Boldly Go where someone has definitely gone before!

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.
If only we could actually do that. If only that were how we all lived, wouldn’t it change everything—our news, our gossip, our facebook, our politics. It would even change our Gospel story this morning—even what Jesus said would change.
Let me explain, Jesus is away from his home town and his home country. He’s left that behind to travel outside the land of the people of God, he’s left his people. Jesus is in a neighboring country, with foreigners—people who don’t eat like, speak, act, pray like his people. Perhaps he’s gone to that foreign place seeking some peace, some quiet, just some time away. Mark tells us he didn’t want anyone to know he was there.
Well, that didn’t quite work out the way he wanted, because this woman, this mother gets in to the house, finds Jesus and starts asking, begging, pleading for him to heal her daughter. Now here’s where we come to the place where Jesus should have heeded that popular advice, but he doesn’t. The next thing we know Jesus is calling the woman a name; calls her a dog (and in that culture as in so many others that’s a huge insult). So he calls her an animal, and tries to sidestep her request. He’s basically saying, he’s the come to preach, to heal, to teach the people of God, and she isn’t one of them.
Luckily, or perhaps more than luck, this woman this mother doesn’t heed those words to sit nicely and quietly and take it. Nor does she storm out. This yet-again un-named woman is driven; is compelled to not just sit there quietly, to not give up. She speaks. She speaks well, and in a sense she teaches Jesus, she schools him and opens him up to the possibility that his mission is bigger than he thought. He’s not just come to a certain small group of people, to be with them, to teach them, to heal them, to feed just them. He’s come for all, even for her and her daughter.
You see that’s what she was so bold to believe. Her faith in God was bigger than nationalities, than borders, than languages, and customs and traditions. Fueled by her desperate love for her daughter. It doesn’t matter, what counts is that she didn’t sit there nicely; she wasn’t timid or too tired or too busy or too dejected. She held onto a faith in Jesus, that maybe he didn’t even know he had. Nothing was going to stop her—because her faith was bold; she was going to go into somebody’s home—because her faith was bold, she was going to speak to someone she hadn’t met yet—because her faith was bold; she was going not back down and not give up—because her faith was bold.
You know if I could re-name our congregation after a different saint of the church. I’d really consider re-naming us the Syrophonecian Mother congregation. Now that’s a mouthful, but consider this. And I am not going to back down with what I’ve got to say. People, we like that woman have come to a place where we may not feel welcome. And I’m not just talking about the neighborhood. But let’s be honest, most of us—though not all of us, come to this building from outside this neighborhood. Those of us, who live in the suburbs I know your friends and family have questioned why you still drive into this place for worship.
I am going to be so bold as to tell you why. You see we believe that God hasn’t moved on and moved out; we believe that whatever names people are tossing back and forth at each other do not define us. It doesn’t matter if we are Syrophonecian, white, black, rich, poor, suburban, Asian, Republican, Democratic, liberal, progressive, conservative, old, young—all of those and so much more—God is still here, and God is calling you to bold faith, God is calling us to love our children, love the children of this place.
Some of you may know that a lot of times when preachers preach they put in stories of individuals doing or not doing the Gospel. I am not giving you sermon illustration, because you, each one of God is calling you to illustrate it, to show it in your life—to be bold. This week I want you to make sure that at least once, you are bold in the love of God. This isn’t just being brash or pushy. That’s not it; It is standing your ground to speak the truth. It’s taking a chance and stepping out because of your faith in God.
So when someone asks you about your church—you tell them, you don’t apologize that you go, or about where you go, you tell them that God is at work in you and in this place. And if they don’t ask, you can still tell them. You can say, you know what, today we had Bible Study, today how we so love our children had Sunday School, that our choir sang God’s praises and most importantly today we are about a woman who loves her daughter, who needs God’s healing, who goes where she isn’t wanted, who speaks when she’s expected to be quiet, whose faith in the God of heaven and earth, whose faith in the God who promises streams in the desert, flowers in the cement, promises peace in our streets, whose faith in the God who loves each and every child no matter what, that faith made her bold.
Amen

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