Monday, August 31, 2009

Mark 7:24-37

Pentecost +14 - Year B

Mark 7:24-37

Tyre - home of Jezebel. Jezebel - dispute with Elijah. Remember Elijah’s fear.

Tyre - place of a classic oppressor of the Jews. Jesus was politically correct in not wanting anyone to know he was there, also practically correct in the economic system of the place.

Together these are a source of tension. Jesus seems caught in history and contemporary economic realities as well as the whole male/female role distinctions of his day. No wonder the first word that comes forth from Jesus is “No!”

Hooray for strong women. This unnamed Syrophoenician woman stands firm, gives as well as she takes. Regardless of the unlikeliness of her knowing about Jesus (unless you posit the invisible women deacons around Jesus all the time but only noted by Mark at the end of his tale) we have this remarkable instance of Jesus repenting of his response.

We, too, are called to standing ground-of-care for sick, regardless of their heritage or relationship to us. This may need a repentance from us, but we have a model for that in Jesus. In light of last week’s emphasis upon what come out of a person, rather than what goes in, this raises interesting questions about Jesus’ initial response and reminds us of his brotherliness more than any god-ness.

If we carry this forward to Jesus’ travel further into Gentile territory and passing back through home territory to another Gentile pole we find a deaf mute. Gentile or Jew? What needs to come out of such a person that was not available for release until now? What needs to come forth from you that was not available until now?

For those who experienced such events, they, too, have something pushing to get out. Yes, astonishment and excitement. More, though, it is a sense of being able to do some something “well”, too. When you see everyday miracles, aren’t you encouraged to participate in one or even to initiate such? With new ears open to the need of the world, may you speak clearly, plainly.

Even if an Archie Bunker Jesus tells you to “stifle”, let the Edith Syrophoenician in you gently and strongly stand for a second chance, stand for healing, stand for grace.

[PS - I have just changed my composition software and wonder if that poses any formatting changes to folks on different systems. If so, please let me know what change occurred. Thanks. Wesley]

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