Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reading Ahead -- Pentecost 14

Well, Jesus does not come off very well in this week's Gospel reading. He is traveling in Gentile territory -- what is present-day Lebanon. I imagine him going incognito, on vacation from all the craziness back in Galilee. Here he doesn't have to be the Messiah or a healer or anything. He can just take a break.

But this woman keeps bothering him to heal her daughter. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" he tells her. (Like, "Look, lady. I'm on vacation here. I only do my work in Israel. I'm supposed to be off. That's why I came to this Gentile place.")

Then he really insults her. "It's not right to take the children's food and give it to the dogs." Jesus calls her and her daughter and all her people "dogs." Jesus, who fed 5,000 people and had plenty of leftovers, implies that there's just not enough to go around, especially for the likes of her.

How does this story of a seemingly uninterested Jesus disturb or challenge you? Can Jesus change his mind? Is the Gentile woman smarter about the ways of God than he is? In your prayers this week, argue with Jesus as the Canaanite woman did. See what his reply to you might be.

+ Kit

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