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August 20, 2017 at Old First Reformed Church, Brooklyn

Art: Marc Chagall, Exodus (1952-1966)
Psalm 133 Romans 11:1-2, 29-32 Matthew 15:10-28
In the story of the Canaanite woman, I see a side of Jesus that is unfamiliar to me. This is not the friendly Jesus who takes all the children into his arms, and is freely giving to all who come to him. In this story, Jesus sees national boundaries  Jesus discriminates.
A Canaanite woman comes to him asking for help, and he rejects her three times, because of her nationality. He calls her a dog. And she accepts this insult, and she asks again.
This is a difficult story for our modern sensibilities, particularly as we witness the rising of hateful speech and acts of discrimination against vulnerable groups in our society. Does this story suggest to us that good things will come when you humbly accept the insults of others? Someone should teach that Canaanite woman to stand up for herself. Here’s what I’d like her to have said: “Jesus, thank you for the healing, but… can I pull you aside for a minute? I didn’t…

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