I’m a bit of a Game of Thrones fan. Some of you may know of it.
It is a fantasy series, that foillows the intrigue and civil war in a fictitious world
that has some pretty strong similarities to mediaeval England
I am catching up in the series – I am about half a series behind
But in one episode recently the head of one of the ‘noble families’
bought an entire city’s slave stock, and then set them free.
When she did this, the leader – Daenerys Targaryen –
asked them all to choose a new name for themselves.
One that they wanted to be known by.
Not just one that was forced upon them by their slave owners
The power of a name!
It’s a powerful story this one in Luke
Jesus takes his close band of followers across the lake and across the border.
He’s gone into the land of the non-Jewish people,
which is definitely a no-no if you are a self-respecting Jewish rabbi of the time
And when he gets there he is confronted by a man who is described as possessed.
How we would describe him these days, I am not sure.
He is wandering around the tombs –not a place of community and wholeness
He is perceived as a danger – to himself and to others.
And Jesus, who has crossed boundaries to get to him, asks him his name
In possibly the saddest part of the story he says to Jesus
“My name is Legion, for we are many”
As I said, the story is framed that he is possessed by demons,
and his name has now been lost, and replaced by his condition.
Possessed by many he is now simply “Legion”
I believe that whenever in life a person becomes defined, or named, by their condition,
You may not be a follower of the TV show, “The Voice” but you may have seen
that the results of this year’s series were determined and announced this past week.
The person who won has stuttered throughout his life, but doesn’t stutter when he sings
My hope is that if and when people talk about the winner of this year’s show
they don’t talk about “that young stuttering guy”
Instead, they talk about Harrison Craig.
My hope is that if and when people talk about the editor of the ABC website “Ramp Up”
they don’t talk about “that female disabled journalist”
but we talk about Stella Young
We demonise people when we give them a label rather than a name.
And I know that there are people here who have been demonised.
Have you been labeled rather than named?
There are many that people use –
aged, female, divorced, unemployed, foreign, teenager, illegals
Jesus is crosses boundaries so that we will be named, not demonised.
Jesus says to us again and again that we are much more
than the sum total of our past failures and disappointments and conditions.
We are God’s beloved children, forgiven, healed, and blessed with an open future.
Jesus comes to tell us that no matter how many times we are told the contrary,
we are not insufficient or undeserving of love.
There are so many voices that try to possess and discourage us
that we may as well still call them legion.
But this great story
It names the lie.
We are not “legion, for we are many”
We are ….
We are each, a child of God