August 31, 2009

Labor Day

I'm not usually one to tailor my sermon around a national holiday, but it seems to me that the lessons for Proper 18 were custom built for Labor Day; not the cooking out, drinking beer, putting your feet up parts of Labor Day; not even the resting from one's labors part of Labor Day; but the reminder that Labor Day exists because we are a nation of (mostly) hard working people who, from time to time, deserve to steal away for a day, to rest, and to give thanks for the gift of labor.

Jesus is trying to take a Labor Day holiday, but there is no rest for him. Instead, he finds himself with his worldview blown wide open as the syrophoenician woman "begs" him to deliver her daugther from the labors of her demon. Coming on the heals of his "declaring all foods clean," the theme of transformation continues as Jesus is slowly moving from Rabbi to mind exploder.

The great blessing here is that the syrophoenician woman doesn't let Jesus stay where he is. "You can call me a dog," she says, "but even the dogs get the crumbs from the table so let me sit at your feet."

All Jesus wanted to do was have a cook-out with his buddies, but this Labor Day, he had his worldview blown wide open. I wonder which path I'll choose this weekend? With a small crowd expected will I have the guts to blow minds? May God make clear to me his will.

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