Sacrifice and humility

For the Lesson titled "Sacrament" from July 8 - 14, 2013

Often prayer comes to us when we’re on bended knee: “Help me,” “Show me,” “Forgive me.” When we’re in a difficult situation, a few words spoken with simple honesty can change our world. The characters in this week’s Bible Lesson, titled “Sacrament,” show us how they made a covenant with God (the definition of sacrament) and let go of—or sacrificed—their human ego. They turned away from their agonizing situation and presented a transformed heart. 

Our guide to spiritual harmony comes as a set of promises from God, often called the Beatitudes. I love how each promise in this week’s Responsive Reading is a gift to us from God (see Matthew 5:1–12). They give us hope—and are a practical guide to living. One of my favorites is Matthew 5:5, “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” (Good News Translation). The Bible Lesson highlights stories in Matthew that exemplify the humility, hope, and promise of this beatitude.

When a woman from Canaan asks Jesus to heal her daughter (see Matthew 15:21–28, citation 7), he does not answer her. Kneeling, she prayerfully asks again. Jesus responds, stating that his mission was for the people of Israel. Instead of recoiling with a hurt ego, she perseveres, knowing that this is her path to God’s promise. She pleads, “Lord, help me.” Jesus responds again with an even stronger comment, using an analogy of a dog. With extreme humility, she declares, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Her extraordinary honesty was strong enough for Jesus to answer, “O woman, great is thy faith.” Jesus, humbled by her faith, heals her daughter. In doing so, Jesus expressed great humility, particularly after his initial responses to her requests. Some scholars suggest Jesus was testing her faith. Others suggest that, after praying, his understanding unfolded just as ours does. What appeared like a human impasse unfolded as an expression of love—a spiritual healing. 

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You Can Be a Healer
Deep listening showed me the way
July 8, 2013

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