Word for the Week and Seasonal Theme

Word for the Week – Sunday, August 16, 2020 Lectionary 20, Year A

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
1Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 6And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant— 7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 8Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

Psalm: Psalm 67
1May God be merciful to us and bless us; may the light of God’s face shine upon us. 2Let your way be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. 3Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. 4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations on earth.5Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. 6The earth has brought forth its increase; God, our own God, has blessed us. 7May God give us blessing, and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe.

Second Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
[Paul writes:] 1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2aGod has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:10-28
10[Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Theme for the Season of Pentecost (summer)

Sustained by Faith
Living in God’s Peace
Look to the future with Hope

Hindsight is 20/20, as the old saying goes. As we reflect on our recent days of turmoil and perseverance, and as we dig deeper into our shared history, we can see that we have been sustained by our faith in the Creator, and called to be God’s hands in our world, ushering in the Kingdom of God that has been founded in faith.

We live in the present time, surrounded by disquiet. Jesus has promised us peace which passes all understanding, an ever-present help in times of prosperity and need alike. We approach the altar in our shared worship, showered in peace and love. We share this peace with our community by seeking out ways to provide for those who are hungry in body and in spirit.

God’s promised Holy Spirit lives among us, a blessing, and a comfort. We know that we can look to the future filled with hope. The days ahead are uncertain, but we know that we live them together, surrounded and uplifted by the Spirit of God. Having been sustained by faith in God the Creator, we live surrounded by the promised peace of God the Son. So equipped, we can now look to the future with the hope inspired by God the Spirit.