Day 7: Woman, great is your faith!

 

Woman, great is your faith!
(Matthew 15:28)

1 Samuel 1:13-17
Matthew 15:21-28

Reflection

Eli misjudges Hannah’s deep and fervent prayer and condemns her, dismissing her supplications as drunken ramblings. Yet the words of her reply, calling on him not to dismiss her as ‘a worthless woman’ softened his heart and he sent her away with a blessing. Likewise, when the Canaanite woman came to beg Jesus to heal her daughter, he initially dismissed her, saying that he had come only for his own people. Yet she persisted in her begging and challenging and eventually, recognising her great faith, Jesus granted her request. In both cases, a woman who was initially marginalised and judged unworthy of attention turned out to be speaking prophetic words that softened hearts and brought healing and wholeness.

The marginalization and dismissing of women’s voices continues in our own times. Indeed even within our churches we are often complicit with cultures that devalue women. As Christians become aware of their own failings in this area, they come to recognize more clearly the horror of violence against women and children, snatched forcibly from their homes and trafficked to other lands. These and many other migrant workers are often treated as less than human, and are denied the most basic human rights. In recent years churches in Indonesia have taken common action against human trafficking and the sexual abuse of children. Their efforts, and those of people of other faiths, are all the more urgent since the number of victims in some parts of their country is increasing daily.

As Christians unite in prayer and study of the Scriptures, truly listening for God’s voice, they can discover that God also speaks today through the cries of the most abused in society. It is when they hear God’s call together that they are inspired to join in common action against the scourge of human trafficking and of other evils.

Prayer

Gracious God,
You are the source of human dignity. 
By your grace and power 
the words of Hannah changed the heart of Eli the Priest; 
by your grace and power 
the words of the Canaanite woman moved Jesus to heal her daughter.
As we search to manifest the unity of the Church, 
grant us the courage to reject all forms of violence against women 
and to celebrate the gifts of the Spirit 
that women bring to the service of the Church. 
This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God for ever and ever. Amen.