Sunday 16th August 2020

An act of worship at home

Reading     Matthew 15 vv 21-28

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.


A little thoughtfulness goes a long way towards oiling the wheels of everyday life.

Many were brought up being regularly reminded, “It costs nothing to be polite.”

So it comes as a real shock to hear the rudeness of Jesus when a Canaanite woman pleads for his help for her daughter. She approaches him humbly, calling him “Lord” and recognising that unlike her he is Jewish. Jesus pointedly ignores her.

But the woman is fighting for her daughter, and keeps on begging Jesus to help. Then disciples urge him to send her away. But then Jesus pauses he tells her that his mission is only to Jews. The woman kneels at his feet and asks again for his help.

Jesus replies “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,”, deliberately using a Jewish term of contempt for Gentiles.

But it’s almost as though she’ll take any abuse that’s thrown at her to help her daughter. She knows Jesus is the only one who can help her daughter. She answers his rudeness by saying even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table. Jesus is clearly moved by her perseverance, her humility, and her faith. Her daughter is instantly healed.

If an issue is sufficiently important, it’s ridiculous to allow pride to get in the way of progress. The woman loved her daughter, and that love was all that mattered. I get the impression she would have kept on going, never giving up, no matter how much she was rejected.

I find her example inspiring but incredibly hard. I know that when I feel hurt or rejected by someone I don’t want to hang around for more.

But sometime maybe that’s because my pride is more important to me than the issue at hand.

Jesus’ bluntness often upset some people, and some were unable to cope with it. But the Canaanite woman knew what mattered, her love for her suffering daughter and the possibility of Jesus healing her.

Perhaps Jesus sometimes speaks bluntly to us when we need to focus on the truth through unhelpful layers of pride. And perhaps if we want to hear his voice and know the truth, we need to be willing to stay and listen, even when our pride is wounded.

Pleasantness and politeness and courtesy are all very nice, and really do oil the wheels of life. But the truth is more important than all of that.

It’s very hard but perhaps sometimes we need to grit our teeth and hang on in there to learn what the truth is really saying.

And perhaps, if we can do that, we too can be instantly healed.


The Canaanite woman sought your help. She loved her daughter so much, she was so desperately in need, that she wouldn’t give up till she had her answer.

We pray in faith. Hear us and answer our cry, blessed Lord.

Lord, may we learn from this woman, to wait on you expectantly, patiently, persistently, doggedly. Grant us the courage of our convictions when we truly believe we are doing your will.
We pray in faith. Hear us and answer our cry, blessed Lord.

We pray today for those who feel excluded, whatever their situation, whatever the reason: for prisoners, refugees, the homeless; for the sick, the mentally unstable; for any who feel that they are outsiders.
We pray in faith. Hear us and answer our cry, blessed Lord.

We pray for ourselves when our faith is weak, or we feel that we don’t belong.
We pray in faith. Hear us and answer our cry, blessed Lord.


My song is love unknown,

my Saviour’s love to me:

love to the loveless shown,

that they might lovely be.

O who am I, that for my sake

my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

He came from his blessed throne,

salvation to bestow;

but men made strange, and none

the longed-for Christ would know.

But O, my Friend, my Friend indeed,

who at my need his life did spend.

Here might I stay and sing,

no story so divine;

never was love, dear King,

never was grief like thine.

This is my friend, in whose sweet praise

I all my days could gladly spend.


May we go into the day, renewed and strengthened in faith, ready to serve the Lord.

May we follow him and know his blessing this day and always.

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