Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


How Prayer Changes Things

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman who wants him to heal her daughter. In the curious exchange that follows, Jesus first refuses and then the woman seems to cause Jesus to change his mind. I preached a first person sermon (from the perspective of Saint Peter) on this a few years ago called Food for the Dogs which began:

I knew that woman was going to be trouble the moment I laid eyes on her. She was not one of us that was for sure. Her clothes, her jewelry, everything about that woman was Canaanite. As soon as we saw her, all of us disciples worked to keep ourselves between her and Jesus. Making sure her type doesn’t get too close is part of what a good disciple does for their Rabbi.

Not that I was surprised to see a Canaanite. We were walking near the border of Israel. In that area we often saw pagans in the towns and on the road. But good Jews knew to steer clear of people like that. And the Canaanites left us alone for the most part. They didn’t care for us and we certainly didn’t care for them. Canaanite’s were lower than Samaritans. That’s why we all called them dogs. Dogs. Wretched little dogs nipping at your heals.

Don’t look so shocked. You just don’t understand the bad blood between us Jews and those people. After all Canaanites were the remnants of the evil tribes who had lived in our land before Moses brought our ancestors out of Egypt. Canaanites were the nasty idol worshipping scum Joshua conquered as we took possessions of the Promised Land. Those people were depraved. You don’t know what sick practices they found normal. Canaanites sacrificed their own children to their idols! I don’t know the half of what those people did in their rituals myself and it still makes me sick.

The Canaanites were the ancient enemy who now lived on the borders of our land. The disgust I felt on seeing a Canaanite was mixed with a bit of fear, an ancient apprehension. A Canaanite always got the hair on my neck standing on end. Even the women, but especially that woman.

You always knew that Canaanites had no idea about how a decent person was to behave, but this woman was unbelievable. As soon as she saw Jesus through the pack of us disciples trying to keep her at bay, the Canaanite started calling out to him. Yelling like an idiot. What did that cur think she was doing? A woman talking to a Rabbi was strange enough, but we knew Jesus didn’t bother with that tradition. He always spoke with women as well as men. But this woman was bellowing through the crowd, yelling the strangest thing.

“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!”
“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!”

She had her words so perfectly right when she was so completely wrong. It’s like hearing a precocious child explaining some complicated bit of learning. The words are all right, but you can’t quite believe the one saying them has any idea what they just said.

To finish reading the sermon, follow this link: Food for the Dogs.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 8/17/2008 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Today's sermon was so very difficult to hear.

    I'm sorry!

  • At 8/18/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I enjoy reading your sermons. When will yesterday's be online?

  • At 8/18/2008 10:11 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    It won't be online. I try to balance writing sermons out with giving some without a printed text. I will write them out for months at a time and then take a few weeks to give them without notes, to make sure I don't stay too text-bound in terms of the written words of my sermon. It's a way to keep myself fresh. Yesterday I had a couple of notes, but no written out sermon. Just a clear direction and an outline in my head. Sorry.


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