar

Readings for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 8:26-39; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Isaiah 65:1-9

God isn’t giving up on us, nor on this mess we’ve made of our world.

     The mass shooting that happened in Orlando over the weekend becomes just the latest example of what we knew already. The world is a messed up place, and while many will take the opportunity to point a finger of blame at their preferred target, the greater truth is that we’ve all played a part in making the world what it is today. The larger and – ultimately- more important question is not, “Who’s to blame this time?”, but rather, “Why hasn’t God given up on us all by now?”

     The answer is that giving up on people is not in His nature. By nature, God is patient, merciful, and long-suffering. This important truth is confirmed by Sunday’s readings.

     The situation of the demon-possessed man in our Gospel sounds like hell on earth. Who knows what circumstances led this tormented existence? We’re not told. What we do discover is our Savior’s determination not to leave this man alone with his demons. Jesus will not rest until the Enemy has been driven away and the man’s life has been restored. Jesus didn’t give up on him (Luke 8).

     Nor, says the prophet Isaiah, will the LORD Almighty give up on his rebellious people of the Old Testament, offensive as their sins are. His mighty arms remain wide open with the invitation to repent and live – even if only a small remnant of the people will do so (Is 65).

     In the Epistle reading, the apostle Paul proclaims that God has adopted us as sons and daughters through faith in His Son Jesus. This adoption, which takes place in baptism, brings together men and women of every age, race, and economic class. Nothing on earth will ever be able to destroy this holy community that God has made for Himself (Gal 2,3).