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It Is Necessary

Scripture - Matthew 16:21-27 A man living in Africa out on the edge of the jungle heard a commotion in his back yard. He investigated and discovered there was a very hostile gorilla up in his tree. He immediately called 911, and it was not long until an animal control officer was on the scene, with a big ferocious dog, a pair of handcuffs, and a shotgun. Turning to the homeowner the officer said, "Here's what we have to do. I will climb up the tree and shake it as hard as I can. When the gorilla falls out, the dog will leap upon him and with his powerful jaws clamp down on the gorilla's neck & paralyze him. While he is paralyzed, you put the handcuffs on the gorilla, and we'll have him.

Are You Still Hoping?

Scripture - Matthew 16:13-20 Holy & living God, you promise that our minds, so easily molded in the ways of our world, can be transformed by your grace, & that our lives may be renewed in this transformation. Open our minds, imaginations, hearts, & wills, that we may be made new as beloved members of your church. Amen. The imitation of hope is postponement. We sometimes prefer to hope rather than to have, & so we talk of hoping while delaying & postponing. This is understandable. It is a whole lot easier to believe a Messiah will come than to believe one has come. For all of its alleluias & hosannas, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of what writers on the life of Jesus once called the Je

The Canaanite Woman

Scripture - 15:21-28 Some people find this passage distressing, because it seems to present Jesus as responding in an uncompassionate way to the cry for help of a Gentile woman. His initial response is simply to ignore her. Yet when she persists & he is compelled to react, his words strike us as unduly harsh & insensitive: It is not good to take the children’s bread & toss it to dogs. Although it is not true that Jews used the epithet ‘dog’ primarily in reference to Gentiles, the context of the saying certainly suggests that the people whom Jesus normally heals are children - & the Gentiles, represented by this bold woman, are by contrast dogs; that is, subhuman & undeserving of God’s co


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