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Theme for the Week – 17 August 2014

Scripture for today:

Genesis 45.1–15
Psalm 133
Romans 11.1–2a, 29–32
Matthew 15.21–28
The scripture includes the conclusion of the story of Joseph – rather abbreviated, with just “book ends” of the story in our weekly lectionary.
The relationship between Joseph and his brothers could have ended in hatred and revenge. It ends in reunion and brotherhood.
The Apostle Paul pleads for encounter and concord between Jew and Christian. This passage shows an aspect of Paul’s struggles that we cannot but find very moving when we understand the situation he faced.
In Matthew’s Gospel, a woman’s determination on behalf of her child’s welfare draw from Jesus a vision of a world where none are beyond his concern and love, but not before Jesus himself feels challenged by the woman’s tenacity in the face of his own, initial response to her Canaanite (Gentile) nature based upon the context of Jewish faith and tradition.  Prejudice is confronted, wrapped and discharged in this encounter.  Remember: the only recorded example of someone taking Jesus to task and winning the argument was a Gentile woman.
In order to live constructively in the world, we have to follow Jesus’ pattern of self-examination, confront our tendency to pre-judge, and prepare to be led in directions that are surprising for us, but that help us to grow in faith.
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