Author Topic: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"  (Read 7595 times)

RevG

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2015, 02:59:46 PM »

If Jesus didn't make a mistake, then this woman and/or her daughter were "dogs" in his mind?
     

Not sure why you think those are the only two possible understandings.  Seems to me to be very much in the rabbinic tradition to express what might be the view of the day in order to have the listener think through the issue and formulate a proper response.  I always thought Jesus' question was more intended for those listening than to the woman to whom it was addressed.

Of course, the ELCAW interpretation has the God of the universe, in human form, grossly misunderstanding a basic theological truth.  That is to say, he misunderstood his own nature, his own mission, and his own relationship to those to whom he was sent.  Why would we worship such a God?  What else might he be wrong about?

This is how I have explained it:

Jesus is reluctant to grant her prayer at this time.  Why?

1.  Because, like St. Paul who went to the synagogue first, then to the Gentiles, Jesus' mission is to go to the people of Israel first.  Jesus' incarnation and ministry is the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel.   It reminds us Gentiles that, in sending the Gospel to the nations, God does not forget or bypass His people Israel. 

2.  The Syrophoenician woman is like a precocious student.  She anticipates the answer before the teacher finishes the question.  Just as Jesus avoids the crowds who would make him King, tells the demons to remain silent, and warns those he has healed to tell no one, so he is reluctant to begin the mission to the Gentiles before it is time.  When will it be time?  After he has suffered, died, been buried and risen from the dead.  There are things he must do before the important mission to the Gentiles begins.  After all, he came not only to give that woman's daughter temporal relief, but  redeem her from sin, death and the devil to live in his kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. 

And yet, as Jesus promises, the one who prays persistently and in faith is heard.  Even though time was not right, like the unjust judge, God responds to her persistent faith.

I'm not so sure your second point holds sway as Jesus begins his ministry to the Gentiles right after this in the Gospel of Mark.  In fact, this signifies the beginning of that ministry from 7:24-8:26.  He goes from Sidon to the Decapolis (Gentile regions) and feeds the crowd of 4,000.

Scott+

Dan Fienen

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2015, 03:06:24 PM »
Personally, I wouldn't have had the guts to handle this situation the way Jesus did.  But then neither do I have Jesus' insight into people and situations that was necessary to craft such a response in a way that it ended up a blessing and not a complete disaster.  Most of all, Jesus knew whom He was talking to and could gauge what the effect of what He said and how He handled the situation would have.

As Pr. Stoffregen has often pointed out, a master teacher will at times say something outrageous to stop people in their tracks and make them think.  Jesus response here to the Syrophoenician woman was striking to say the least.  In speaking as He did He could have been challenging those listening, especially His disciples to rethink what many of them were thinking - approximately what Jesus said but not out loud.  Would they agree with what Jesus said or be forced to rethink their own attitude?  Don't forget the stated purpose of urging Jesus to heal the woman's daughter was not compassion but rather to shut the woman up and get rid of her - give the dog a bone so she will be quiet.

It was also a challenge to the woman's faith.  Here His knowledge of the limits of her faith, how far she could be pushed without breaking came in handy.  A knowledge that none of us would have had, or at least those of us who do not claim complete and accurate information about what people are thinking, feeling and what motivates them without having met them.  One way to encourage people to stronger faith is to challenge them.  Jesus' words were a definite obstacle that she had to meet and overcome.

This also then sets up a contrast with the opportunistic faith that many Jews were showing in Jesus.  They were perfectly willing to believe in Jesus so long as He was healing them and feeding them.  She had to demonstrate here that even despite appearances, God and His incarnation before her, Jesus, was gracious and willing to help everyone.  She also needed to demonstrate that her appeal was to God's pure loving mercy not by right of demand.  Mere crumbs were all she needed (such a healing, merely a crumb?!?, again faith demonstrated) and mere crumbs would be enough.

So in the end, the woman's faith was strengthened and she received the blessing she requested, the attitudes of the stuck up Jews around Jesus were shown for what they were, pride, and a wonderful example of faith was displayed.

Or Jesus was just being a jackass and later felt guilty for being such a jackass and slipped the woman a healing to make up for it.

Which Jesus do you follow?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2015, 03:21:12 PM »
Consider that the woman approaching Jesus was about as offensive in that culture as the BlackLivesMatter protestors interrupting Bernie Sander's speech in Seattle. We might call them worse names than "dogs".

