Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
For Sunday, August 17, 2014
Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time
At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
MT 15: 21-18
Is 56: 1, 6-7
Ps 67: 2-3, 5, 6, 8
Rom 11: 13-15, 29-32
And Jesus Was Human Too!
It took the persistence and faith of a woman to shake Jesus out of his own state of pride and ignorance. Believing he was only called to minister to “the house of Israel,” he initially did not see the fullness of his call. The Canaanite woman (or the Syro-Phoenecian woman depending on which Gospel you read), helped Jesus to see that he was not only called to minister to Israel, but that God’s word of love was for the whole world. The Canaanite woman understood this and, helped to facilitate Jesus’ own awakening, and in doing so, demonstrated to us that Jesus was human after all.
How does a glimpse into Jesus’ humanness change your understanding of and relationship to Jesus?
How does understanding Jesus’ humanness allow you to more fully embrace your own perceived shortcomings and imperfections?
Spiritual Practices – Embracing our own humanness
We are spiritual beings here to have a human experience. As such, it is not our task to escape our humanness, neither is it our job to condemn it. Instead, we are invited to accept our humanness, including our perceived imperfections and be open to how our humanness allows us to more fully serve God and the world. To help facilitate this awareness, you are invited to do a kind of Exam of Consciousness….but in reverse.
- On a blank sheet of paper, write down everything you think is wrong with you. Everything about yourself that you judge as negative or that you condemn as unacceptable.
- Go back over the list you have written and reflect on how these “imperfections” have helped you to grow – perhaps these imperfections have helped you to grow in humility, perhaps they have allowed you to be empathetic and compassionate toward others who share the same “imperfection.” Maybe you have found yourself helping others as they struggle with similar “imperfections.” If you struggle with this piece, offer a prayer to God, asking for God to help you see these “imperfections” through God’s eyes.
- Write a prayer or poem of thanksgiving for these imperfections, acknowledging them as a gift instead of as a curse.
- Close your prayer period by reading 1 Corinthians 12: 1-17. (You can find it in your bible or simply look it up in Google)
In Authentic Freedom we recognize that each of us is uniquely gifted to reveal God’s love in the world. It is easy to see the ways in which we are gifted through our positive character traits, skills and talents. It is more difficult to see the unique way in which we have been gifted in those things within us that we are tempted to condemn. If we suffer from depression or have struggled with addiction, for example, we might not acknowledge these as ways in which we have an opportunity to reveal God’s love in the world. It is often through our weaknesses and imperfections, however, that we are best able to reveal God’s love, and sometimes, we serve God more through our weaknesses than through what we perceive as our gifts. The invitation is to acknowledge that ALL that we are – the good and the bad, the darkness and the light, the perfect and the imperfect seeks to serve God and to be vehicles through which God’s love is known in the world.
How are you being called to reveal God’s love through your perceived imperfections?
How are you being invited to more fully embrace your entire self – dark and light, perfect and imperfect, loving and fearful?