Daily Devotion 27 August 2020
Mark 7:25-30 ‘Faith that Crosses Borders and Boundaries’
25 A woman, whose daughter had an evil spirit in her, heard about Jesus and came to him at once and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Gentile, born in the region of Phoenicia in Syria. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus answered, “Let us first feed the children. It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 “Sir,” she answered, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s leftovers!” 29 So Jesus said to her, “Because of that answer, go back home, where you will find that the demon has gone out of your daughter!” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed; the demon had indeed gone out of her.
In cricket, batsmen who hit the ball the most times up to or across the boundary line, scoring 4 or 6 runs respectively, are likely to win the game for their team. In sport, a boundary line defines the field of play. Boundaries provide children with a sense of security and establish behavioural limits. Teens develop their own identity as they test themselves against these boundaries – some of which may seem to them unduly restrictive.
Both domestic and national borders are often defined by walls and fences – sometimes barbed wire fences. They keep people out providing privacy and security. The Brexit debate (remember that?!) centred around the perceived control of our national borders. Borders can also act as barriers. They can keep people in. They may limit and restrict our movement. “Don’t fence me in” was a line from an old song which pointed to emotional and psychological ways in which we can be bound by barriers. Unlike Brexit, issues such as Climate Change, Social Inequality, and Covid-19 cross national frontiers. They are global issues: they have no boundaries, even though the current pandemic has led to various societal restrictions, decided by national governments.
So what of the biblical narrative? Well, the Ten Commandments provide an ancient blueprint of acceptable behaviour in society: well-defined boundaries. Jesus often crossed boundaries of belief, race, prejudice and gender. Think, for instance, of his encounter with the feisty Syrophoenician woman, who herself challenged our Lord to cross his own boundary lines. Jesus embraced the outcast ‘lepers’ of his society and healed the sick on the Sabbath. He was also quite prepared to bowl a ‘bouncer’ at the complacent. Sometimes he bowled a ‘googly’ at his own disciples, enabling them to think outside the parameters of their own prejudices. He certainly ‘hit for six’ those who practiced injustice and hypocrisy. No wonder those in power considered his teaching and actions to be ‘out of bounds’!
With Covid-19 we have all crossed a new and disturbing boundary. Life seems more fragile. It highlights the significance of necessary boundaries…but also some that need to be crossed as we move onwards. And of course, Christ-like love always has no conditions and no bounds. Over and Out’!
Address and Prayer © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
Image freely available online.
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