Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Prayer of a Woman Who Understood Crumbs - I

I remembered I had a pork loin marinating in my refrigerator late last evening that I had intended to roast on Saturday.  So...after an already long day, I had a short night's rest.  I am struggling to feel energetic about a new day so I went searching for a "kick in the butt" worship song.


The Canaanite woman - a Gentile dog
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter." She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.  
Mark 7:24-30

The Canaanite Woman.  We don't even know the name of this woman of great faith who knew that all her daughter needed to be healed by Jesus was crumbs. She called out to Jesus to heal her daughter, yet Matthew says:  "Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Matthew 15:23

Macrina asks, "What do you do when Jesus answers you not a word?...[I struggle with temptations..] There is the temptation of self-pity...the temptation to let my joy slip away...sometimes I am angry...the temptation to just go away. God hasn't answered my plea, so I don't ask again." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angles, p 43)

I have, at times, responded much like Macrina describes. I've had "good" prayers! I've prayed that someone be healed, or that someone would get a job or suddenly come into some much needed money! I have prayed for my own pains to at least be softened... Yet, God has seemed to remain silent. Have you ever noticed how LOUD silence seems?

A few days ago I played a video with the Simon and Garfunkel song, The Sound of Silence. "Hello Silence, my Old Friend..." Sometimes silence feels more like an angry force than an old friend. Yet this unnamed woman, in the silence of a blank stare, continued to look at Jesus and went to kneel at his feet, saying, "Lord help me!"
"Her response gives me hope. I love it. There are some of us who have forgotten how to kneel, and I am one of those with that poor memory. Yet when there is nothing left to do and nowhere else to go, it is then I remember my knees. I remember my family. When you're little and poor and you've no place to go, being on your knees before Jesus isn't a bad choice at all." (Wiederkehr, p 44)
She's right. I cannot remember when I have knelt to pray, yet each week I look at that stained glass window at the church of Jesus KNEELING in prayer.

So, here is this woman, humbling herself, yet still being persistent because she has a vision of her daughter being healed and she does not take "No." for an answer...even after she was called a "dog", she persists.  Why? How?  Macrina writes:
"...her heart was undivided. She knew what she wanted. She had come to Jesus seeking help for someone she loved. She would not allow her own hurt feelings to stand in the way of her prayer for help. She believed he was Lord! He called her a dog and she reminded him that the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table." (Ibid)
This woman amazes me.  I remain still, thinking of her spirit, her boldness, her belief... Yet, as Macrina writes, there are two other things that stand out about this woman.

  1. Her undivided heart that knows what it wants.  Even with the silence and the put downs, she remained focus on her quest...on her prayer.
  2. She had an unshakable vision that recognized she just needed a little.  Macrina writes, "Crumbs are what most people overlook, even in the spiritual life, because they are so busy grabbing for the whole loaf. But this woman didn't overlook them. Her heart was too single and pure to miss even the the opportunity of a crumb. 'Just a crumb!' 'Just a word!' Just a look of love!' 'Just desire my daughter's healing!' That will be enough." (Wiederkehr, p 45)
Scripture tells us that Jesus was impressed by her deep faith and he let her in. Macrina writes:
"Jesus saw the poverty within her that she had already embraced...She didn't deny her littleness, but neither did she wallow in it. She embraced it. Even in her kneeling, she stood tall. She was her self, her best self." (Ibid)

This is a wonderful story full of challenge for me. Macrina asks if I have ever thought of Jesus being impressed by my faith.

Wow...that thought can bring me to my knees.  Paul says, " Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Before writing anymore I want to reflect on Macrina's question if Jesus would be impressed by my faith.  I WANT Jesus to be impressed, do I rely to much on his accepting me as I am?  Do I rely more on his faithfulness than on my own?

Ohhh God, some hard questions to begin a Monday morning!  I want to have an undivided heart, yet I fear I am more likely to become distracted or even see your silence as being about me.  When that happens, I loose the focus of my prayer and as Macrina says, I become angry, sullen...  Send your Spirit of Pentecost into my heart! Help me become the woman you created me to be! To fulfill your purpose through me.  AMEN.

A reminder that I am so small, yet I am loved and am given crumbs so that I might rest in the love of our Awesome God - Michael W. Smith.

I'm still trying to get 25 "Likes" on the Facebook page for Laughing-Listening-Learning.  I need the 25 Likes so I can get a URL address rather than this one which is full of words and numbers.

I would so appreciate a "LIKE"! : )

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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