Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Today’s text

Matthew 15:21-28

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.

No limits

It is hard to know what all this story is about. Is it about Jesus learning the breadth of his mission, the universality of God’s love for the peoples of the earth? Perhaps his vision was too narrow, too parochial.

Was your heart moved, Jesus, as you felt the woman’s desperation as she knelt in the dust and begged for your help? Did you think, “Why not? Why limit the loving power of God to some narrow band of chosen people?  Can I not share it with all the peoples of this troubled world?”

Did the depth of her sorrow and fear so move you that you could not turn away? 

Did she teach you more about God’s love for this world than you had before understood?

Or is the story about the woman’s desperation … and ours? Does it lead us to throw aside all pretense and pride before you to plead for the deep needs of our hearts that we so often try to deny or ignore?

Both messages seem present. Day-today we take life and health for granted, failing to humble ourselves before the magnitude of your divine immensity to say ‘thank you’ for the generosity of your all-loving heart.

But I come back again to that all-loving heart … to the revelation that there are no boundaries in divine grace, no limits or borders that allow it to go only so far.

I come back to this woman who begged and dared to believe what we forget: Nothing limits the range of divine compassion. As soon as we draw lines and circles, boundaries and borders, we exclude ourselves from the place you are and from the people you love.

There are no dogs, no outcasts, no one whom you are not willing to feed at the table of your grace.

Our angers and fears exclude those who threaten or wound us, but even these, you say, are dear to you.

As we open our hearts to them … we open our hearts to you … and know the love that flowed from the heart of Jesus to the woman at his feet.

Pr. David L. Miller

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