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.
Overcoming the Myth of the
Rev. Frank Schaefer
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
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
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
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