By FMCSF Youth Group

Note: Our church’s youth group rewrote the Gospel stories for each Sunday of Lent and then presented them as children’s stories during worship.

Third Sunday of Lent, March 4

Mark 5:1-17 (Jesus and the demoniac)

After spending time traveling the suburbs surrounding Washington DC, Jesus decided to take the train all the way to the other side of the country–to the Bay Area. None of his friends were from there and they were a little afraid to go.

After an exhausting trip, they arrived at Jack London Square in Oakland. Jesus’ friends noticed a few homeless encampments nearby and a bunch of parking lots. As soon as they walked off the train this crazy guy, who had cuts and bruises all over his body, started running toward them. He was yelling and moving around and jumping up and down as he approached.

A woman walking by said, “Watch out for that guy. Not even the police can restrain that guy. He busts right through the handcuffs and escapes from the police cars every time they try to take him away. He yells day and night and lives in that encampment. Everyone is freaked out by him. I’d keep your distance if I were you.” Then she hurried away.

However, they were not able to keep their distance because the man came right up to Jesus and then knelt down at his feet. Jesus seemed to be saying something to him and then the man yelled at the top of his lungs. “WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING ME JESUS, SON OF GOD. PLEASE DON’T TORMENT ME.”

It turns out Jesus had said him, “be free of the spirits that are making you crazy.”

This man knew a lot about torment. He had grown up in a poor family and often didn’t have enough to eat. He resorted to stealing in order to feed his brothers and sisters after their mom died of cancer. They hadn’t had money to afford treatment for her.

Then he was recruited into joining the military because he didn’t know of other ways to take care of his siblings. While in the military he saw a lot of violent things happen. After getting out of military he had nowhere to go and ended up living on the street.

He had lots of nightmares from his experiences in the military. He got medication to try to make the nightmares go away but instead they made him aggressive and violent. After awhile he could barely think normally at all.

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

He said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Legion is a military term that refers to 6,000 soldiers. So he was saying there were 1,000s of trained soldiers occupying him.

The spirits had taken over the man’s mind and body. They said, “Do not send us far away.” They were afraid of Jesus because of his spiritual power. They said, “Send us into that parking lot of self-driving Uber cars over there by the Bay.” Jesus agreed and all the Uber cars drove themselves into the Bay and sunk to the bottom. There were about 2,000 of them.

The attendants at the parking lot were really angry and really afraid of losing their jobs when they saw all the cars drive into the Bay. They went and told the police and then went straight to the Uber headquarters to tell what had happened.

The Uber managers came to Jesus, as well as many people from Oakland because everyone on social media was talking about the cars driving into the Bay. They saw that the man who had been out of his mind was wearing clean clothes and was sitting peacefully near Jesus. They were afraid that Jesus might heal more crazy people, and destroy more property in the process, so they begged him to leave the Bay Area as soon as possible.

Like we’ve been talking about during Lent, Jesus said and did things that people thought were weird. He sometimes helped people who were seen as strange and scary. He was a poor person who was teaching other poor people and together they were creating a movement to change the world. He called the movement the “kingdom of God.” The movement was about being in healthy relationships with each other and working together for justice. It was about sharing, about everyone having enough food and everyone having a home and being free.