The congregation gathered in worship today examining the theme “Lord, Help Me”. In lieu of a speaker, Jami Smith shared an object lesson utilizing a mirror and dry erase markers. The children took turns looking in the mirror at their reflections and what they see. Then, Jami asked them to share examples of hurtful things that someone has said to them on the past and those things were written on the mirror. After the mirror was full of negative words, the children looked at their reflection again. They talked about how those words distracted from seeing the beauty of their reflection. Jami shared how words are powerful and can be used to hurt or to heal. She encouraged all of us to choose our words carefully, using them to build up and encourage others. Our words reveal what is in our hearts. What has God placed in your heart? Let it be reflected in the words that you say.
Following the object lesson, the congregation considered several questions relating to the scripture (Matthew 15:10-28).
New International Version (NIV)
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[a] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David,have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”And her daughter was healed at that moment.
- Matthew 15:14 Some manuscripts blind guides of the blind
• How would it feel to be the Canaanite woman?
• When have you uttered “Lord, Help Me”?
• What is your testimony of Christ’s response?
Creator God – We lift our collective voices and spirits to You with praise and thanksgiving for Your grace and generosity in our lives. We are humbled by Your never-ending love for us. We each experience times when we feel distant from that love. In those moments, may we find a connection with someone who is able to remind us of that love…to be You in physical form for us. Every day, we are presented with opportunities to be that connection for someone else. Help us to recognize that same need in others and to be courageous enough to get out of our comfort zones. We trust that You are always with us and will show us how to respond if we are open to Your Spirit leading. We ask all of this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.