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
I had the privilege of preaching and celebrating last night at the Esperanza Academy 8th grade graduation celebration. All these young women come from challenging circumstances and yet they, their guardians and teachers are committed to helping them grow and overcome all the challenges they face. A whole community, who are committed to healing the outcast and outsiders, who want to give these girls a chance. My heart was so full watching each of their faces, singing about faith and hope - despite it all.
The Canaanite woman comes to Jesus pleading for the life of her child. She changes Jesus and the ministry at that very moment. His focus had been on the community of faith he had been raised in, but her faith shattered his understanding and broke through all barriers. The faith of one woman changed hearts and minds. Her determination and faith had brought us all a model of faith. When the world, and even our faith structures seem to turn against us, God is for us and we need to remain fierce and faithful.
Today I ask God to help me remain fierce and faithful and hopeful against all odds. We are invited by God to ask for what we need, push for the needs of our community, and not let barriers or structures stand in the way of justice, healing and love.