Scripture: Matt. 15:21–28
Key verses: (25-27) 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.”
Reflection: Every year in Confirmation, the 8th graders want to find a loop-hole for going to church. They ask questions about being able to worship God in “sunrises” and “nature”, hoping that they can go on a fishing trip or spend the weekend at the beach instead of coming to confirmation. Yes, you can definitely worship God anywhere. Anytime. We need the church and we need Jesus.
We may be attending worship in our PJ’s or you might be watching worship from the beach (or the golf course) but we are still the church. We need to be reminded of our baptism. We need to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We need Jesus.
Are we afraid to admit it or do we not know that we need Jesus?
The disciples were with Jesus, following him and even they were not all the way on board. The Pharisee’s followed the rules and laws of God but definitely had some problems with Jesus. The Canaanite woman in our scripture today just needed help.
Nadia Bolz Weber says the “Canaanite woman is the hero of this story because she doesn’t try to justify herself before God, she’s like, “Jesus, you’re right. I AM a loser who doesn’t get it – so, you know, hand over the goods already”.
The sass-mouthed Canaanite woman was like, yeah – of course I’m a dog – why else would I be on my knees asking for mercy and healing? Just to be clear – that’s not having low self-esteem, that’s just finally admitting the truth and admitting the truth is always an act of faith.”
We often talk about this passage as the time when Jesus got it wrong and the Canaanite woman called him out for his racism and judgement. Jesus often told stories to get us to think outside the box so maybe this is yet another time Jesus reminds us that he has come for the broken, the poor, the desperate. Maybe this interaction was intentional to jolt the disciples and Pharisee’s into realizing that they may not be so far off from this woman. Maybe we may not be so different from this faithful, bold and courageous Canaanite woman.
We need Jesus too.
We can get down on our knees and bring whoever we are to Jesus. Apathetic, Cynical, selfish or maybe you are just mean. It doesn’t matter. You are loved. You can be transformed. If you feel empty or like nothing, know that you are enough. If you feel lost or lonely, know that you are never alone. This is the good news of the gospel. For you and for me.
Prayer: Let us pray, God, we don’t get it, faith. We think we have it all together until we don’t. Bring healing where we are hurting, bring wholeness where we are broken. God, be light in our darkness. Remind me that I am part of your body, the church, even when we are a part from one another. We, this broken body needs you today and everyday. In the name of your son who brings life and love. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].