Isaiah 35:4-7a & Mark 7:24-37
15th Sunday after Pentecost

We gather for worship here at Cloverdale United Church this week on the threshold of a new school year for thousands of people of many different ages within our faith community, scattered around our households and families, and all around us in the community.  We are happy to have the opportunity this Sunday to pray God's blessing upon those students, whatever their age, along with teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, and anyone who plays a role in the ever-important world of education.

As we turn to scripture this week, we resume a journey through the story of Jesus' life and ministry found in the gospel of Mark that will take us (with a couple Sundays' exception) all the way through the fall.  In this week's snippet, we watch as Jesus has a puzzling interaction with a foreign woman.  In response to a simple request for healing, Jesus seems to dismiss and even perhaps insult the woman.  The woman persists, and Jesus seems to change his mind.  What does such a scene say about Jesus and about God?  And what might such a scene say about ourselves?