15th Sunday After Pentecost, September 5, 2021
Prayer of the Day
Gracious God, throughout the ages you transform sickness into health and death into life. Open us to the power of your presence, and make us a people ready to proclaim your promises to the whole world, through Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord. Amen.
“Who Let the Dogs In?
Mark 7:24–37; Isaiah 35:4–7a
Did Jesus just call that woman’s daughter a dog? This moment in the story is disturbing. While commentators have long sought to soften Jesus’ remarks (maybe he’s referring to little puppies; little puppies are cute and lovable!), the plain sense is clear. Jesus calls this woman’s daughter, who is suffering from demon possession, a dog. It was no more a compliment 2,000 years ago than it is now. This female foreigner will not be so easily dismissed, however. It seems she has a sense of just how vast is the Kingdom that Jesus has come to bring. It is a reign in which grace and healing so freely abound that the scraps from the table are enough. In Jesus’ reaction, we see the eschatological erupt into the present. The child is healed. In today’s healing stories, with foreigners in border lands, we see God’s reclamation project grow wider. God’s love and mercy are such that where once there was no place for us, now there is. And this is just the beginning of the story! By the end, the stray dogs will have taken their place by the lost sheep at the great feast of the Lamb.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, LBW 543
Whatever God Ordains Is Right, LBW 446
Now the Silence, LBW 205
O Bread of Life From Heaven, LBW 222
O Christo, Your Heart, Compassionate, ELW 722
ELW, Evangelical Lutheran Worship
LBW, Lutheran Book of Worship