Monday, January 31, 2011
Thrown to the Dogs
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. Mark 7:24-30
There is compassion between humans and animals. We make our animals part of our family and try to dress them up and play with them as if they were children sometimes. We have a dog name Petey, a girl we picked up from the pound who is a dear, silly sweet dog, always looking for attention and forever willing to go for a ride in the car. She puts up with a lot and loves us all unconditionally. And although she has a big bark, once she gets to know someone (and it takes about 4 minutes) she loves them completely too. My sister in law lost a beloved old dog this weekend and I know they are grieving deeply. Dudley was one of the family, the grand old man and with all his foibles and challenges, he was always happy to see them come home. Sometimes I wonder if the fact that God and Dog are mirror images of one another doesn't tell us something wonderful.
A mother aching for healing comes to Jesus who initially refuses her. I have always been upset by his brush off of this woman, a mother desperate for her child's welfare. And yet, I also know that we all learn best by coming up with the answers ourselves - we have to ask for what we need and seek diligently. The woman argues with Jesus and he delights in her faith and fortitude. Her child is made well in her willingness to press God and for God to delight in her fierce and steadfast love.
Today, I ask God to help me love and forgive unconditionally. With all my heart and mind I ask for faith like the Syrophoenician woman, who is not afraid to argue with God and is never willing to give up. As our beasts love us with reckless abandon, may we love the people whom God has blessed us with this day.