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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Second Sunday in Lent, February 25, 2024

The Second Sunday in Lent, February 25, 2024

Jesus is most offensive and certainly politically incorrect in this response to the woman’s plea that he help her daughter. “Dog…” he implies and “dog” he means, for the generations-long custom among the Jews did indeed give this name to the Gentiles… to those who were not Jews. “Dog,” Jesus says and gathers in all Gentiles… all Gentiles, including you and me. “Dog,” Jesus says and names us as beggars… beggars gathered around the master’s table awaiting scraps… beggars crying, “Have mercy on me, Lord…” And that… that exposes a second difficulty for us. Not only is Jesus offensive and politically incorrect in his response to the woman but it’s obvious that he would rather have remained silent. He does not respond to the woman’s pleas until his disciples insist that he visibly reject her by sending her away. Silence… rejection… offense… Not the typical responses usually depicted as coming from Jesus. This is not the warm and fuzzy Jesus of Sunday School and wishful thinking. This is not the wishy-washy Jesus of a sentimental sort of love… love… love… No. What is given us in this account of the Canaanite woman is an edgy Jesus… a Jesus who doesn’t conform to the stereotypes we’ve built up in our minds… a Jesus who refuses to be easily categorized.

Prayers from sinners who cannot help but confine their Lord in easy and comfortable categories . . .

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. Forgive us as we futilely fit you into our human and sinful categories; re-establish in us the mind of Christ as our preacher pours your Word into our ears; and stir up your Holy Spirit that our hearts would be possessed by the faith you provide. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. Lift us out of despair and keep us from pride as we look to the works of our hands, seeing them in either paucity or plentitude. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. Hold us steadfast in your promise that our sins are forgiven, even in the face of the world’s contradictory evidence. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us.  Present us before our neighbors, not as an object of scorn or pity, but as a brother or sister to Christ and a fellow member of the household of God. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. Bring our neighbors to us in times of trouble so that, even as they call upon the Lord for deliverance, the Lord would use us in their time of need. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. We do not know the end of this venture we call the Institute of Lutheran Theology. Keep us confident that you have called us into it and that you will bring about the end you desire. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Heavenly Father, your mind and your ways are inscrutable to us. How long must we wait, Father, for your Son to come in all his glory? We do not comprehend the delay but even in our lack of understanding, hold us patient in our wait for his final revealing. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

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