September 4

Mark 7:24-30

“He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’” vs. 27

To escape the bread-seeking crowds Jesus goes to the coastal city of Tyre where he imagines he can remain anonymous. Of course the plan doesn’t work and he is immediately approached by a woman seeking healing for her demon possessed daughter. Because she is a Gentile, Jesus initially denied her request. At that point he didn’t believe that his ministry extended beyond the Jewish people. His refusal is a surprise to many–we’ve gotten used to the idea of an inclusive Jesus who gave his life for all. But that’s not how things work in this world. Almost all religious movements begin with a solid core of insiders, people with similar traditions and outlooks, and they begin their operations using an exclusive playbook. But sooner or later, if the movement is of God, the Spirit begins to open hearts to a more expansive vision of God’s love. The transition doesn’t happen easily–believers are remarkably resistant to change. In the early church it took many decades before boundaries began to be penetrated. Even now change comes hard–there’s a reluctance to the opening of doors and doing away with barriers to outsiders. But even Jesus changed his mind and healed the woman’s daughter–and inclusion  became the rule rather than the exception for his followers.

Thought for the Day: Why are most American Lutheran congregations so white?

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