21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 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.” 23 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.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 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.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
It’s so good to be back with you this week. I have heard great things from Dean and from church members about the service! And, I believe you have fulfilled a lifelong dream of Dean’s to be broadcast on the radio into the parking lot!
It was also good to be away for a week to spend time with my son. Honestly, with Covid-19 and all of the states reacting to it differently and the fluctuating numbers, we didn’t know what to expect, but we did a lot of research, tried to minimize our stops in places where there weren’t stricter measures, and tried to stay away from crowds as much as possible. In Colorado, they had a statewide mask mandate for all public places, so it was much easier once we were there…and, once there, we had some great adventures. Even getting to the top of the Mt. Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado!
Here we are after summitting, and right after my son had FaceTimed Debbie…which was fun because, not only had we just summitted, but she was at church and I got to say “hi” to Susan and Ron Alcoke live! Of course, I was a bit exhausted!
Honestly, I’d have to say that I was exhausted before I climbed Mt. Elbert, exhausted in general and in need of, not only some adventure with my son, but also some healing for me, and I think for my son also who’s had to deal with so much in this season of his life and how Covid-19 has played out in our community and country and how it’s effected his plans.
I can relate to the woman in our gospel passage this morning in need of healing for her daughter. Actually, as I’m writing this, I came across this image online that best describes where I’ve been I believe!
Some covid humor…but, kind of accurate in some ways. Some things have become less important, while others, more important.
In the end, this time can be isolating and we are all looking for healing in all sorts of places. In the midst of this season, we are finding that healing in different ways, but all of those ways, I believe, lead us into new practices and deeper relationships with ourselves, others, and, ultimately, with God as we navigate in new ways what it means to not only survive, but to even thrive, and to become the persons that God intends.
Jesus, as the healer in this story, is also going through changes and having to adapt. The Canaanite woman is a foreigner, up to this time, Jesus saw his mission in life to bring reform to the Jewish community, yet, here he is confronted by a foreigner who’s got some moxie, and a deep love for her daughter. She doesn’t let go of her pursuit of healing, and of God’s favor, and Jesus is moved, changed, and adapts his mission. Now, this story may have been given interpretation by authors over the centuries to show its readers that the disciples were the ones who were focused only on their tribe, their people, and that Jesus was testing them. Whatever you think, there is a shift, a change, and Jesus responds to this woman who’s asking for crumbs, and Jesus responds by giving her all that she had asked for. Her daughter is healed and the mother’s faith is rewarded.
Her faith was remarkable, and it makes an impression on Jesus. And, Jesus responds.
So, friends, we all need healing, we all need time with God in this highly polarized culture with so many voices, we all need to know that God is in this with us and will respond to honest faith filled with doubt as well as authenticity. And, we need to remember that God does hear the cries of those who are foreigners, not of our faith or culture, and that we should hear their cries as well, as we are the body of Christ, and just as Christ is moved, we should be as well.
May it be so.