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A likely story

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Mark 7.27

It is the most disconcerting and uncharacteristic exchanges involving Jesus: his encounter with a Greek woman, who begs him to heal her daughter. It is hard to interpret Jesus' initial response as anything other than insulting, implying that she is a dog undeserving of his favour. The woman's persistence coupled with her dignified and witty riposte appears to win Jesus around and he rewards her with the healing of her daughter.

Both females remain un-named, yet their involvement with Jesus has the ring of truth because it is not altogether flattering of Jesus, despite recording another of his boundary-crossing miracles. And perhaps herein lies its significance. The Kingdom of God advances in surprising ways. (Apparently) chance encounters precipitate spontaneous exchanges which break new ground, both in the lives of those directly involved and among those who inherit their legacy.

Far from being remote, God presents himself intimately and open to persuasion. Faithfulness finds expression, not in dull conformity but in the lively interplay of our personal relationship with God.



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