50 | 40 | 10 | Devotions Series: September 9, 2020 – Rev. Kristen Eisele

Devotions for the week of: September 9, 2020

Reading

Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 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.” 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.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Each time I encounter these verses, I find myself considering the perspectives of the characters. I wonder about what they knew, how they behaved, and how I can (or can’t) relate.

What might I know about the Canaanite woman? What do I know about risking (and experiencing) humiliation, to ask for what I need, or for what someone I love needs? Who do I know who has experienced this? How are people on the margins living this now?

What do I know about the disciples? When have I been a witness to someone else’s pain, courage, faith? How might I be the one defending the status quo, just because it’s familiar? Am I more concerned with my own comfort than someone else’s need?

What might I know about Jesus’ position? When have I been certain of my belief or focus, and then discovered I was wrong? Am I willing to be wrong? Am I open to changing, to seeing the wisdom of someone else’s position and following it?

What do I know about the Canaanite woman’s daughter? When have I benefited from the faith and determination of others? How has someone else’s risk, or sacrifice, or love, contributed to my well-being?

As we celebrate the anniversary of 50-40-10, I’m grateful for those who have been and continue to be in the Canaanite woman’s shoes. They’ve insisted on what was right and showed the path forward, even in the face of great opposition. I’m mindful of the ways we continue to act as the disciples. My prayer is that we would continue to learn from those on the margins, and be led by the Spirit to newness, openness, and mutual service.

Finally, I’m inspired (if also troubled) by a Savior who learns. Ultimately, wherever it is that he begins in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus winds up risen from the grave and sends his followers out to share his love and life with all nations, all people. May we follow him into the wideness of his mercy.

Pastor Kristen Eisele
Gayville-Bergen Lutheran Churches,
Luther Center at University of South Dakota

Prayer
Gracious God, open our hearts to risk, to sacrifice, and to love for the sake of another’s well-being. And, give us the faith of the Canaanite woman. In Jesus’ name – Amen.

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