Jesus is recognizing and stating a truth - her race, religion, gender, and her actions should have kept the two of them separated. She was being more assertive than was appropriate for women in that culture. Yet, her concern for her daughter was so great, she was willing to take those drastic steps to get a hearing with Jesus. Perhaps not too different from the guys who destroy the roof of a house to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Faith in these stories is persistence in spite of the obstacles.


I also think that God gave us this story to tell us something about our faith, more so than give us a history lesson about an event back around AD 30. Are we "dogs" before Jesus? Do we deserve anything from him? When we begin to think that we are entitled to benefits from God, we're probably in trouble.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 03:23:05 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
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Eugene Crowner

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2015, 03:26:17 PM »
I am with Harvey Mozolak on this one.

I do not remember where I heard it, but the following made sense to me:

Jesus had a twinkle in his eye when he likened the woman to being a dog.  The woman saw the twinkle, and came right back at Jesus, saying that even if she was a dog, she was not a junk yard dog but was like the adorable puppies that ate whatever the kids spilled on the floor while eating lunch.  And, by the way, now that we got all that settled, what about my daughter?

I would not want to argue with that woman!

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Dan Fienen

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2015, 03:28:23 PM »
If I may stretch anthropomorphism a bit much, as the woman was responding could we not imagine Jesus thinking, "You go Mom."
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2015, 03:29:20 PM »
I am with Harvey Mozolak on this one.

I do not remember where I heard it, but the following made sense to me:

Jesus had a twinkle in his eye when he likened the woman to being a dog.  The woman saw the twinkle, and came right back at Jesus, saying that even if she was a dog, she was not a junk yard dog but was like the adorable puppies that ate whatever the kids spilled on the floor while eating lunch.  And, by the way, now that we got all that settled, what about my daughter?

I would not want to argue with that woman!

Eugene Crowner

As Dr. Nagel commented regarding the event, "She catches Jesus in His own words. And Jesus loves to be caught!"

Indeed, Dan.
Don Kirchner

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Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2015, 04:02:37 PM »
Jesus is also indicating the change in the Law's fulfillment... we cannot keep it or we would get nothing from God by our merit to sit at a feast  and Christ is saying he will become scraps so that we may be fed. 
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FatherWilliam57

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2015, 04:37:04 PM »
The author of this "sermon" is Terri Lackey, who works for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.  However, this still does not explain how this "sermon" was selected for inclusion on the WELCA website...
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2015, 04:46:01 PM »
...Christ is saying he will become scraps so that we may be fed.

Not following, unless you're looking to the humiliation. Jesus is the feast, hardly scraps. He gives you the whole lot, then turns around and gives you more. Mathematical nonsense. Impossible. But isn't that just like Jesus! (More thanks to Dr. Nagel.)
Don Kirchner

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Steverem

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2015, 04:50:58 PM »
The author of this "sermon" is Terri Lackey, who works for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.  However, this still does not explain how this "sermon" was selected for inclusion on the WELCA website...

It looks like she did at one point work for LifeWay (almost 21 years, actually), but has been in the employ of the ELCA for over 11 years, serving currently as WELCA's director of communications.  Hard to know if she switched church bodies, or if she was working for one of her employers while being a member of another church body.  Safe to say that the SBC would likely disagree with her interpretation of the verse at hand.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2015, 04:58:46 PM »
...Christ is saying he will become scraps so that we may be fed.

Not following, unless you're looking to the humiliation. Jesus is the feast, hardly scraps. He gives you the whole lot, then turns around and gives you more. Mathematical nonsense. Impossible. But isn't that just like Jesus! (More thanks to Dr. Nagel.)

we scrap him into scraps on the cross.... 
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2015, 06:15:22 PM »
...Christ is saying he will become scraps so that we may be fed.

Not following, unless you're looking to the humiliation. Jesus is the feast, hardly scraps. He gives you the whole lot, then turns around and gives you more. Mathematical nonsense. Impossible. But isn't that just like Jesus! (More thanks to Dr. Nagel.)

we scrap him into scraps on the cross....

Oh...so the answer is yes, you were referring to the humiliation. Still, that really doesn't work in this context, does it?
Don Kirchner

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Matt Hummel

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2015, 07:00:37 PM »
The silence from those parts that normally enter the lists in defense of the ELCA is, I think, instructive.

This is just wrong. Full stop. No rationalization, or explanation. Just. Wrong.

The sad part is the number of folks who would concur.

This is actually a passage that meant a great deal to my mother. My older brother has autism. And I can recall her talking about her constant intercessions on his behalf and how she identified with the Syrophonecian woman and took strength from her chutzpah, and from the knowledge that prayers are answered not because of worthiness but because of Grace.

