Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Speaking of the Bible ...

I always pay attention when I wake up with a particular text of scripture in my head first-thing-in-the-morning. When I'm working on a sermon, it's likely the gospel I'm mulling ahead of the pulpit. But this morning ... with no sermon-in-sight ... it was a story in the 15th Chapter of Matthew.
It was the one about the Syrophoenician (or, some versions say "Canaanite") woman whose faith empowered her to "speak truth to power" and challenge Jesus himself about whether his Good News was good for some or for all.
We know the end of the story, of course. The punchline is ...
"Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
... and the result is a Gospel which is a light not just to the people of Israel but to the nations.
My wondering this morning is if the LGBT witness at this Lambeth Conference is not playing the same role for the Anglican Communion that the Syrophoenician woman played for Jesus.
They are willing to stand here in Canterbury to speak the truth of their lives, their relationships and their vocations to the Communion and plead for the church to be willing to be healed of its homophobia. There are certainly those -- like the disciples -- saying "Send them away, for they keep crying after us." (Some of them on the Lambeth Conference organizing team.)
But at the end of the day, it IS our faith that is the source of health and healing and wholeness.
May we, like the Syrophoenician woman, be given the grace to "stay the course" of our witness. And may the Anglican Communion, at it lives out its high calling to BE the Body of Christ in the world, follow the example of the Lord whose quality is always to have mercy and whose Good News IS intended to be for all people.


Ann said...

Excellent - the SP woman is one of my favorites - especially because she does it for her daughter - risks shame, shunning, rejection, Jesus' harsh namecalling - so her daughter will have a full life. It is for our daughters and sons and others who come after us and for those who are wondering if any one in the church cares.

BobinSWPA said...

This story answers the question, "who is the Gospel meant for!" I'd like to say all people but so many Christians would say emphatically, NO! It's sad that they hear the word but don't live it.

On a deeper note, I've read that the story of the demoniac might have been added to the bible after the fact because of the pigs being somewhat foreign to Jews. Might the same apply to this story?
Just wondering since many times things added to the bible are in order to sell a point to others (in this case, Jesus and the Gospel for all people).