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Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

September 5 , 2021

A Meditation

 The gospel story for today, about Jesus’ healing the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, is significant. In fact, this is one of Jesus’ most important miracles because of the context of the miracle. It teaches us about Jesus, his larger ministry, and his moral development.

Jesus doesn’t want to do the miracle. He tells the woman that he came to teach and heal the people of Israel. Jesus compared the woman’s request to serving the good food of the dinner to whining dogs under the table. The woman, not to be dismissed, punched back by observing that even dogs can eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table. Her rejoinder silences Jesus. Her upbraiding of Jesus, and his response indicates he now realizes his ministry is universal.

Yet, there is an adjunct to this realization. That is that Jesus hasn’t yet been formed yet with the highest, godly ethical sensibility. I know I get chastised for saying this, but I don’t think that Jesus was completely formed at the point he began his ministry. Rather, the initial part of his evangelical journey was a learning experience. Truly, Jesus was a quick study, but at least in this gospel passage, he stumbles. Not a fall so much, but a stumble, nonetheless.

I find this very edifying and illustrative of Jesus’ humanity and humility. I think Jesus’ awareness of his godhead evolved. I don’t think Jesus put all the pieces together right away. He needed guides along the way. His study of scripture was virtually encyclopedic, to the extent he could quote passages from memory, putting them to use in surprising ways, particularly for the project of social justice. Surely an important guide was John the Baptist. And Jesus listened to the people he ministered to. That is why we should search out the children of God. That is what Jesus learned that day from the woman with a sick daughter. A child of God that Jesus could solve.

Pastor Neil

OPENING ACCLAMATION

Celebrant and people We gather together as we live our lives, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 Celebrant  Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;

People        His mercy endures forever.

Celebrant         Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

THE COLLECT OF THE DAY

 Celebrant         The Lord be with you.

People            And also with you.

 Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.

The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.

Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate;

for the Lord pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.

Reader     The Word of the Lord.

People      Thanks be to God.

 

Palms 125, said responsively

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, *
which cannot be moved, but stands fast forever.

The hills stand about Jerusalem; *
so does the Lord stand round about his people,
from this time forth for evermore.

The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just, *
so that the just shall not put their hands to evil.

Show your goodness, O Lord, to those who are good *
and to those who are true of heart.

As for those who turn aside to crooked ways,
the Lord will lead them away with the evildoers; *
but peace be upon Israel.

 

Epistle From the Letter to James At The 2nd Chapter

James 2:1-10, 11-13, 14-17

Reader   A Reading from James

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Reader: The Epistle of the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.

 

                     A Reading from the Gospel of Mark, at the 7th Chapter  Mark 7:24-37

Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So, she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.

People     Praise to you, O Christ.

 Sermon                                           Pastor James Holmes

 

Prayers of the People

 Reader     In peace, we pray to you, Lord God—

Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Guide the people of this land, and of all nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Heal the rifts that bind, vex, and scare us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory. Heal the wounds of those who have been victimized by climate change and destruction. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give us purpose and hope in troubles; and bring us the joy of your salvation. Bestow courage upon those who look out at the world, and who wonder if there is a safe and gracious place for them. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We commend to your mercy all who have died, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Silence to lift up our own prayers to God

Celebrant         Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage, we may always be supported by this community of fellowship of love and prayer. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

 

A Confession of Our Sins to God

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Silence may be kept

Minister and People

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ; strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.

 

The Peace

Celebrant  The peace of the Lord be always with you.

People     And also with you.

 

 The Great Thanksgiving

Celebrant        The Lord be with you.

People              And also with you.

Celebrant         Lift up your hearts.

People              We lift them to the Lord.

Celebrant         Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People              It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. For you are the source of light and life, you made us in your image, and called us to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Celebrant and People Holy, Holy, Holy Lord—God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Celebrant         We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore, according to his command, O Father, we say together:

Celebrant and People              

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Celebrant And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death,
resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be ☩ for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

 Celebrant and People     By Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 People      Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

A Call to Communion

Celebrant   The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

 

The General Thanksgiving

Celebrant and People

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The Blessing

Celebrant         Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, do justice, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

People      Thanks be to God.

 

More about the artwork on this bulletin

The Roman historian Justin wrote that Tyre’s original founders arrived from the nearby city of Sidon in a quest to establish a new harbor in Tyre, located in the great, ancient homeland of long-distance sailors in Phoenicia, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC) visited Tyre around 450 BCE. He wrote in his Histories that according to the priests there, the city was founded around 2750 BCE, as a walled place upon the mainland, now known as Paleotyre (Old Tyre). Archaeological evidence has corroborated this timing. Excavations have also found that there had already been some settlements around 2900 BCE, but that these were abandoned.

The New Testament holds that Jesus visited the region of Sidon and Tyre, where he performed the exorcism of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter.  According to the Bible, Jesus healed a Gentile (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24), and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17, Matthew 11:21–23, and stuck with Jesus throughout his ministry.

A Christian congregation was founded in Tyre soon after the death of St. Stephen. Paul the Apostle, on his return from his third missionary journey (c. 33-36 CE), spent a week in conversation with the disciples there.

In the early second century CE, Emperor Hadrian, who visited the cities of the East around 130 CE, conferred the title of Metropolis on Tyre: “great city”— mother of other cities. This status was of “utmost importance,” as it settled the ancient rivalry with Sidon in Tyre’s favor—for the time being. Hadrian also allowed Tyre to mint its own coins, which have been found in archeological digs.

Subsequently, the famous Triumphal Arch and the Tyre Hippodrome, one of the largest hippodromes in the world (480m long and 160m wide), were constructed. The amphitheater for the horse-racetrack could host some 30.000 spectators. An aqueduct of about 5 km length was built to supply the city with water from basins in the South. While Tyre is truly one of the world’s oldest cities, in medieval times for some centuries only a small enclave lived there. The city has many ancient sites, and was added in its entirety to UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sites in 1984.