God and Change

I'm in a quandry and am looking for help. I am preaching on Sunday --- the gospel lesson is from Matthew: Canaanite woman comes to Jesus seeking healing for her daugher --- twice Jesus pushes her aside --- calls her a dog, no less! --- and then, she changes Jesus' mind! Woah!

Is it too "edgy" to say, "Jesus' eyes were opened in this encounter" --- just how much trouble will I wander into? So much emphasis is placed on the woman's action - on the "greatness of her faith" and so many seem to simply ignore the Jesus that is portrayed here. This is not a nice guy!

If God desires our prayer and invites us into the ongoing dialogue of the triune God (a la Moltmann) AND if God's nature is not duplicitous (which Brunner says is a big NO-NO), then God is, in fact, willing to change - i.e., to truly respond to our pleas. Is that a reasonable conclusion? that God can be compelled? Without this, I feel stuck with a reading of the text that says, "ah, this is the VERY human side of Jesus. . . stay tuned, next week, the God-side will show up again." Clearly, a reading I must - and do - reject. And, if God is not compellable (not sure the adjective works in this direction), then why do we pray? (o.k., let's save that question because I'm not really going down that path on Sunday).

Comments

G. Brooke said…
Well, it's too late to help, but I thought you'd be interested. Our priest (Episcopal, north suburban Chicago) went all out and suggested that Jesus was "prejudiced" going into the encounter, and was truly changed by it. He chose to weave this idea into the other lectionary readings, leaving me wishing he had focused more narrowly, perhaps going into a discussion of "fully human" and human shortcomings (but not "sins"?). But, that would have been my sermon, not his. The congregation seemed cool with the edginess of it, though.
Debra said…
It's never too late. . . well, almost never. After all, Year A comes around every 3 years or so ;) Thanks for your input. As you may have seen (see post 8/14/05), I too went with the Jesus who changes; my focus, however, was on how Jesus' openness to change is a model for us. Again, thanks! And, good luck with that dissertation!