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Put your hand in the hand of the man

by davesandel on August 4th, 2021

Wednesday, August 4, 2021                           (today’s lectionary)

 Put your hand in the hand of the man

Caleb said “We ought to go up and seize their land, for we can certainly do so.”

I felt faint and frustrated all day yesterday. Many of my words and choices seemed suspect to me at the time. I hoped I would recover at the Houseboat meeting, perhaps there to throw myself into the fresh cool water and refresh my soul.

Would I have sided with Caleb? Or would I have hidden in the middle of the majority, the cautious, the cowards, the “reasonable” ones? Caleb was young, and he sounded just like a Texas Ranger. I’m not so young, and I don’t put much stock in guns, or shoot them. I see both sides in most struggles and therefore don’t take sides unreasonably (I think).

Anyway, God certainly knew what he thought.

By my life, says the Lord, I will do to you just what I have heard you say. Forty days you spent scouting the land; forty years shall you suffer for your crimes. Then you will realize what it means to oppose me. Here in this desert you shall die, to the last man.

The last few days of lectionaries lend themselves to weeping and gnashing of teeth. Anger, fear, sadness, grief, loss, death, even leprosy-from-God … I don’t much want to hear these readings from the pulpit and I don’t want to read them or write about them … but I do have to say they are dredging up some junk inside me that needs a little air.

The whole community broke out with loud cries, and even in the night the people wailed.

At least they wailed. I don’t, I just stew. Most of us don’t even seek out ways to confess and reconcile ourselves with our feelings or with others, and especially with God. When I feel angry I can say so, and when I feel despair I must say so: keep expressing somehow, let the words speak for themselves, don’t explain them away. The reasons why can come later.

Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

And the great thing is, “your people” includes us all, Gentiles, Canaanites, Jews, men and women from every religion and every country and every race. We are all one people, we are one and the same. More of us than ever believe that’s true. Mi casa es tu casa. My pain is your pain … do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

A Canaanite woman called out to Jesus, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” And then when Jesus began to turn away from her she continued, “Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

Jesus seems uncharacteristically cold to this woman at first, and then when she apparently acknowledges her position as “dog” and his as “master,” he warms to her. But here’s another thought: Jesus cared nothing about position or racial prejudice; what he cared about was his Father, and how we trust his (and our) Father. It was only her faith that mattered.

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And it was.

I think of Jesus the man, in the daily walk of his life, slowly absorbing and accepting the equality of all men and women. I have no doubt he got much further along that road than I have. My judgment precedes my choices far too often, even when I know I’m wrong.

But more than that, I think of Jesus the Son always preaching his Father’s insistence on our faith, carrying it to everyone everyday.

Do not fear the Canaanites.

The Kingdom of heaven is near.

Trust Me!

O woman, great is your faith!

(Numbers 13, Psalm 106, Luke 7, Matthew 15)

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