I think on it each Sunday before Mass, as a member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. We pray, before reception, the Prayer of Humble Access: "We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dearfol Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen."

There is so much on which to feat here, without de novo Christologies showing where Jesus got it wrong. This is #35,789 in the "If ever I thought of coming back..." reasons for not.
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DCharlton

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2015, 08:37:57 PM »

If Jesus didn't make a mistake, then this woman and/or her daughter were "dogs" in his mind?
     

Not sure why you think those are the only two possible understandings.  Seems to me to be very much in the rabbinic tradition to express what might be the view of the day in order to have the listener think through the issue and formulate a proper response.  I always thought Jesus' question was more intended for those listening than to the woman to whom it was addressed.

Of course, the ELCAW interpretation has the God of the universe, in human form, grossly misunderstanding a basic theological truth.  That is to say, he misunderstood his own nature, his own mission, and his own relationship to those to whom he was sent.  Why would we worship such a God?  What else might he be wrong about?

This is how I have explained it:

Jesus is reluctant to grant her prayer at this time.  Why?

1.  Because, like St. Paul who went to the synagogue first, then to the Gentiles, Jesus' mission is to go to the people of Israel first.  Jesus' incarnation and ministry is the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel.   It reminds us Gentiles that, in sending the Gospel to the nations, God does not forget or bypass His people Israel. 

2.  The Syrophoenician woman is like a precocious student.  She anticipates the answer before the teacher finishes the question.  Just as Jesus avoids the crowds who would make him King, tells the demons to remain silent, and warns those he has healed to tell no one, so he is reluctant to begin the mission to the Gentiles before it is time.  When will it be time?  After he has suffered, died, been buried and risen from the dead.  There are things he must do before the important mission to the Gentiles begins.  After all, he came not only to give that woman's daughter temporal relief, but  redeem her from sin, death and the devil to live in his kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. 

And yet, as Jesus promises, the one who prays persistently and in faith is heard.  Even though time was not right, like the unjust judge, God responds to her persistent faith.

I'm not so sure your second point holds sway as Jesus begins his ministry to the Gentiles right after this in the Gospel of Mark.  In fact, this signifies the beginning of that ministry from 7:24-8:26.  He goes from Sidon to the Decapolis (Gentile regions) and feeds the crowd of 4,000.

Scott+

I don't think any of my points "hold sway".  My second point is the interpretation of one pastor, just as the first is.  I don't consider it normative by any means.   But I believe it is an interpretation that is plausible and can be defended in the context of Mark, the whole Canon, and the Creeds. 

In particular, I believe it is consistent with the restraint and caution Jesus displays throughout Mark concerning his identity.  I also believe that the confession of the Centurion at the cross is one of the main interpretive keys of Mark.  What it means for him to be Son of God can only be comprehended under the shadow of the cross.  This accounts in part at least for the restraint regarding his identity and in engaging in the full Gentile mission.  You might say, that the events in the Gentile regions display the kind of tension typical of proleptic events.   

Moving from a strictly exegetical point of view to a theological one, I do think the exchange with the Syrophoenician woman is a turning point, but not one that leads to the conclusion that Jesus changes his mind about Gentiles or abandons a prejudice.  I consider it to be a turning point more akin to John 12:20-23.  In that case, rather the initiating a full mission to the Gentiles, it leads Jesus to conclude that his mission is coming to its climax. 
David Charlton  

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Richard Johnson

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Re: WELCA "Ten-Second Sermon"
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2015, 01:45:06 PM »
It is admittedly a hard text. The sermon I heard Sunday in the Episcopal Church we visited essentially said that Jesus verbally abused the woman because he was having a bad day, but fortunately the disciples got him back on track. Ugh and double ugh.

I think the most profound sermon I've read on it is from Luther--in fact I use it as an example when I'm teaching Fuller students about Luther. Luther notes that the woman seems to have been rebuked; it seems that Christ will not help her. “But what does the poor woman do? She does not give up, she clings to the Word although it be torn out of her heart by force, is not turned away by this stern answer, still firmly believes his goodness is yet concealed in that answer.” She has faith in God’s goodness and grace, in other words, even when it seems absolutely taken from her.

“All this, however," Luther writes, "is written for our comfort and instruction, that we may know how deeply God conceals his grace before our face, and that we may not estimate him according to our feelings and thinking, but strictly according to his Word. For here you see, though Christ appears to be even hardhearted, yet he gives no final decision by saying 'No.' All his answers indeed sound like no, but they are not no . . . indeed, there is only yes in them, but it is very deep and very concealed, while there appears to be nothing but no.”

It's a powerful sermon.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS