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Published on August 5th, 2020 | by God's Squad DNA team

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Interuptions, Matthew 15:21-28. August 5, 2020 by Buckshot

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Tena koutou, pai ki a kite koutou hoki. Welcome again friends, it is great to see you here again for this reflection.

In his recent book, ‘Motorcycles and Misfits God’s Biker’ our international president, and dear brother, Sean has a chapter called Interruptions and Sidetracks. He details various unexpected interruptions, from different road trips that led to beautiful sidetracks that expanded his understanding of God’s work in the world and the world itself. It is well worth a read if you get the chance, if you want a copy find a God’s Squad member or message us here and we will hook you up somehow.

Our gospel story today is a similar interruption on the road for Jesus, that shows us an ever expanding vision of what God’s Kingdom is about. It comes from Matthew 15:21-28 (text below).

Jesus and his mates have been up in the far north rural area of Israel, miles from Jerusalem, but the religious police have come up to check him out for a while. After seeing them off he heads even further for the hills to a non Jewish area near Tyre and Sidon. He is seeking some rest after his recent interrogations. Police grillings can take a lot out of you, I know from experience and the stories of mates. So Jesus is very tired.

Right at this moment of weakness a local woman with a tormented daughter comes and hassles him, and his disciples as Jesus initially ignores her. ‘I came for the lost sheep of Israel he says, leave me alone!’

Jesus did come to restore Israel and be the fulfillment of all she was meant to be, but had failed to be. He wanted to get Israel sorted first – but somehow this woman knew that the outworking of Israel being as it should be was that the ‘people in darkness, would see light, that this light was for all people, all the nations’ and included her daughter.

Eventually in his tired state Jesus addresses the woman saying that it was not right for him to share the children’s bread with dogs! (Jews saw non-Jewish people as less than human, sometimes calling us ‘gentile dogs’). She comes back with a clever reply that lowers his defenses and allows him to pass straight through the racial barrier and let the fullness of Israel’s calling reach her need. Her daughter is made well.

As Sean details in his book, interruptions come to us all and often at an unpleasant time. Matthew and Sean today are inviting us to see these interruptions as opportunities to have our hearts extended, to have our vision of the Kingdom of God expanded. Expanded to even include those we may see as less than human.

What ‘dogs’ are harrassing us in our life today? What circumstances are trying to break through our racism like Jesus harboured today? Is it the Black Lives movement calling us to recognise the injustice of history and build bridges of humanity that will bring healing across cultural and racial divides? Our gospel shows us the possibility of transformational healing if we do this. Is it a covid lockdown, indigenous land issues, worker rights or some other irritation?

It may take us a while to recognise the opportunity being offered by these interruptions – but may each of us be open to the stirring of God opening a way for us to grow deeper into the ways of Jesus. Jesus got there in the end and was able to release healing for a young girl. May we follow in his footsteps and be willing to extend the tent to include those outside wanting to come in so that salvation and new life is available for all people.

Rangimarie ki a koutou,

Cheers

Buckshot – Wellington, New Zealand

Matthew 15:21-28 from the Message version;

From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained “Now she is bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees and begged. “Master, help me.”
He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to the dogs.”
She was quick: “you’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”

Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.


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