Jesus was on the verge of burn out from the crush of healin’ and teachin.’ It had been ages since he had a day off. So, he decided it was time for a little self-care. Jesus went on a personal retreat. He found a little house in which to hide out for a while and recharge.

No sooner had he shut the door than Jesus heard a knock. Before him was a distraught mother who fell at his feet asking Jesus to heal her emotionally disturbed little daughter.

Frankly, Jesus wasn’t at his best right now. He was drained and had gotten to the point of resenting people always wanting something from him. Plus, it was a bit galling that this woman didn’t respect his privacy and need for a prayer retreat.

Even though it went against his type cast as the "meek and mild" healer, Jesus let an exasperated expression slip across his face. At this point, the mother still on her knees, began begging Jesus to heal her suffering baby girl.

Then Jesus noticed she was Greek, a foreigner from Syrian Phoenicia. The Jews had disdain for them. This was the straw that broke the Rabbi’s back. Jesus went off on the desperate mom.

"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 their dogs."

Not to be denied the woman volleyed back, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs."

Jesus was convicted of his sin. He had fallen prey in a moment of frazzled weakness to the ugly prejudices of his upbringing and culture. His heart was broken open to compassion.

Jesus spoke from the depths of his aching soul. "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

The persistent mother "went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone."

This was the day Jesus got saved. From now on he was a different man. Instead of turning back to the familiar territory of Galilee Jesus took his preaching and healing ministry deeper into foreign lands, to Syrian Phoenicia and beyond.

Last week Arizona enacted a law that makes it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant. It gives the police broad powers to stop anyone they believe, with "reasonable suspicion," to be undocumented.

Nearly two-thirds of Arizona voters say they favor these tough immigration rules according to a Rasmussen Reports poll.

The poll also finds that 57% of Arizona voters favor an immigration policy that welcomes all immigrants except "national security threats, criminals and those who would come here to live off our welfare system." Seventy-six percent say it’s more important to gain control of the border than to legalize the status of undocumented workers.

I trust the lions share of these Arizonans would proudly call themselves Christians. I’m inviting them to follow the same path to conversion as their spiritual leader.

As Jesus would often exhort after a challenging teaching, "Go and do likewise."

Chuck Freeman

Chuck Freeman

Rev. Chuck Freeman has served as Minister of Spiritual Life with Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas since 1996. He is the creator, producer and host of the radio program “Soul Talk” in its 14 year of broadcasting. The program currently airs on Progressive Blend Radio based in Washington, D.C. http://www.progressiveblendradio.com/.

Chuck is the Founder and President of The Free Souls Project, promoting the integration of spirituality, democracy and ethics from a liberal faith perspective.
You can hear Chuck’s podcasts at www.freesoulsproject.org or peruse his blog at http://freesoulsproject.ning.com/. He is also a regular author on The Seminal, http://www.theseminal.com/.

His Op Ed Pieces have been published in the Austin American Statesman and with Austin’s NPR affiliate, KUT.

Chuck is a lively, reflective, down to earth man who combines irreverence, compassion, and a playful humor in his life and work.

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