Friday, August 18 2023
Our lectionary for Sunday, August 20th, Proper 15, deeply reflects God’s dream – a dream for a world that is much greater than national identity, a dream that welcomes all young and old, poor and rich, Gentiles, Jews and all ethnicities. A beloved Community! It is a dream that doesn’t love the walls we create – walls that separate, isolate, categorize and make us think we are safe. Nevertheless, history has taught us – or at least we should have learned the lesson – that walls are a mere illusion and those who build walls end up locked inside them. Those who believe that by defining their own space against others end up in a space that is only bare and empty.
Robert Frost wrote a poem called “Mending Wall,” which casts a cold eye on the real and figurative walls that divide us. The first stanza goes like this:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.
There is Someone who doesn’t love a wall and today’s extract from Isaiah introduces us to that Someone. Taking place when the Jews were released from Babylon to return to their homeland around 538 BCE, the prophet announces God’s salvation as a motive for maintaining justice and righteousness. This salvation will include non-Israelites – people from other nations to become worshippers of the Lord. God will bring those foreigners – all peoples - to his holy mountain.
Psalm 67 reminds us that we must be joyful – for God judges the peoples with equity and guides all the nations upon the earth.
In Romans, Paul is struggling to understand the disbelief of his own people – the Jews of Israel. Why do they reject the gospel of Jesus Christ? His argument reminds us that God’s gifts and call are irrevocable. God made an oath to Abraham and Sarah that he would always be their God and they would be his people. He dismantles the wall that divides Gentile and Jews as he reminds us that all are justified by his gift of grace.
Finally, in our Gospel – Jesus further removes the bricks from the wall of ethnic separation when he responds to the Canaanite woman and heals her daughter.
Please join us this Sunday as we embrace God’s dream – his yearning for us to break down our walls become his true beloved community.
In God’s Great Love,