Camping holidays or lives possessed? It seems an odd question, I’ll explain.
Recently in church, we read the story from Saint Luke Chapter 8 of the man possessed by a demon that called itself “Legion.” When reading that story, there is a temptation to think, “that was interesting, but it has nothing to do with me.” But if we look again at the story, we see that the spirit that possesses the man is destroying the man’s life, Saint Luke Chapter 8 Verse 27 tells us, “For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.” The spirit does not want to let go of the man, we read in Verses 28-29, “‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.”
If it all seems a long time ago in a country far away, perhaps we need to ask what spirits there are that might possess people’s lives today, what things there are that destroy lives, what things there are that won’t let go. The various addictions are the most obvious things possessing lives, whether they be addictions to substances or to stuff on the Internet, they destroy lives and are hard to escape. In Jesus’ time, addictions that are common now were unknown, but he still encounters lives possessed by destructive spirits. The thing Jesus warns most strongly against is being taken over by Mammon, he gives stern warnings in Saint Matthew Chapter 6 and Saint Luke Chapter 16 that we have to choose between living our lives for God and living our lives for money and material things, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Mammon has become the spirit that controls the lives of many people, and like many spirits it is destructive and hard to escape. We can be so concerned with money and material things that we lose the important things. We can assume that we must have money, and more and more of it, to be secure, to be happy; and we can find that chances of happiness have passed us by.
Some of my favourite memories from childhood days were going camping with my family. We stayed on a campsite where the toilets and the water taps were in the next field; we spent the days on the beach; we went for walks; we played games; maybe we would go for a drive to another seaside village in the evening; we fell asleep as soon as we got into our sleeping bags. We didn’t have any money to spend.
The summer can be an opportunity for doing things which bring us happiness, which leave us happy memories, let’s not be so concerned with mammon that we miss our chances. The evil spirit was destroying the life of that man, let’s not let the spirit of mammon destroy our lives.