FIRST LESSON: Exodus 2:1-10 (p. 89)
SECOND LESSON Matthew 15:21-28 (p. 1522)
SERMON: “Soccer-Mom Faith”
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
― Washington Irving
Mom—the person most likely to write an autobiography and never mention herself.
— Robert Brault
If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?
— Milton Berle
I never got to be a soccer-mom, and I apologize to all the parents who have told me over the years that they would miss a meeting, choir practice or worship because their child or grandchild had a hockey, basketball, football game or track meet and my eyes just close. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic; it’s just that kids in sports weren’t a part of my particular experience as a mom. So I hope you’ll forgive me if my thoughts this morning about what I’ve chosen to call “soccer-mom faith” are not 100% sports-world accurate, but come from an impression gathered over the years.
First let me say that soccer moms don’t care if their child [or grandchild] is their biological offspring or adopted. Matthew tells us of a Canaanite woman who came seeking healing for her daughter. There is nothing in the narrative to indicate the girl is anything other than her biological child. From Exodus Dottie read for us about Pharaoh’s daughter adopting the baby she discovered floating in a basket on the Nile. She named him Moses because she drew him out of the water. Now Moses’ birth mother was still living and was engaged to nurse the baby. Did either woman love him more or less than the other? No. Whether a child is adopted or biological – mom loves him/her. I have a friend who has three daughters; the younger two are very close in age, one is adopted and the other, like her oldest, is their biological child. I can never keep straight which one is adopted and which isn’t – and I think that is because when she brags about them, my friend never makes any distinction.
Moses’ mother did what she had to do to protect her child. A new king had come into power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph and this king became alarmed that the Israelites were growing in numbers. So first he enslaved the Hebrew people, and when that didn’t do it, he gave an order to the midwives that when they attended a birth, if a baby was a girl, they could let it live, but if a boy, they were to kill it. So Moses’ birth mother gave him up to Pharaoh’s daughter to save his life.
The Canaanite woman heard about the miracles and healing power of Jesus, so when her daughter fell seriously ill, demon-possessed she believed, the woman braved the crowd and pestered Jesus to heal her. This woman would do what she had to do to save her daughter. Jesus ignored her until the disciples came and asked him to send this annoyingly persistent woman away. Notice he says to the disciples that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Perhaps overhearing, but certainly not giving up she kneels in front of him and begs, “Lord, help me!”
We don’t like this part of the story much because it seems to pain Jesus in a rather uncompassionate light: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Really? Is he calling her a dog? Is there a limit on the number of people he can help and heal that helping this woman’s child will take a healing away from one of the Israelites? Or is it a test of her determination? And she is determined, so determined that she snaps back, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” For the sake of her child this woman risks ridicule and endures insults. She never gives up. Her faith and certainly her persistence are rewarded; her daughter receives healing.
Sometimes mom-faith/dad faith has to challenge the authorities. Jay Leno told about his mother, who as an immigrant lived in constant fear of deportation. You could miss up to four questions on the citizenship test, and his mom missed five. The question she flunked on was: "What is the Constitution of the United States?" The answer she gave was: "A boat," which wasn't entirely wrong. The USS Constitution was docked in Boston. But the judge instantly denied her citizenship. Jay’s father stormed up to the judge. "What is this? Let me see the test! She's not wrong-the Constitution is a boat!" The judge rolled his eyes and said, "No, the Constitution is our basic governing-" "It's also a boat in Boston! The Constitution! Same thing! Come on!" The judge finally couldn't take any more. He said, "Fine. She's a citizen. Now get out of here!”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his [children], you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Good soccer moms are like God who will go to whatever lengths are necessary to protect and save his children. God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).
And to the Christians in Ephesus Paul wrote, “In love 5 God predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us.