I wrote this to find my way through a text that has particular importance at this point in our history. Jesus’ encounter with a Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 is the point at which we see that his mission is to bring the whole world into a new relationship with God and with each other. The Gospel is not for few chosen folks who have the right look, the right language, the right culture or the right anything. The Gospel of Jesus and the promises therein are for all of God’s children. All. Those who seek the exclusion (or worse) of others based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and whatever else seems to them unacceptable are ultimately on the wrong side of Jesus’ love. Thankfully for them, Jesus is gracious and forgiving and does not give up on anyone. Remember, he told us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute.
20 August 2017
Yet, she persisted…
Who can blame her?
Who could fault her efforts?
If he is good; if he is of God
Then he can deal with this demon;
This god-awful demon tormenting
My love, my child, my life…
“Show mercy! Have pity!
Dear messiah, Son of David, salvation!
Help her! Dear God – please, sir, help.
Release her from this torture,
Set her free, break the unseen chains
Of this heinous, diabolical oppressor.”
“Send her away now!” yell his own. “No longer
Let us be bothered by her self-inflicted poverty.”
“I was sent,” utters He, “to the lost sheep of Israel,
To God’s chosen ones, who for many generations
Have yearned for this sacred time of freedom.
Yet, she persisted…
“All we need, sir, is just some scraps;
Scraps of your power, scraps of mercy.
All my daughter needs is a small portion
Of the unused grace, of love taken for granted,
Of peace abandoned by those whom
You seek to feed and save.”
“Great is your faith!” says He. “Love fills you, wells up
In your heart, pouring out through you to many,
Filling the hearts of many others, ushering boldly
Into this wounded, warring world a renewed mission
A vision of all people and nations finally gathered together,
God’s children resting in my arms of gracious salvation.”
Yes. She persisted.
And where stand I among these ancient players?
And where stand you among the beloved redeemed?
Do you hear her cries and seek her silence in favor of comfort?
Maybe I am a small Canaanite woman persisting greatly in prayer?
Or, can we be Him – who hears her deep, unrelenting cries for help,
Who finally takes her side, to free her from the oppressor’s yoke?
This world of walls, unchanged amid centuries of change,
Still excludes, still seeks to silence the crying voices of the shunned.
No more do His followers seek after only the lost chosen children.
He gives us eyes to see sheep, alone, harassed and helpless.
His heart, beating through our own, is still moved by persistent cries.
Godly love, flowing from us, swallows division, makes the world whole.
And so, we persist…