Year A Proper 15: send her away

Matthew 15:21-28: the Syrophoenician/Canaanite/canine woman. Some problems for the preacher.

What’s in a name?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
You old dog. Sly old dog. Dirty old dog.

Dogged. Hot dog. Dog eat dog.
Why keep a dog and bark yourself?
She’s a dog. She’s such a dog.
Lie down with a dog and get up with fleas.
Love me, love my dog.
A dog is a man’s best friend.

What do you feed to the dogs beneath the table?

Scraps. Crumbs. Leftovers. Flakes. Crusts. Scrapings. Fat.
Gristle. Rind. Skin. Bones. Broken pieces.
Dregs. Discards. Refuse. Rubbish. Five-second rule-breakers.
Dirty. Inedible. Not fit for human consumption.

What’s in a prayer?*

“We are not worthy so much as to
gather up the crumbs under your table;
but you are the same Lord whose property
is always to have mercy,”
aren’t you? Do you think
I am a wolf in sheepdog’s clothing?
Am I to hear mercy in your silence?
To gather up the dust from your feet?

What’s wrong with this picture?

My daughter’s cat, Sierra, begs like a dog;
she stands up on her hind legs, pawing the air for scraps,
begging for a bit of meaty love. It never fails, because
we think it’s cute, teaching her to beg like a dog.

*”We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.” The Book of Common Prayer, According to the use of The Episcopal Church, 337

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
This entry was posted in lectionary reflection, poetry, sermon preparation. Bookmark the permalink.

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