In His Right Mind
By Marty Norman –
Storytelling is a gift. Some people have it and some don’t. I don’t, though I’ve wished for it since I was a child. I just never felt equipped.
That’s why, when invited to join a Bible Study on storytelling, my first reaction was a resounding, “Are you kidding? Not me – it’s not my cup of tea.”
“Why? It’s right up your alley”, my friend argued, pressing her point again and again. Finally she wore me down. Relenting, I joined the group to please her. My plan: attend a couple of sessions then fade away.
Scripture tells us that we are to be hearers of the word: “blessed are they who hear the word and obey”, Luke 11:28 NIV; and “faith comes from hearing the message.” Romans 10:17 NIV. Storytelling is based on these scriptures. The purpose: learn the age-old tradition of storytelling practiced by the patriarchs and early civilizations from the American Indian to the Himalayan people groups. Based on biblical tradition, the good news of the gospel is told through oral tradition, different from our modern techniques of video, reading and visual aids.
Was I ever surprised?
The first class was titillating, exciting and challenging. Definitely my cup of tea. I sat mesmerized as Sharon, the leader, told the story of Jesus and the demoniac. The story was more than familiar; I’d read it numerous times but hearing it told in this manner brought a whole new perspective.
I visualized the demoniac cutting himself with stones and throwing fits. I could see the 2000 pigs as they raced to the lake and drowned. I joined the herdsmen as they stood amazed at what they saw.
The turning point hit me hard. When the townspeople saw the demoniac “dressed and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus”, they became afraid. I understood the aversion of many to the truth of the gospel. When faced with the might and power of this man Jesus, people are afraid. They wonder what kind of man this is that heals a demoniac from evil spirits. They shy away from one who commands the wind and waves to cease. They see the demoniac’s transformation and understand that being in a right mind is all about being in a right relationship with God.
Somewhere deep inside, the question lurks for the hearer. If the demoniac changed, even though in a good way, I, too, might have to change. And I don’t want to. No one does. We all like our habits, even if they are harmful to us or to others. We are comfortable in our ways, only willing to change when we are desperate. The demoniac was desperate. He was not only open but willing.
In the mystery that is God, the story of the demoniac, when told without visual aid, reached deep into the hearts of the hearers in a profound way. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told so many stories and parables because when digested, they speak to the heart of the hearer and bring about changed lives.
This is such a story. The demoniac experienced the healing, power, love and mercy of a mighty God. As a result, he ended up in his right mind in a right relationship with the Father, through the power of Jesus Christ. In the end, isn’t that what we all really want.
If that’s not a perfect cup of tea – I don’t know what is.