The Sunday of the Canaanite Woman which comes before our three weeks of preparation for Great Lent is one of my favorite points in the liturgical year. Its teaching is about God becoming incarnate and being light in the world. Jesus came and sanctified all creation not just a certain part of the world. We see that through this story. The disciples and the others believed that Jesus had come just for Israel and wanted to send the woman away. Jesus let her come to Him but challenged her, and she persisted.
This comes just after Jesus’ teaching about what comes out of the mouth, not what goes in, is what defiles. This woman who was not Jewish and was not clean according to the custom believed Jesus could heal her daughter and she was willing to do what it took to get to him. She wanted Jesus no matter what the price was she had to pay.
In my original Christian experience guilt was the driving force. We wanted to follow Jesus, we wanted to really make a difference, but we wanted to because it was expected. I have no doubt that the people I was with were devout Christians. They just hadn’t been freed to love God on their own terms. We read books, listened to sermons, and even attended college trying to find God. Most of the teachings, no matter the source, were focused on; do this, don’t do that, and God will show up. When everything is rules and formula based we leave no room for God. We want to be light in the world, but we want it on our own terms.
I’m not a pastor, preacher, monk or priest I’m just a guy with a cheap laptop who has started reading the bible again and just listening for God’s leading. I have given up my wants and have begun to ask God to guide me and help me be a light in the world. I no longer believe I am a bad person, I am a good person who has done bad things and so are you and everyone around you. Being a light in the world means realizing God loves everyone and He uses us to express his love. Will we mess up? Of course we will. I got the hiccups in 1999 and thought God wanted me to be a pastor. 15 years and a lot of money later I can say, that was a mistake, but I know better what not to do now, and I am closer to God than I have ever been.
Love God and listen for his guidance, love people and forgive them for their shortcomings and you will be the light He created you to be.