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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2004

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2004 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our new book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2004
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2004

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our new book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the Rev.
      Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Gospel and Dr. Bochonok's meditation.
      We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      When God seems silent

      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." Jesus 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.
      Matthew 15:21-28

      What do we do when God seems silent? Do we stop praying
      and give up hope? Or do we turn every stone and knock
      on every door until we receive an answer? All these
      questions find answers in this story of a desperate
      mother.

      Biography magazine has a simple motto, "Every life has
      a story." And this woman has a profound story about
      faith, hope, and love. She was not Jewish yet somehow
      learned about the Healer, who miraculously was in her
      country and vicinity. Her precious daughter was
      suffering terribly and nothing could help her. She
      would move heaven and earth to have a hearing with
      Jesus.

      She searched for him and when she found him, began
      shouting for mercy. She immediately called him by
      the distinguished Jewish title, "Son of David,"
      showing some degree of recognition of Jesus as the
      Messiah who would heal the people. She urgently
      called his name again and again. And God seemed
      silent. Jesus refused to answer her. She was loud
      and bothersome to the male disciples, who urged Jesus
      to send her away. Her noisy cries for mercy and
      healing for her daughter bothered their rest. It
      was not their daughters who were suffering.

      The ensuing conversation initially appears harsh and
      insensitive as Jesus reminds the woman and his disciples
      that he was sent only to the "lost sheep of Israel."
      But the woman refuses to take no for an answer. She
      drops to her knees and begs for mercy. Jesus replies
      that it is not right to take food from children to
      give to their dogs.

      There are times when popular English translations fail
      to convey subtle theological nuances conveyed through
      the original Biblical languages and author's intent.
      Jesus was not being harsh. I suspect he had a smile
      on his lips and a kind twinkle in his eyes as he used
      the word the Gospel Greek rendered as the diminutive
      word, kynaria, meaning little house dogs, pet dogs, and
      even puppies. In no way was Jesus being insulting or
      comparing the petitioning woman to the despised and
      troublesome wild dogs roaming the countryside.

      I wonder if the courageous woman smiled with relief as
      she persisted with her supplication for mercy in response
      to the Healer's humor and kindness. "Yes, Lord, but even
      the kynaria eat the crumbs that fall from their masters'
      table." She refused to leave until Jesus offered her a
      crumb of healing and mercy. Jesus complimented and
      blessed this determined woman. "Woman, you have great
      faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was
      instantly healed.

      How do we pray when God seems silent? This determined
      woman teaches us how to pray with persistent faith and
      courage. She experienced divine compassion, healing,
      and even a moment of humor with Christ. Her story can
      be ours. We can approach Jesus for mercy. We can move
      heaven and earth with our prevailing prayers. And when
      you see little house dogs and puppies, let them be a
      blessed reminder to pray during moments of need.

      God, have mercy on us and hear our prayers. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

      Please visit the Chi Rho Press Web site. You can order
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      find this book on our Web site at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/devotionals.html#Bochonok.

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