Mark 5:9

And he asked him,  “What is your name?” “My name,” he said, “is Legion, for there are many of us;”

my name is Legion
I have gathered myself
into a coherent unit
out of all the possible me’s

my heroes and bullies
parents relatives peers
have done their best
to shape me in their image

bosses and comrades in labor
teachers and TV commercials
added their values in
to be thanked and resisted

I am called and controlled
first by one name and then another
each a façade for a number
claiming my allegiance

who am I you ask
a waif of smoke
awaiting my descent of dove
borne and born from above

The exorcising command to leave is backed off from. There is time to delve deeper into what is going on.

An important first question is about identity. Until we can agree about who we are, an on-going relationship will play out of roles rather than personhood. It is always helpful to ask what another’s “Preferred Personal Pronouns” are.

The exiled man has already identified Jesus as related with a G*D of creation (and re-creation—healing). Now Jesus asks, rather than labels, the identity of a person of no place. This takes us out of the magic and power of name-knowing and sets both on a level plane.

So we hear a self-identity of “Legion”.

This is not an easy identity: “I am Legion”, begins in the singular and ends in the plural.

On a simple level we know that there are many internal wars and warriors. The reference to Rome suggests a battalion of 2,048 who need feeding. This is not a scene where people can be arranged by 100’s so we prepare for a different kind of feeding/healing process.

As we proceed we will find that this story moves from singular (meeting) to plural (naming) and back to singular (healing) again. This accords well with our own individual and communal being. Who we know ourselves to be is different from who others know us to be. Our growth plate is the intersection between these as both ourself and our various communities ebb and flow. To be able to talk person-to-person and person-to-community is a precious gift.