Worship August 16, 2020
I welcome you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All are welcome today to this celebration of God’s love! And we are grateful for this welcome.
Feel the loving power of God flow into your lives and open your hearts and lives to receive God’s blessings.
Come, let us worship God who is always with us.
You have drawn us together this day from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, hopes, and dreams, Lord. Be with us as together we experience your presence and your healing love. Open our hearts and our spirits to receive strength, encouragement, and peace. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.
And now join together in singing what a Friend We Have in Jesus
Hymn UMH # 526 What a Friend we Have in Jesus
Children’s Message Ben Ziegler
Please Lord open my heart and mind to your teacher. May the words I share be illuminated to those that hear. Amen
10 Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. 11 It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”
12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”
13 Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. 14 Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter spoke up, “Explain this riddle to us.”
16 Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? 17 Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight. 19 Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual sins, thefts, false testimonies, and insults. 20 These contaminate a person in God’s sight. But eating without washing hands doesn’t contaminate in God’s sight.”
21 From there, Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Son of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” 23 But he didn’t respond to her at all.
His disciples came and urged him, “Send her away; she keeps shouting out after us.”
24 Jesus replied, “I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.”
25 But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.”
26 He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.”
28 Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed.
Hear what the Spirit is saying. Amen
What kind of faith do you have? Many years ago while driving on 50th and France in the Twin Cities I saw a church sign that said, “Prayer is asking for rain, Faith is carrying an umbrella’.
Think of all the church signs I must have driven by in my lifetime and this is the one and only one that I recall.
Faith – defined as the complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Today we are talking about our faith in God.
What kind of faith do you have? How strong is your faith in God?
People we read about in scripture have displayed different kinds of faith.
- There was Peter who had “little faith,” yet was able to do the impossible – walk on water, at least for a step, to be with Jesus.
- There were the crowds that had enough faith to follow Jesus to hear what he was saying.
- There were those that came to Jesus to be healed of a sickness or have a family member or friend healed.
- There was also the growing faith of Peter who kept pursuing the truth, even if that meant others might think he wasn’t very bright for asking such seemingly simple questions.
- There was the faith of the Pharisees and scribes which was a faith in the traditions that had developed over the centuries that had lessoned the Word of God and elevated the word of man.
- What kind of faith do you have?
This morning we are looking at another kind of faith, a faith Jesus called “Great faith.”
The faith that Jesus called “great faith” is not “great” like large in size but it was a special faith, the faith of someone who was an outcast in a location foreign to her.
This “great faith” we are looking at was not expected to be found in a gentile and especially not a woman, yet it is the type of faith found in those today that are truly seeking after God.
The scene in Matthew 15: 10-20 is greatly different in content than what we find in 21-28. In fact they don’t seem to be connected at all and yet they have been written together.
Verses 10-21 are about hygienic cleanliness verses Spiritual purity.
Today, in the year 2020, we know the value of hygienic cleanliness that has been proven scientifically. We wash our hands today because we know the value of doing so but in biblical days hand washing was done for different reasons and had become known by the rules and traditions of the religious leaders.
When Jesus walked the earth this concept was used as a man-made measure of how well one followed rules. The religious leaders required a physical cleanliness and it had nothing to do with one’s spiritual purity. Today we know we need both to survive.
Jesus is speaking in such a way that it outrages and shocks the orthodox Jewish religious leaders. Jesus’ words were in direct contrast to the laws and traditions of the religious leaders.
What Jesus is saying could be interpreted by some as promoting and encouraging the crowds to break the religious laws and traditions of their time.
Breaking these laws and traditions could result in being expelled from the synagogue, in other words, being kicked out of the church.
If this would happen to someone, it could have serious consequences for them and their families.
It would mean being shunned by everyone in the Jewish community; it would mean not being able to do business in the marketplace.
And if you were a shunned Jew, turning to the gentile community for your daily needs, was not an option either…for the gentiles hated the Jews.
This hate was so vile that the gentiles would sometimes spit in the footsteps of the Jews as they passed.
The power and influence that the Pharisees held over the Jewish community was great…and what they said and required of the people was the law by which the Jewish community would and must live their lives.
The basic importance of this passage is not so much a clash between Jesus and the Pharisees, it is the collision of two views of religion and two views of the demands of God.
What Jesus was seeing was that the Pharisees and religious leaders had made the worship of God a matter of rules and traditions, not of praise and worship. The laws had gotten in the way of worshipping God.
And so what Jesus said could be considered breaking the law, but he said it for the sake of God.
We now understand that Jesus was concerned with what was in our hearts and minds. Jesus knew that God was holy and that coming into His presence demanded a clean and pure heart and mind.
Now in verse 21 we find that Jesus has left the area of Galilee and went away from there and traveled to the district of Tyre and Sidon.” Tyre and Sidon were on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is modern day Lebanon.
These cities were outside the boundaries of Israel. They were gentile cities. Gentiles were not Jewish and considered heathen and pagan.
Why do you suppose Jesus went there? well Jesus went in order to try to find a quiet place where He could be alone with His disciples for a while.
Remember that Jesus has been trying to do that (find time and a place to be alone or just with his disciples), but the crowds keep following Him.
Now He has gone into an area where neither Herod, nor the religious leaders, nor the crowds of people would bother Him.
This is not an area where Jewish people are going to come looking for Him. Yet, even here, we find that there are those that seek after Him, for in verse 22 we find a “Canaanite” woman turning from her idols to seek the Lord.
. 22 A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Son of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” 23 But he didn’t respond to her at all.
Now initially this does not seem to be that significant since there have been so many that have already called out to Jesus for healing, for casting out of demons, etc.
But remember that this is not in the land of Israel and this is not a Jewish woman so she would have no understanding or even knowing of God’s revelation in the Old Testament.
