CHANGING YOUR MIND.
I like to think I’m not entirely unfunny. More often than not, my light-hearted jokes land. But every once and a while (maybe more!), a joke doesn’t land. The pun falls flat or the punchline is just plain not funny. It’d be smart in those situations to just let it go. But usually, I’m not so wise. So I just dig that hole deeper, grasping at whatever I can to try to redeem it.
Isn’t that kind of how we live our lives? We make a bad decision but can’t quite seem to convince ourselves to change our minds. Instead, we try our darndest to redeem that decision as if changing our mind admits our guilt and burdens us with shame. What if we gave ourselves permission to do just that–to change our minds?
God in Art
Each week, we’ll post an image or artwork for you to reflect on.
Look at this picture. What do you see here? What do you notice?
God in Scripture
We’ll give you a scripture to reflect on. All scriptures are from the Common English Bible unless otherwise noted.
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.
In our tradition (the UCC) we believe that God is still speaking. So while we look to the scriptures for God’s revelation, we also listen for God’s voice elsewhere.
by Jane hirshfield
I was walking again
in the woods,
a yellow light
was sifting all I saw.
with a cold heart,
I took a stick,
lifted it to the opposite side
of the path.
There, I said to myself,
that’s done now.
Brushing one hand against the other,
to clean them
of the tiny fragments of bark.
God in Music
Each week, we’ll give you a song to listen to while reflecting on that week’s theme.
Each week, you’ll find some thoughts about that week’s theme. These aren’t meant to be final thoughts or decisive ones. Just a starting place for your own thinking to journey from in the following days.
One of my favorite stories from the M Gospels (Matthew and Mark–I just made that up. M gospels–Fun right? RIGHT?!) is that of the Syrophoencian (or Cannanite as Matthew tells us) woman. We don’t know her name. Only that her daughter was unwell and that she had very little to lose. Her boldness gave her the courage to approach Jesus, transgressing cultural and religious boundaries (He was a Jewish Man she was a woman who wasn’t of the same faith). And when she asks for Jesus’ help, he dismisses her. Mark’s version puts it this way: “‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.'”
Dogs? Really, Jesus? Dogs?
It would’ve been easy for her to take that as the answer, for her to walk away defeated. But she doesn’t. Instead, she challenges Jesus.
And do you know what he does? Jesus changes his mind.
While our theology teaches us that Jesus is fully divine and fully human, we tend to think of him mostly as divine. That is, we look to him as divinity in human form–not as fully human, too. But here’s that humanity in its full glory. Jesus is judging a woman based on society precepts. And when’s he’s called out for doing it, he does something else remarkably human–he changes his mind. And the fact he does it while fully human and fully divine helps us realize that changing our own minds isn’t something we do in response to our human brokenness but in our effort to become more like Christ.
What I’m saying is this: if it’s ok for Jesus to change his mind, it’s ok for you to change yours, too. Any time is a good time to start anew.
The Rev. Jonathan Chapman
Pastor and TeacherThe Rev. Jonathan Chapman graduated from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in May 2010. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis in Biblical Witness and Proclamation.
He joined Westfield in October of 2012 and was officially installed as Pastor and Teacher in May of 2013. He was selected to be a part of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative, a program sponsored by the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ that works with young clergy committed to parish ministry through a decade-long relationship. He has a passion for visual worship (a topic he blogs regularly about at revjonchapman.com) and married his husband, Greg, in December of 2014 at Westfield.