August 15, 2023 – A Claim on Your Heart
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 Psalm 67 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 Matthew 15:10-28
I was recently asked: What is your favorite scripture? I answer that I love the story about
the Canaanite woman, which is our Gospel text for this Sunday. She comes to Jesus to beg
for healing for her daughter. Jesus does not answer her, yet she will not be silenced. She
keeps hounding after him. The exasperated disciples finally plead with Jesus, not to heal her
but to: “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” Jesus finally turns to her and says:
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she will not be turned away she
knells before him saying: “Lord, help me.” Jesus seems unmoved by her desperation. He
replies that: “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Has Jesus
called her and her daughter dogs? Is she and her love for her daughter undeserving of his
attention? The disciples thought so.
Her answer is: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’
table.” She may be a dog in the eyes of others but she deserves crumbs. Jesus’ answer is:
“Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was
You might remember last Sunday as Peter was sinking in the waves he echoed the woman in
our text saying: “Lord, save me.” Jesus reached out his hand, to Peter with a bit of sadness
telling Peter he had “little faith”.
What was “great” about this woman’s faith?
Her great faith came from believing that despite the initial inattention of Jesus, the desire of
the disciples to be send her away and Jesus referring to her as a dog that she and her
daughter mattered. We see from the recent fires in Maui. Parents holding onto their
children as they were overcome with smoke. A parent’s bond to their child can be steely.
Her love for her daughter was. It made her brave and determined to move the heart of
In the centuries since we have seen others step forward demanding the dignity that Gospel
proclaims. The people thought of as “dogs” were given their day as Jesus moved the hearts
of his followers forward.
When I was a lad, I remember the derogatory names people would apply to Latino and
African Americans. They were the “dogs” of my childhood. They were not allowed the same
advantages I was. Slowly and with great faith, they moved the hearts of Christian people
and our country move forward in opening its heart to a variety of races of people. Today
Southern California is one of the most racial diverse places in the world and I so enjoy that
diversity. Not every country on earth has that Christian heart. You might read about
Christians persecuted for their faith in areas across the Middle East, India, and China.
During my days at seminary ELCA open the doors to women. There were classmates who
were not too sure about the move and there were just a few women in our class. Today
about 50% of the class are women. Not every Christian heart has been turned in this regard.
The Southern Baptists just kicked out Saddle Back church for ordaining women. The
Missouri Synod still does not allow women to enter seminary. So, the struggle goes on.
During the last few decades, there have been long discussions about gay clergy. They were
“dogs” to many. Hitler tried to exterminate them. Nations still have anti-LGBTQ laws.
Uganda includes the death penalty in their laws. At our most recent Synod Assembly,
parents of transexual youth pleaded for their children.
Slowly and with great sacrifice, voices demand to be heard. They may be “dogs” in the eyes
of some but they demand at least the “crumbs”. At times we might want to react like the
disciples and plead with Jesus to “send them away.” Life is complicated enough already. But
Jesus stops, looks their way, and responds to their “great” faith.
The gutsy woman is a hero to me. She does not let Jesus go until he must look at her, really
looked at her and her love for her daughter. Through it all her faith is great and her
daughter is healed.
PRAYER: Lord, the Pharisees were worried about how people wash their hands and what
they ate. You care about what comes out of our mouth for that comes from the heart. What
are you saying to our hearts? What are people of “great faith” telling us? What words would
have come from our mouths? May they reflect great faith.
Grace and Peace, Pastor John
Thank you to all who help with the great back to school event. Connie, Dana, Rachael,
Breanda, the Beals.
WELCA – The next study will be September 2.
Central City Lutheran Mission emphasis for the summer. We are hoping to help CCLM
increase their outreach to the homeless. They hope to have 138 beds available rather than
the 30 or so beds now. Thus far this summer nearly $2,250 has been given with matching.
