(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been given a clue about what faith is. Last week Jesus called Peter on his small faith and this week Jesus again does the unthinkable. A woman from outside the Tribe of Israel pesters Jesus about healing her daughter. At first, Jesus denies her request. But she does not give up, and Jesus recognizes her faith as “great”. She simply would not yield in her persistence to receive a blessing from Jesus. How far do you go to receive a blessing? Are you patient? persistent? annoying? confident? Just how do you describe your faith? Post your thoughts on our website.
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28
. . . Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
From sermon4kids.com: “Even though Jesus came first to the Jew, he loved us so much that he shared his love with all of us. I guess we are a little bit like the dog—even though the meal was not prepared especially for us, it doesn’t keep us from enjoying it.”
Scripture: August 16, 2020—Isaiah 56:1,6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; and Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Genesis 45:1-15 and Psalm 133.
Collect: Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: Paul declares, “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” How do the gifts and calling of God support us? How might they support us when we are not aware of them or even when we reject them? [from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion]
Saint Focus: A number of interesting saints to choose from this week. Artemisia Bowden, who died on August 18, 1969, is one of the more interesting entries. She was called to take over St. Phillips School in Texas and developed it as a school for Black women. The school remains part of the San Antonio community college system. The link below gives little more details [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church] however, Wikipedia expands the information.
This week, the saints under consideration were:
- 13; Jeremy Taylor, Bishop & Theologian, 1667
- 14; Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Seminarian and Martyr, 1965
- 15; Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ
- 17; Samuel Johnson, 1772, Timothy Cutler, 1765, and Thomas Bradbury Chandler, 1790, Priests; AND The Baptisms of Manteo, and Virginia Dare, 1587
- 18; William Porcher DuBose, Priest, 1918; and Artemisia Bowden, 1969
- 20; Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 1153
Eye Candy: “Woman of Canaan” (late 20th century), painting (Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.) by Sadao Watanabe; “Blind Men” (1882, Russia), by Sergey Ivanov; “The Canaanite woman asks for healing for her daughter” (~1500), painting (Spain) by Juan, de Flores
Brain Food: This week we turn again to Spirituality & Practice (S&P), this week looking at ways to cope with negativity that naturally breaks through during these times: “Coping with Negativity“. One suggestion (which you’ve heard about in many places) is to practice gratitude. Often, during trying times, an effort to express (and feel) gratitude will result in an improved attitude. The Episcopal Church also supports this concept in its “Way of Love” program.
Contemporary Parables: “The kid with a bike” (2011), “Samantha can’t tell Cyril why she forgives him”; “Joyeux Noel” (2005), soldiers declare unofficial truce in the midst of war; “Munyurangabo (Liberation Day)” (2007), unlikely friends
The woman in the gospel had faith that Jesus would grant her request. Did she see how unusual that was? That Jesus would accept one who was outcast from his social circle? How about you? What would it mean for OUR church to be a house for all people. There are churches doing just that (look up House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver with Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber). How do you think God would bless the churches that fully adopt all people into their congregations? (excerpted from “Time for a Crumby Gospel” at the Stewardship of Life website https://www.stewardshipoflife.org/2017/08/time-for-a-crumby-gospel/)
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
In today’s liturgy, the scriptures deal with the inclusiveness of God’s call. The gospel reading brings a Canaanite woman to Jesus, asking that he heal her daughter. At first, Jesus responds that he is sent only to Jews. However, the woman’s deep faith moves him and he heals her daughter.
Track 1. Joseph, sold in to slavery by his brothers, with God’s help became the most powerful official of Egypt. When famine left the children of Jacob starving, they came to Egypt for food. After letting these unfaithful brothers live in suspense for a time as to whether this great ruler would assist them, Joseph’s love for them led him to reveal his identity. He then brought all the family to Egypt to live in prosperity.
Track 2. In the first reading, we have a vision from a prophetic writer of all people being called into God’s household. God says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.”
In the second reading, Paul is dealing with the role of Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan. Distressed that many of his fellow Jews have not accepted Jesus, Paul nevertheless is certain that they, like the Gentiles, are part of that plan. Indeed, “The gifts and the calling of God [to the Jews] are irrevocable,” he says.
Christianity stands over against those human movements that would exclude some people. God’s call is to every human being. Our gatherings as church must always be faithful to that and we must seek to mirror in our own congregations the complete inclusiveness of God’s call to the human race.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.