Sermon Shorts 8-20-2023

Main Character Syndrome

This story has something to say to you. A friend of mine pointed out that when reading scripture, Christians often have a terrible case of what kids these days call main character syndrome.

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with that phrase. But main character syndrome is this– the situation where we often unknowingly view ourselves as the center of the world.

Whatever the plot line of the story is, it’s about us, really. We’re simply the main character, you know? So reading the Bible too, it’s about us, right? And we are by implication, because this is what the main character always is, the hero, or at least on the right team.

Not so in this case. And frankly, most of the time in scripture, if we’re reading it thinking that we’re the good guy in whatever story we’re reading, we’re probably making a mistake.

Not the Children, But the Dogs

If we’re ever tempted to write anybody off for reasons of, well, anything, but class or immigration status, sexuality, whatever, Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees applies to us too. You are not here because you did anything special. You’re not here because you earned it.

You are here because Jesus let you in, inviting you to open your heart and be saved, to feed on the crumbs that were originally given to another people entirely. “You’re not the children the bread is for, you’re the dogs.” And I have to think that the apostles were repulsed by a Canaanite woman calling Jesus “Lord” or “Son of David.” That would have had to bother them a lot. Like, who are you?

And then I think about how many Christians feel, in many traditions, hearing a woman preach. How you might hear a gay person proclaiming the Word of God, or that some church is helping immigrants or refugees or convicts or addicts, who do these people think they are?