Lent 2017 - Table Scraps and Saliva

Jesus uses and blesses the ordinary elements of our world—even things we consider disgusting and undesirable. God does not just unite himself with the nice, clean, admirable parts of humanity; he takes it all—the dirt and the darkness. In a word, the Incarnation is vulgar. The grace of God himself is active in spit. Jesus showed yesterday that he isn’t above “bathroom talk.” In John’s gospel, he actually heals a blind man by making a miraculous mud pie with saliva and dirt. Nothing is too low. Nothing is excluded. There is no room for elitism in the gospel of Jesus. Remember this when reading the first part of today’s story.

  1. Read Mark 7:24–37.
  2. Ask God for his humble and generous heart that embraces all things.
  3. Sit at the table as the woman approaches. See her modest appearance and meek voice. And yet she is also bold. What is the tone of their conversation? Why does Jesus say something that seems so insensitive and even racist? Imagine the disciples' reactions. Then move on to observe this private healing. Feel Jesus fingers in your ears and (gross as it may seem) his spit on your tongue.
  4. What do these stories show you about Jesus and thew ay God works?
  5. Give Jesus thanks for his saving help. Ask him how to tell the story of his deliverance without restraint. Pray this portion of Psalm 40:9–10, singing along with the man who can now speak:

    “I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
    see, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
    I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
    I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9–10).

    Repeat this shorter verse throughout your day: “Lord, open my lips; and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51:15).

About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC