A theme in the lessons for this coming Sunday, Sept. 6, carries over from the epistle for last week Ephesians 6:10-20, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Since we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers we need to equip ourselves in God’s armor, truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and prayer.
Isaiah 35, 4-7a begins, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Ge strong; fear not!” God will come with vengeance and bring pay back against ones enemies, “He will come and save.”
The Introit, from Psalm 28, reminds us that, “The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.” The psalmist for this coming Sunday (Psalm 146) calls on us to follow him in praising the Lord with his whole being for as long he we may live. Our refuge does not come by putting our trust in princes, mere men in whom there is no salvation. When they die they return to the earth like everyone else. Rather, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, who hope is in the Lord his God.
In the Gospel lesson (Mark 7:24-37) that Jesus has ventured outside Israel north to Tyre and Sidon. When doesn’t want anyone to know he is there, but “he could not be hidden.” A Syrophoenician Gentile woman is fearful and anxious about her little daughter who is possessed by a demon. She finds Jesus and falls at his feet begging for help. After what we might regard as some harsh treatment on Jesus’ part the woman persists in her plea. Jesus is her only refuge. Finally Jesus sends her on her way with the news, “the demon has left your daughter.”
Prayer: Strong Shepherd of your people, who your Son stretched out his hands on the cross, you heard him and he did not become like those who go down into the pit. By his resurrection strengthen your .people to offer you thanks for the mighty works that you have done, and make our hearts dance for joy; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.the