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    Resources for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost


 


Texts & Discussions:

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 and
Psalm 125 or
Isaiah 35:4-7a and
Psalm 146
James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17
Mark 7:24-37

 

 

Prayer for a Generous Heart

God of Love and God of Justice, lead us by your Spirit in the ways of generosity and hospitality toward our fellow human beings.  May we never forget where we came from and that what we have received from you is a gift.  Help us overcome any    judgmental attitudes, biases, and all the "isms" that wreak havoc in our society and even in our churches.  Teach us to walk in the generous and loving way of Jesus, the Christ, so that your name may be magnified above all the earth. Amen.


 

Sermons


Children's Messages


Sermon Excerpt

Overcoming the Myth of the “Foreigner”
Mark 7:24-37
Rev.
Frank Schaefer

It starts out just like so many other miracle stories in the Gospels, somebody needs help, and comes to Jesus. Now, ordinarily, we expect Jesus to respond, to demonstrate God’s great love for us, by healing the person or providing for their needs. Isn’t that what he usually does? But this time, he doesn’t. First, he ignores this woman, tells her he can’t help her, then he refuses to help her because of her ethnicity. Is this the Jesus we know? The One who came to show us God’s love? What’s going on here?

First of all, she was a woman, and women did not address men in public in 1st century Judea. It just wasn’t done. Second, this woman was a Canaanite. Canaanites were pagans. They were unclean in the eyes of Jewish people. So this Canaanite woman came to Jesus with two strikes against her.

But still, this is Jesus, we’re talking about. The one who usually empowered the oppressed, including women. We expect more of Jesus than to conform to the expectations of his society. “Lord, help me, please heal my daughter!” the woman pleads.

And Jesus looks down at her, kneeling before him in the dirt, and he answers, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” What is going on here? Is Jesus testing the woman? Or is he teaching his disciples a lesson? Or is it that Jesus learned a lesson here?

In the end Jesus responds to her request and gives her what she asked for. He heals her daughter. And he even says to her, “Woman great is your faith!” The important part is that Jesus was able to overcome the biases and discrimination built into his society.

And that is not an easy feat. Overcoming the biases of one’s time/society is one of the hardest things. Only very few people have actually accomplished that. Of these people we say that they were ahead of their time.... Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript

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