Welcome back to We Wonder: Lent. Long ago, Jesus said to his friends, "Come: follow me." Today is Sunday in the third week of Lent, and we are following Jesus as he shows us with his words and actions that God's kingdom is coming close; it is almost here. Today we are in Mark chapter 7. After having a very public argument with the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus leaves Galilee and goes north to be quiet for awhile. He is going to a place where the people are not Jewish, and maybe the crowds will not follow.
Jesus has been drawing a lot of attention with his miracles, his teaching, and his arguments with the Pharisees. Now Jesus has come north, to an area where non-Jewish, or Gentile, people lived, and he is staying indoors and out of sight. I wonder why he did not want people to know where he was?
In those days, in that land, Jews and Gentiles called each other "dogs," and other names that weren't very nice. I wonder why this Gentile woman came to a Jewish teacher for help? I wonder why she believed Jesus could — and would — help her?
At first, when this woman asks for help, Jesus says no. He says that his work right now is with Israel — with Abraham's children — and not with Gentiles. How do I imagine his face and his voice when she answers him back, saying even dogs get the crumbs from the children's table?
Even though the little girl and her mother are Gentiles, they still get to taste Jesus's healing power. I wonder if the time is coming when everyone who comes to Jesus will be able to be a child at his table?
Can I imagine, for a moment, what it was like to be the man who could not hear or speak? He did not have hearing aids or sign language to help him connect with other people. He couldn't hear what his friends said to him, or share his thoughts and feelings with them. I wonder what it would feel be like to be cut off from everyone around me?
Can I imagine the feeling of Jesus's fingers in my ears? I wonder what it was like to have them suddenly opened, and to have all the sounds of the world around me come rushing in? I wonder what were the first words that rolled off this man's tongue? What would I have said?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to take with me and hold close?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.