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"Reaches Out" | Sermon by Robb Kojima

Conference Minister David Popham made a reference to a sermon preached by Pastor Robb Kojima of Wailuku Union Church on June 19, 2022, the Sunday after the conclusion of the 200th ‘Aha Pae‘āina. View the sermon below.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 8:26-39

TEXT: 39b "So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him."

THEME: The Spirit of Christ reaches out to find shards of light in us.


We continue with a sermon series on the ‘Spirit in Life’, in this passage the Spirit in Jesus, ‘Reaches Out’. Jesus reaches out to find hidden shards of light in every event and in every person, like treasure, then lifts it up for all to see to bring wholeness to the world. (Adapted from Dr. Remen’s grandfather’s Creation Story)


The shore of Gerasenes, must be like that grave yard across from Paia Hawaiian Church, on the Makai side of the road. Jesus approached from the water and walked up the shore to find someone living among the tomb stones. Spooky, naked, unkept and dirty, with broken chains handing off of his wrists and ankles. He runs up to Jesus and bows at his feet and says, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”

The Disciples have been trying to figure out who Jesus was. He healed the synagogue Leader’s daughter, he feed a massive crowd of people with only a few items, and calmed the waters and winds on their way here. They have been wondering who Jesus possibly might be when this demon possessed man identifies Jesus as ‘the Son of the Most High God’.

This man lives in two worlds, one here and the other possessed by invisible demons that he battles internally. When Jesus asks what his name is, it is Legion, like a battalion of Roman soldiers occupying Judea.

Not only do these demons know who Jesus is, but they also know there is no chance of winning here and pleaded for Jesus not to torture them.

Fearful of being sent into the abyss, a black hole of nothingness, the demons suggest an inhabitation in a herd of pigs. Jesus does this, having compassion for these demons. They cause the pigs to become suicidal, run off a cliff drowning their host in the water below. I can only imagine, with the host dead do the demons also perish?

It is easier to see the demons in others than it is to see the demons inside of us. The villagers are possessed by fear. They see the result of the Spirit of God in Jesus and don’t want that to happen to them. So they rather keep their inhabitations than be liberated from them and ask Jesus and disciples to leave.

This may seem strange, but they may have come to live with their demons and would rather live with them than change, be transformed or live in a new manner.

Even though our ‘Aha Pae’āina last week was viral, it was one of the better ‘Ahas. The Speakers and workshops were excellent, and can be found on the Hawai‘i Conference United Church of Christ’s web page. But in the midst of our gathering were the demons of our ugly past. Reparations for the wrongs committed to the Hawaiians and our church’s complacency towards those events at that time. This is a great abyss that will never be satisfied. In that sense our possession is evident and it prevents us from being able to follow Jesus. Justice is a mirage that only forgiveness can give us hope, because there will never be enough reparations to equal the injustices perpetrated. The hurt remains, the anger remains, the pan remains, if only their were pigs enough to cast these demons into, for there are many.

Our failed attempts to bind them, to satiate them, to reconcile our errors are like broken chains on the wrists and ankles of a possessed man who lives in the shadows of the dead. When we think we have done enough, old stories are retold, our failures repeated, and we are back to square one.

We need Jesus, who sees the hurt, the tortured souls, and listens to the fear, then with compassion sets us free in ways we don’t understand, so our lives can move on as a witness of Christ being with us.

The former demoniac wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus sent him back to his city to declare how much God had done for him. He became a constant reminder of what the Spirit of Christ can do, in an impossible situation.


The way we were treating each other at the Aha Business Meeting, with mistrust and the constant hurting of old wounds, brought us back to the injuries of the past. We wish we could pay for the crimes of our ancestors but we cannot. We wish we could ignore what was done to our brothers and sister of faith, but we cannot. We hear the pain and our actions continue to wound them today. There were historic admissions of our bad behavior. Only love and grace will forgive us. Even though we are not worthy of such kindness. I am afraid that the future of our Hawaii Conference will be in shackles. Being in the wrong, we cannot force our victims to forgive us. That comes from within. It comes from the Spirit. As I was writing this sermon I found myself in prayer. So I will invite those would like to close their eyes for this guided prayer to do so. We will end by opening up our eyes to sing the praise song; There’s a Stirring.

Lets begin by siting comfortably and taking a few relaxing breathes: breathe comfortably and relax…

As we pray, listen instead of talk, to the voices of their prophets that we call activist. We don’t have to do anything other than to feel what they are expressing… … breathe.

Feel how our actions oppress, and have caused a possession in their lives, recognize that they feel stuck too… … breathe.

Listen to the silence, hear the voice of God’s Spirit talking. Feel God’s sadness as we are at odds with each other… … breathe.

Jesus’ compassion extended to the extreme and was for the demons too. What do we need to let go of, to be compassionate…? … breathe.

As we look inside of ourselves. We are afraid of what we might find. What is the demon from you, you would release into a pig…? … Off it goes, over a cliff.

Now breathe in God’s Spirit and fill that space in you with a Blessing… With Peace… With a good presence… Welcome Jesus’ Spirit in you…

Rest… relax…breathe… and when you are ready open your eyes.

CONCLUSION: ♫ There's A Stirring ♫

Verse There's a stirring deep within me Could it be my God has come When I'll see my gracious Savior Face to face with joy and grace Is that God’s voice I am hearing Come and live My precious one Is God calling me? Is God calling me?


I will rise up, rise up Then with Christ

And love the world

With compassionate grace.

Verse 2

Is that God’s voice I am hearing Come and live My precious one Is God calling me? Is God calling me?


I will rise up, rise up Then with Christ

And love the world

With compassionate grace.


There's a stirring deep within me.

CCLI Song # 816808 Anne Herring © 1992 Latter Rain Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved.

The Spirit can greet us in our prayer, to discover hidden shards of light in all events and all people.


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