Part was given in memory of Norma Burwell. Mark your special gift to this ministry in these
final weeks. They could also use Shaving Cream – Small size 4 or 5 ounce Deodorant – Small
Toothbrushes – Standard Size, Toothpaste – Travel Size – new disposable shavers.
LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours this week. 12:30-3:00 M-Th.
Pastor will be in the office Monday and Tuesday August 14 and 15 and 21 and 22.
QUILTING – Tuesdays beginning at 9 am. Their ministry and our work with Central City
Lutheran Mission will be celebrated August 27. 15 quilts for the men will be ready. THANKS!
Confirmation After this Sunday’s Luau, we will begin classes August 27. It will be wonderful
to be back together. We will skip the next week – Labor Day. Then September 10 and 17 and
skip a couple of weeks to resume October 8, 15, 22 and 29. Confirmation service for Elisha
and Russell on the 5th of November.
CHOIR Irm would like to start a choir beginning with rehearsals September 10. We would
practice prior to the service at 9 am. We would share our song with the congregation every
other week. Senior High and above are invited to join.
• Kim’s brother Jim has had his spinal tap and is able to move forward with stem cell
treatment for his cancer.
• Bonnie Mills was in church on Sunday much recovered.
• Heather Uribe had successful surgery to remove a cyst.
• Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their Son Kevin’s Mother-in-Law – Lisa,
suffering from cancer.
• The Koenig Family – Jeanne who is undergoing diagnosis on her eye sight, Joe who is
awaiting kidney surgery. They were able to vacation to Montana. Daughter, Jessica’s
leukemia is being managed, but leaves her tired. Lucas is in special care.
• Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons Tim and Kyle. Cesar’s Sister Maria
also had a lump removed from her neck and the the biopsy it came back non-hodgkins lymphoma.
She starts radiation soon.
• Remember Ned Morgan whose son Lee passed away in an auto accident on June 19.
• The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of housing for
themselves and the twins.
• The Cady’s would appreciate prayers for their daughter’s friend, Brooke, who suffered a
stroke and is still unresponsive.
• Becky Malinowski is still going through chemo treatments.
• erwin has been with us in church and appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda.
• Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack. Pray also for David Strack who had gallbladder surgery today (8/15)
UPCOMING SUMMER & FALL FELLOWSHIP EVENTS -PLAN TO ATTEND
AUGUST 20 noon LUAU AT THE HOME OF KIM & CESAR GUEVARA IN REDLANDS;
31433 Alta Vista Drive, Redlands, CA.
Complete with BBQ, swimming, singing, games, FUN! There is a sign-up list in the
Narthex for attending and if you want to bring a side dish.
August 27 “Presenting the Star Attraction – CCLM Quilts & Dollars raised.
September 20 – Dedication of the Camp Director’s House at Oak Glen at 3:00 pm. You can
go up early and help out at the camp.
Thanks for participating with us and for enjoying our THEMED SUMMER FUN! Those
giving us feedback said: Repeat the waffles, tacos, coconut cake (all at the hands of Chefs
Richard & Jennifer); the jelly for the waffles (Chef Lou); loved the punch (thanks to Chef
Brenda); enjoyed the games, especially the cornhole tournament – (who knew we adults
were so competitive) (thanks to Dana & Kyle); especially liked the feeling of doing fun
things with people of Faith; liked the idea of recognizing the Pantry; repeat the Root Beer
Floats. So, thanks, we want to continue. Faith is a great place!
During the Fall, September-December, our theme is Fall Fun: Focus on Faith. Here’s the
schedule: More details in a couple weeks.
1st Sun. – WELCA (Oct. will be 2nd Sun)
2nd Sun. – Games (Oct. will be 1st Sun)
3rd Sun. – Cookies & Conversation
4th Sun. – Potluck
5th Sun. Oct. 29 – Reformation – Birth of the Lutheran Church and Very, Very Merry Unbirthday for Jul-Dec Birthdays.