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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2010

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2010 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2010
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2010

      **********

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

      Please read the Scripture passage 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.' He 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

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