Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sermon notes: Apple Festival (Sept. 9)

These are my sermon notes from my Apple Festival sermon:

What's in a name?

Jean Valjean - protagonist in Victor Hugo "Les Miserables" – (musical) Who am I?
  • Another caught in his name by Javert
  • “If I speak, I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”
John Proctor - film version of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"
  • refuses to sign his name to a confession
  • even if he will die because "its my name" (and the name of his sons!)
What's in a name? The Book of Proverbs tells us:

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.
Names are so important, God changes it - Abram & Sarai become Abraham and Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel, Simon Peter becomes just Peter, Saul becomes Paul...

Names help define us… (Jesus comes from the Latin and from Greek is Hebrew name Yeshua would mean “God is saving”)

So in today's Gospel, an unnamed woman approaches Jesus. We know he is in a gentile city, Tyre on the coast of the Mediterranean. We know that the Jews of Jesus time were among the lower classes in that region. The Syrophonecian woman entreats Jesus to heal her daughter. What parent wouldn’t seek healing for their own child? And yet there is a tension in her asking Jesus…

Jesus said, “"Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."

Is this the Jesus we follow? He calls the woman and her daughter “dogs!”

But it is this unnamed woman, this gentile, someone outside of salvation, who dares to entreat Jesus to help her daughter, who offers the retort… “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.”

She takes the name of the outsider, she takes the name dog and owns it in a way that helps Jesus see the faithful stranger. “ Good answer! ” he said. “ Go on home. The demon has already left your daughter. ” (using the CEB translation) Her answer & her faith define her!

What's in a name? Everything but it is up to us to own it and be faithful in the best and worst of times.
“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of…[for] the way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.” ~ Socrates

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