Michele McGrath, Presiding Bishopric
Then, looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” -Mark 7:34
I once traveled to Colombia with three young men, including my 18-year-old son. We spent three weeks teaching kids to swim in the warm Caribbean. We also shared in prayer, Bible study, and worship in church members’ homes. Late one night my son became ill and needed emergency medical care. Worried, I accidently left my purse and passport in the taxi. Suddenly I found myself in a foreign place, not completely fluent in the local language, without money, documents, or transportation, with a sick child needing medical care. It was a scary night! People took care of us, my son received excellent medical care, and the taxi driver returned my passport.
That experience opened me up. Now, when I see a foreigner, I remember what it was like to be one. When I see someone who doesn’t speak my language, I seek to understand because I know what it’s like. When I see someone without documents, I have compassion. When someone is desperately seeking medical care for their child, I cannot help but have my heart break for them just as it did for my own son.
In Mark 7:24-30, Jesus crosses into Gentile territory. He is now the outsider. His prophetic encounter with the Syrophoenician woman in that place opens him up in new ways and awakens compassion in him for a mission much broader than the house of Israel-his own people. Jesus is now prepared to compassionately respond to the next person he meets-the deaf man in verses 31-37.
Is your heart broken with the things that break God’s heart?
Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved. Reach out in understanding, clasp their hands, and invite all to share in the blessings of community created in the name of the One who suffered on behalf of all. -Doctrine and Covenants 161:3a
“Be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 163:10b).
This month, spend time each day noticing where divine grace is already pouring forth. Perhaps it is a simple awareness of creation’s systems and cycles that support our daily existence. The sun rises each day without being asked. There are underlying rhythms and relationships that hold the fabric of our lives together. Sometimes they fall into the background of our lives. We forget to see the natural generosity that spills over throughout our days-of the planet, the people we love, the Sacred Presence in all moments, the kindness of strangers we encounter, and the gifts we carry within. What is already being given in your life? What does it look like to be vulnerable to divine grace today?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.