The Wave - Reflections 9-5-18

For September 9, 2018
the 16th Sunday 
after Pentecost

Isaiah 35:4-7a 
Psalm 146 
James 2:1-17
Mark 7:24-37

The football team at the University of Iowa, the Hawkeyes, started an end-of-the-first quarter tradition last year that has made quite the national splash.  A new pediatric wing of the University Hospitals now overlooks the football field so everyone in the stadium, including the two teams, are invited to turn toward the new hospital and wave at the children (patients) who are looking through windows at the game. And the patients wave back; not surprisingly, it's called "The Wave". The team won the Disney Sport Spirit award for the tradition.

An older tradition that the team continues is the “Kid Captain” program where one of the patients from the pediatric hospital is named Kid Captain for a home football game. The Captain gets a special football jersey, is introduced at the football game, and gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium. I live far enough east of Iowa City that my TV station “market” is from the Quad City area (i.e., not Iowa City). When the Hawkeyes are at home, the station plays a short segment telling the story of the Captain of the week. You hear about/from some pretty amazing kids, but you also hear about parents who will go to the ends of the earth to find help for their child, whatever the ailment.

This text from Mark records a story about a mom who does whatever it takes for her child to receive help. You’d think taking her to Jesus would be a slam-dunk (oops, mixing sports). But Jesus refuses. She is outside the boundary of who he came to help.

That is a sentence to stop anyone. 

That is a sentence that could bring despair.

But like all of those parents of all those Kid Captains, this mom refuses to despair. She continues in determination, because this is her beloved daughter. “No” is just not an option. She will teach Jesus something about God, you know, God, who refuses to name anyone an outsider, who says there are no boundaries.

The other texts this week remind us all that God is indeed someone who seeks out those on the other side of the world’s margins. In Isaiah, we are told to take heart because God will come with justice and will save, healing all manner of people and things, especially the marginalized. The Psalm sings the praise of a God who keeps promises – who brings justice, food, healing, who cares for outsiders and those who are hurting. And James admonishes we who follow Jesus to avoid partiality and love all our neighbors.

My favorite question from the coming GIFT post for this Sunday which refers to the woman’s answer about dogs under the table get crumbs:

Who is “under the table” in your life? 

But possibly more important is what is your response to them?

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245