Read a few mornings ago about Jesus and the disciples finishing their journey across the lake. The journey started at the end of chapter 4 with a storm coming up while they were on the water and it ends here with them arriving on “The Other Side” in the land of the Gerasenes. There they encounter a man who was possessed by a “legion” of demons and a very strange (and disturbing) story follows. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying about the other side recently but I didn’t have the words for it until this story. I’ve been working on a sermon about Acts 8 and the story of Philip having the courage to respond to God’s crazy call on his life and I’ve also had our upcoming trip to Kenya very much on the forefront of my mind.
In the story of Philip, he doesn’t quite know why he’s being called out to a desert road in the heat of the day but there he encounters a man who definitely represents people who would have been considered “the other side” for the time. The story of Jesus in Mark 5 is similar – the region they go to was “Gentile” territory. Again, “the other side.”
There’s a literal “other side” to our trip coming up next week – the other side of the ocean. It isn’t an issue of the people being the other side like the other stories for today but it is a different place, different customs, different language, different ways of expressing and sharing faith, different food, and the list goes on. We don’t fully know what all we will be doing while there and definitely don’t know how God is going to work, but the wonderful thing that these stories remind us is that God is ALREADY on the other side. We aren’t bringing God to the other side, but we are entering into where God is already at work. The other side isn’t as much about what is to be afraid of at this point as much as it is curiosity, wonder, and excitement for what is out there.
This picture was from my walk that morning – a foggy morning looking over a little pond that I’ve only viewed from this vantage point. I’ve always wondered what is down there but haven’t gone there. And today in the fog, it had even more of the sense of the unknowing. That day wasn’t the day to head down there but I will coming up at some point to see what’s on the other side