Word for the Week
Sunday, August 20, 2017 Lectionary 20 Introduction
In Isaiah we hear that God’s house shall be a house of prayer for all people and that God will gather the outcasts of Israel. The Canaanite woman in today’s gospel is a Gentile, an outsider, who is unflinching in her request that Jesus heal her daughter. As Jesus commends her bold faith, how might our church extend its mission to those on the margins of society? In our gathering around word and meal we receive strength to be signs of comfort, healing, and justice for those in need.
Prayer of the Day
God of all peoples, your arms reach out to embrace all those who call upon you. Teach us as disciples of your Son to love the world with compassion and constancy, that your name may be known throughout the earth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
The prophet calls upon Israel to do justice in view of God’s imminent intervention to save. Righteousness and obedience define who belongs to the Israelite community—not race, nationality, or any other category.
Psalm: Psalm 67
Let all the peoples praise you, O God. (Ps. 67:3)
Second Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
God has not rejected Israel. Rather, the call and gifts of God are irrevocable, so that while all have been disobedient, God has mercy upon all.
Gospel: Matthew 15: [10-20] 21-28
Jesus teaches his disciples that true purity is a matter of the heart rather than outward religious observances. Almost immediately, this teaching is tested when a woman considered to be pagan and unclean approaches him for help.
Theme for the Pentecost season (summer)
The depth of God’s love, the extent of His abundant grace, and the certainty of His unwavering faithfulness are far bigger than any of us can ever fully comprehend. These freely-given gifts are ours, regardless of our level of faith or understanding.
This Pentecost season is a time for us to grow our faith and immerse ourselves in God’s abundant love. Our weekly worship gathers us together to hear God’s Word, learn through Jesus’ teaching and example, share in God’s Meal, and be sent out to share God’s abundant love with the world.
Listen. Learn. Proclaim.
This is God’s call this Pentecost.
Open our Hands.
Open our Hearts.
Open our Lives.
This is our prayer as we answer His call.