This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 15:21-28:
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.” (Matthew 15:21–28, NIV)
We work jobs with passion. We wrestle problems with determination. We confront differences with courage. We make stands with faith. We expand horizons with hope.
A struggle always comes in the spaces between theory and practice however, between common aspirational ideas — passion; determination; courage; faith; hope — and what practice produces with working; wrestling; confronting; standing; expanding. Hopefully, healing is a characteristic of these interactions, but tension never goes away.
The Canaanite woman illustrates, illuminates, involves the space between theory and practice, when she speaks of hunger. Satiating the daily need to fill our bellies is an immediate, palpable, intimate tension – like a dog who seeks crumbs at the masters table. It’s an expression of life in its most primitive form. Hunger just is.
Spiritual ideas can be defined as theory, but Jesus also is. In today’s passage, the cry, “Lord help me!” speaks to how God can address the deepest aspects of human hunger. Her practical petition regarding what today we think of as a pup or pet hastened healing by the transformative touch of God’s miraculous mercy.
Rev. Richard Wagner