I am going through a period wherein I have nothing to defend or to attack. A period wherein I read the bible almost for the first time. With eyes and ears and mind and heart that have only curiosity with a desire to find something good. I have no eyes and ears and mind and heart for and of a Christian, nor for and of a Muslim, nor for and of an Atheist – no preconceived notion of what is okay and what is not – no limits on who is in and who is not.
“From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” Mark 7:24-30
This is a bible preaching personal revolution, personal change, personal challenge of the boundaries I have set myself and others. A bible that challenges my comfort zones, my limits, my religion, my faith, my lack of faith. It is a bible of questions rather than answers. Of questions that invite me to find my own answers.
This Jesus. A benevolent chap. A restless chap. Here wishing anonymity. We are not told why. The why is not the important bit. It is a shade of colour. Just as is the way Jesus “could not escape notice“. A splash of texture. No more. No less. And then the melody begins. The music of disharmony.
A foreigner and unclean outsider. The rules say. The bible says. Traditions of the elders are clear: this woman is not welcome. And the bass line.
A repetition not of personal belief but of accepted belief, of the status quo, of the religious and cultural norms. Who gets fed and who does not.
Not a personal statement of this Jesus. But a reflected light on my beliefs. My beliefs of who is welcome and who is not. Not even a religious observation. But a universal observation. Who do I think deserves the same as I have? Who do I belong to – and who do I push away without even knowing I do?
And the music of harmony. “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
A little film of having so much that I drop much without a care – without any need to be frugal on my part. I have more than I need. So much more that I always drop “crumbs” without even a thought. Yet “crumbs” to me are “everything” for another.
A word. A smile. A thought. A kindness. An unnecessary kindness I could offer to another. And maybe the material – maybe the possession – maybe the monetary – maybe the practical. An invitation and a question.
And the finale. All ARE welcome.
Not because “all” are happy with crumbs. Not because “all” deserve my generosity. Not because “all” need saving. But because we are all “all”.
Because the homeless around us are just “all” in different circumstances. Because the “poor” is me is different circumstances. Because religious outcasts are me to someone else’s religion/faith. I am an outcast through birth and not just not belief. An outcast through cultural and religious norms. Always an outcast to another.
I could be an outcast to a Muslim – to a Hindu – to a Christian – to a Secularist – to a Naturist – to any label of belonging and clubness you name. Each “norm” seeks sameness and rejects non-sameness. Each with rules and regulations of “purity and cleanliness”. Which exert control. Which limit me. Which cause me to be unkind to those I think unclean.
And this demon?
What peace and balance do I find when I see you as “clean” no matter the labels or birthplace or choice made or beliefs held? And might I even regard that as having “been saved” …