Trinity 10: Thoughts for the week
Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Week beginning 16th August – Gospel Matthew 15:21-28.
Children can have an uncanny knack of making very profound remarks. I read a story once where a small child is talking to her great friend Fynn (who is a teenager, a bit older than she is). She says ‘ Fynn, Mister God doesn’t love us. He doesn’t really, you know, only people can love. I love my cat but he doesn’t love me. I love you, Fynn, and you love me, don’t you? ‘
‘But no,’ she went on, ‘no, Mister God doesn’t love me, not like you do.’
Fynn is aghast – but then she goes on
‘No, it’s different, it’s millions of times bigger. You see, Fynn, people can only love outside, but Mister God can love you right inside, so it’s different. Mister God ain’t like us; we are a little bit like Mister God, but not much yet.’
And as we look at the world today we can only weep - ‘but not much yet.’
People only loving outside; people loving not in the way of Christ but with bias, favouritism if you like, and showing this in their treatment of the rich, or the famous, or the powerful, or by outward appearance – in contrast with the poor, the insignificant, the dispossessed. There is the bias too that distinguishes in its treatment not so much between rich and poor but between races, genders and cultures.
Race and culture – it’s impossible on that to avoid thinking of Sunday’s gospel. The story of the Canaanite woman. She was quite clearly not a Jew, but a Gentile. Not one of us. ‘Send her away’ say the disciples. She was not from Judea, or even Galilee, but from the
Israel/Lebanon border. We have seen, very graphically recently the situation there today. And it wasn’t hugely different in biblical times – Jew and Gentile resenting one another.
And here it looks as if, initially, Jesus too is rejecting her. Showing bias – Let the children, the Jews, be fed first. He even refers to the Gentiles as dogs. You, he says, are not one of us, one of the house of Israel. And the disciples agree. They see the outside – a Canaanite; and a woman.
But the depth of the woman’s faith is such that, like that child I spoke of at the beginning, she knows that God’s love is a million times bigger. He doesn’t have favourites. So she persists. And Jesus can see and love the inside, the faith. His life was completely focussed on his messianic calling among the Jews - there couldn’t be
time in three short years to do everything; but that didn’t mean that there couldn’t be, through God’s grace, crumbs for the Gentiles.
So, a crumb – and through her great faith the Canaanite woman’s daughter is healed.
And as we know, there are not just crumbs – but many, many basketsful, enough for all
It’s not the outside that matters, it’s the inside. God’s love is very wonderful. As the child said, a million times bigger than ours.
There’s that children’s hymn that has a chorus with actions ...
Jesus’ love is very wonderful ..
So high you can’t get over it,
so low you can’t get under it.
so wide you can’t get round it
O wonderful love.
The children love doing the actions, and have to be exhorted to do them carefully ... arms opened wide expressing the wideness, hugeness of God’s love very graphically. But there is more, for ourselves, in this closing prayer –
O God, we give thanks for your all-embracing love;
may your love so fill our hearts
that it overflows to embrace the hearts of others,
of all others, whoever, wherever they may be;
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.