Sunday, 9 September 2012

Thought for Trinity 14

There is something shocking about today's Gospel reading. Jesus has gone to Tyre to get some space from the crowds and to 'reboot' after healing, calming storms, feeding the 5000 and arguing with the authorities. Maybe the woman caught him off guard, but there is no doubt that he reacts to her as a 1st Century Jewish man would, by rejecting and insulting her.

One of the really tough things to get our heads around as Christians is this idea that Jesus was both 100% God and 100% Man as is set out in the Creed. Part of being human is learning. Jesus learnt to walk and talk - just as we did. He also learns more about what it means to be God from this woman. Her reaction to his replaying of old prejudices is not to argue with him, or challenge his human preconceptions but reminds him that there is more than enough love and grace in God to go around! 

The challenge here in this Gospel passage is the reminder that we all have preconceptions that make us deaf to hear God in others. At the heart of God is an inclusive love that invites all in and can shine through all as God decides - not as human preconceptions allow!

If you want to think more about this, take a look at this short Bible Study by Dr Evie Vernon, a Jamaican theologian. It finishes with this poem that casts the gentile woman as a Jamaican woman reflecting on the experience of the encounter.  

Let us hear the words of the foreign woman:
Who you calling Dawg?
Yes, you, preacher man.
I hear you is a healer,
So I push me way through this crowd
Of laughing, taunting men
Who see all like me as dirt;
Bitch and foreign bitch to boot
I snarl and growl me way through
I don’t mind them
I would do anything for me daughter
I force me way to you
And tell you me need
And you look on me and call me ‘Dawg.’
I bark right back,
“An Dawg an all eat the scrapses
from Massa table”
And you look me in the eye
An you laugh and say
“You right. You daughter heal.”
An is true.
And I thank you
and I follow you.
But I still don’t understand
Why you had was to call we “dawg.”
But I glad you tell me I right
Before de crowd of dem.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this Angharad
    I wish very much that I could have been with you this morning and hear you speak. Much of our training this weekend was about listening and how we can develop our listening skills when being with each other. There are many consequences of our preconceptions one of which is of course that we do not listen to the other. When Jesus listens to the woman, her world is radically changed and because of that amazing generosity that is of God my world is also changed, and if mine then the possibility remains for another's world to be changed. Fr John