She is not even in a place where she would be in regular contact with those who did.
This is a woman of Canaanite heritage, a descendant of the people God had commanded Israel to “utterly destroy” (Deuteronomy 7:2).
It is a faith that has brought her to Jesus, seeking His mercy.
We don’t know how she knew about Jesus, maybe she had heard of him from second-hand sources.
While many sermons on verses 21-28 have legitimately focused on the Canaanite woman’s persistence of faith, another way to view this text takes into account that her faith was great not only because she was persistent, but also because her persistence demonstrates her faith.
When she presses Jesus with her request, “Lord, help me,” she shows what is in her heart.
Her words and actions are the living out of her confession, “Lord, Son of David.”
Her faith in Jesus to heal her daughter compels her to call out in faith and shows her persistence in securing Jesus’ response.
In effect, the Canaanite woman becomes the model for verses 10-20.
She is the model of what it looks like when what is in the heart and what comes out of the mouth correlate.
Her heart knows that Jesus is what is needed to cure her daughter even though it is against Jewish law and her own paganist life.
But Jesus reveals that traditions and man-made religious laws need questioning and rethinking when he enters a land that represents impurity.
Against the religious leader’s laws and traditions he grants the woman’s request.
Her persistence, therefore, is not only representative of what comes from her heart or her faith; it suggests her own questioning and rethinking of traditional boundaries, ideas and rituals.
We might even wonder if Jesus’ response is not only to her obvious faith, but also to her willingness to challenge tradition as he has done.
To what extent, then, is this woman modeling of faith? How is this woman living out faith?
Is faith not just following Jesus but also doing what Jesus does?
In the exchange between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, Jesus shows his disciples what it means to make disciples of all nations.
His location, actions and words all address the traditions, limitations and boundaries that the disciples will encounter.
By pushing at, dismantling and crossing over the boundaries that the disciples might themselves face,” Jesus shows his intention to declare the boundaries of the great commission to be limitless.
It is hardly accidental that the woman’s “great faith” follows what we talked about last week – Peter’s demonstration of “little faith” (14:31) back in the walking on water story. This Canaanite woman did not take her eyes of Jesus as Peter had.
The comparison suggests the importance of faith, but the interactions between the two characters and Jesus as well as the settings in which the exchanges take place suggest that there is more at stake.
Aware of his limitations, Peter begins to sink into the waters of the sea and then calls upon Jesus, “Lord, save me” (14:30).
The woman, aware of her location and the limitations placed on her, does not surrender to them but brings them into the light and calls them into question: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” As a Canaanite she was considered by the Jews to be less than a mangy dog, but she rightly points out that even the house pet gets something to eat.
Jesus calls us to a similar modeling of our faith, a modeling that exposes the boundaries set in place by others and the boundaries we place on ourselves. We are to have enough faith to reach out to others, even those that live in our neighborhoods or run in our circles.
He calls us to a faith filled life that is willing to go past these boundaries and journey into a world that we may find foreign or even a bit scary. When we do venture into areas foreign, scary and unfamiliar Jesus promises to be there with us and to the end of the age.
In Matthew 15:28 “ Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed’.
“Great is thy faith”: That is trust and confidence. That is carrying the umbrella.
One thing that really gets results from God is our great faith in Jesus and His ability to perform miracles. Jesus just spoke the Word, and the woman’s daughter was made whole.
What kind of faith do you have?
The repentant, reverent, persistent, humble faith in the Lord that this Canaanite woman had is an example of the faith that receives God’s mercy.
Do you have the faith of the Canaanite women?
If you do not have such a faith, I encourage you to spend some time this week in prayer. Seek God asking him to help you find the faith to “carry the unbrella” to trust him in all things at all times. Amen
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
we confess that, just like Jesus’ disciples,
we too sometimes lose patience with people who need our help and support.
Like the disciples, we find ourselves wishing that they would just go away
and leave us in peace.
In Your mercy, forgive us.
Remind us again of the deep love You showed toward us
when we were still in need—
a love so deep that it sent You willingly to the cross on our behalf.
Show us how to love others as You have loved us.
Teach us Your compassion,
so that we may be Your hands and feet to those in need.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
And now in the words Jesus taught His disciples, we too pray…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen
Join together in meditating, humming, or softly singing …
Hymn UMH # 389 Freely, Freely
Today I reflect on God’s call upon the faithful to become better stewards of the earth and its climate, the earth’s beautiful array of peoples, the church and its gift of good news, of radical hospitality and far-reaching justice, the relationships you have with family members and friends, and God’s bountiful provisions–including financial resources. Giving money in support of the church’s mission and ministry both reflect your care of, and for, others, demonstrating your commitment to becoming a steward-leader in the spirit of the Christ who is with you on the journey.
Prayer of Dedication
Holy Spirit, you search the recesses of our minds and the depths of our hearts. You call us to be not only givers but also receivers of your gift of grace. We believe that you will multiply our gifts to draw us nearer to your side. As we offer these financial gifts, we are grateful to be joined to the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
Copyright © 2020 David S. Bell. Reprinted with permission from www.DavidSBell.org.”
HYMN UMH 374 Standing on the Promises (verses 1,2,4)
Jesus’ love and compassion has been poured out for you today. Go into the world in confidence, bearing forgiveness and love for all God’s people. Go in peace. AMEN.
- Thank you to Ruth, Rod, and Jackie for sharing your gift of music.
- Lawn Chair Worship continues through August (weather permitting) at 10:30 Sunday morning.
- Online worship and mailings also continue so please if you have health conditions that put you at a higher risk for contracting the COVID virus, please allow yourself the privilege of staying home.
- If you want an Upper Room Meditation book please let the church office know and we will make sure you get one.