The Story for the
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 16, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Adam Brown
The Canaanite Woman’s Faith
21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 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.” 23 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.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Something to Do
Finding the Lost and Forgotten
Take a look around your house and find something that you thought you’d lost or something that you’d forgotten all about. It can be something significant and nostalgic, or something ordinary; how is God speaking through that object? Where was God in the memories it conjures?
Something to Wonder
Food for the Dogs
Jesus noted that, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” but in response the woman noted that even the dogs get the scraps that fall from the table. Dogs were considered unclean animals and represented the gentiles, so the woman was, in a way, finishing Jesus’ sentence in that the “food” that Jesus brought would be extended to those throughout the world, especially to those in the margins. It’s often said that we can say where God is, but we can never say where God is not. Ponder that thought throughout the week.
The disciples aren’t known for their patience. In this story they urged Jesus to just heal the daughter so the woman would stop interrupting; to just, in a way, give them what they want so they’ll just go away. Jesus, though, responds by giving the woman an opportunity to express her faith more clearly, leading to Jesus affirming that she is a woman of “great faith” where, mere sentences before during the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus called the disciples, men of “little faith”. In what ways have you been annoyed by a voice which you had not recognized to be God’s, or as one full of faith?
Something to Learn
Dorothy Day and “The Catholic Worker” Movement
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was born an Anglican in New York City, but eventually became a Roman Catholic during her life. She was a revolutionary figure in the modern development of the Christian spirituality of radical social justice, and she is celebrated today in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches as a hero. Since she was originally a journalist, she wrote a great deal (most notably her autobiography, “The Long Loneliness”), all of which you can find online, but the reflection linked below offers a brief glimpse into her work with the poor and marginalized as a cornerstone of her faith.
“The mystery of the poor is this: That they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love.” (Dorothy Day)
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.