Archive for September 9th, 2015

St. Mark 7:  27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (From the Gospel Reading for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, year B)

The Syro-Phoenician woman and Mother, as a Gentile had no right to the true table of the Lord in Israel.  She was outside the promises of the Lord.  And she knew that but her need compelled her which was her daughter’s horror: her daughter was demon-possessed.  Jesus crossed the border from the Promised Land to Gentile territory. The devil had taken hold of her daughter for what was coming out of her heart had defiled her:  “…out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit,  sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7). 

The Syro-Phoenician woman and Mother could not claim rights to the Lord’s Table.  She only wanted the crumbs.  Jesus drew her forth from the depths as she knelt before Him. She would not let Him go, oh, that I would have the faith of the Syro-phoenician woman, and the Samaritan woman at the well, the faith to serve as did the Samaritan on the road to Jericho! 

We do not deal under the table to fool people into the Church. The Lord calls His Church to tell people what’s for dinner.  It’s a six course meal:  the 10 commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism,  the office of the Keys, the Sacrament of the Altar,  and then the Table of Duties of the way the Lord instructs His people in their vocations in family and home, in the Church and in the 9-5 work week. 

The Syro-Phoenician Mom was now at the Table of the Lord as she did not even receive a crumb from Him, instead, Jesus gave Himself.   For her statement the Syro-Phoenician woman, literally “For your word”, the word of faith which would not let Jesus go, she could go her way to her daughter now restored, a family restored at the Table of the Lord, all fully members of His Church, at His table.

The Syro-Phoenician Mother “turned the tables” on the Lord and He “turned the tables” on the persistent Mother and  on the unclean spirit. He would turn the tables on sin, death and the  power of the devil upon the Cross as  He gave us the Sacrament upon His Table for peace in His Name so that the faithful by His grace “have a place at the Table”.  “Nothing in my hand I bring, but simply to Thy Cross I cling.”

As we began furnishing the mission here one of the immediate need were tables.  I realized that tables are very important to the Church.  There are three kinds of needed tables in a Church sanctuary and building:

  1. Tables for Bible class and Christian education so that the Word of God, the Scriptures are taught and learned, so that Lutherans can ask question and learns the answers from the Bible, and we grow in faith and love.
  2. Dining tables for church dinners, as a reminder here of the Lord’s prayer petition, “Give us this day our daily bread”, as we do in our homes daily. We are reminded that all creatures look to You O Lord for their food in due season and You open Your  hands and satisfy the desires of all living.
  3. And the most important table, the Lord’s so that He gives us His Body and Blood, for the confession of the faith and the feeding of our faith in Him, in the communion of His very Presence. He touches us with Himself, in His Word He opens, “…the soul of man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Gregory the Great).

All these tables point, not to our works, but His work. They are the Lord’s work tables:  His Word for us, His creation for us, His Body and Blood for us and our salvation.

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