August 20, 2017
Pentecost 11A
Matthew 15:21-28

 

This week’s Gospel features a story about a woman, a Canaanite woman, and her daughter who is possessed by a demon. And nobody cares.

 

Not many did care. This woman was one of the “marginal” people living in Palestine 2000 years ago. She was an expendable commodity. Not only was she a woman, but she was alone. She had no man to speak for her in that male dominated world. (She had no access to the system.) She was a gentile in a Jewish place, a foreigner, a Canaanite, one of Israel’s traditional enemies, she was considered unclean. And her problem had to do with her daughter. Who goes to extremes for daughters? In that world daughters were of no value, few families raised more than one, they were a liability not an asset. Nobody cared about this woman and her daughter? Why should they?

 

Humans have always been good at building fences between themselves and others. It comes naturally to people who live out of fear, who live in the context of “us” verse “them”. Building walls that separate and make distinction makes sense in a world in which we are taught to judge and demean others in order to secure our own sense of identity and goodness, salvation. It’s easy to build walls and fences in this self-righteous and self-centered world. Today’s Gospel reading is a familiar, human, story.

 

I suppose the shocking thing about this story is not that society and the disciples seek to build a wall between this woman and themselves, but that Jesus too, the carpenter’s son, is also there with his hammer and nails, putting up fence planks between himself and the Canaanite woman.

 

Ironically it is this Canaanite woman who becomes the unlikely heroine in today’s story. Even though Jesus rebukes her, she won’t leave. Instead she decides to engage “the messiah” in debate. She was definitely a woman of courage. And in the end she is the only person in any of the four gospels who gets the better of Jesus in an argument! In love and hope she appeals to a vision of a new kind of kingdom, a place where all are, unexpectedly, gathered together in the arms of grace, the unconditional love of God, even the so called “dogs” of the world. She anticipates the cross and the radical grace that will change everything, that will destroy the presuppositions behind every fence and wall ever built. This faith and its vision seem to awaken the Christ, “Oh woman, great is your faith!” And as the walls come tumbling done, the power of God is manifest, and her daughter was healed instantly.

 

 

      1. Remember Me

 

 

Remember me
When I remember you
Gather up all the broken-ness
As only you can do
When we remember you

 

I am so weak
I need some one who’s strong
My heart is so empty
For true love I long
I need some one who’s strong

 

Remember me
When I remember you
Gather up all the broken-ness
As only you can do
When we remember you

 

I am on the outside
Always looking in
I am so lonely
Waiting to begin
Always looking in

 

Remember me
When I remember you
Gather up all the broken-ness
As only you can do
When we remember you

 

I have this dream
But I can’t do it alone
I have the desire
A burning in my soul
But I can’t do it alone

 

Remember me
When I remember you
Gather up all the broken-ness
As only you can do
When we remember you

 

Bring me to the table
The mystery of grace
Break the bread and pour the wine
I want to see your face
The mystery of grace

 

Remember me
When I remember you
Gather up all the broken-ness
As only you can do
When we remember you

 

 

 

 

If you like this devotion please share it with others via the Facebook button at the bottom of this page! This week’s song, albums, and other songs by Greg, are available on Bandcamp! Get the music free! Greg’s music is listed for “name your own price.” Just choose $0, and download the song or album.

https://gregronning.bandcamp.com/album/charity

 

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