Revd Sara’s Reflections Sunday 20th August 2023 Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28 When a woman who is not Jewish asks Jesus for help, he initially keeps silent, seemingly ignoring her, perhaps preferring silence to refusing help. But the shouting continues, this is a desperate woman, pleading for the life of her daughter, she's not about to give up and go away, however much the disciples wish she would. Maybe Jesus wishes that too – he seems to be thinking aloud as he says, perhaps only intending the disciples to hear, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'.
Is Jesus wondering what to do, how to react to this foreigner, how to reconcile her moving plight with his own understanding of his mission? She leaves him no option of turning away, for she kneels right in front of him and begs for help.
It's a remarkable story and one on which many commentaries have been written and many sermons preached, for it is, perhaps, a vital stepping-stone from one way of thinking to another. Maybe we too hear the challenge to consider our own preconceived ideas. Have we turned away from helping someone because they are not ‘one of us’? Not a blood relation, perhaps, or not of our economic class, or social group, or colour of skin? Or they have different views from us on things that matter, carbon footprint, gay rights, feminism, political persuasion?
Do we need to recognise, and perhaps, like Jesus, say aloud what is holding us back and then look again and see the humanity, see the image of God, see the faith in the face of another, and change the way in which we respond? How can you address some of your own prejudices today, this week and beyond? Is there a book you need to read, a conversation you need to have, a change you can recognise and make in yourself?
Please listen to this version of Amazing Grace (or read through the words to this famous hymn if you don’t have access to the internet): https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoYGlYdwMVs - How do they speak to you today?
How do you need to hear reassurance of God’s grace? love and prayers Revd Sara