Isaiah offered: ‘Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.’ And then he went on and added, ‘And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants ... for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.’ “Thus says the Lord God, who Gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.”
There you have the inclusiveness of the God who created us, nurtured us, taught us and continues to love us, all of us. God just waits for us to offer love to Him in return.
St. Paul, ministering to the Christians in Rome asked, “Has God rejected his people?” And answered, “By no means.” And then went on to educate them, using his own life and transformation, as a way of explaining God’s mercy, in the midst of his disobedience. He told them, “You were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.” God’s mercy is offered inclusively to all.
The Gospel Lessons set aside for this time of year are always stories of Jesus teaching his disciples, for they were not a very educated bunch, and they needed much schooling in preparation for what was to come. The same stories are used as lessons to teach us, in this generation, as to how we should think and act if we are to follow his way, the way of the cross.
Two stories were offered by Matthew in his 15th chapter. He spoke of Jesus explaining to the crowd how unnecessary the dietary laws were. He is pointed in saying, “...it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” The disciples did not understand. So, he explained, telling them, ‘What comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, ...what comes from the heart is what defiles, ... evil intentions of all sorts, that is what defiles.’
A Canaanite woman came to him shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord my daughter is tormented by a demon. He did not answer. His disciples urged him to send her away, because she was not of the house of Israel. She knelt before him saying, lord help me. Let me eat the crumbs that fall from the table.’
“Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed instantly. The ministry and miracles of Christ are inclusive of all; none are foreign to him. Amen
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to email@example.com.