Put down

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

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 7.25-30


She’d been called worse.
Dog, nigger, whore, welfare queen,
she’d heard it. People say stuff. So?
Doesn’t God love her daughter?
It’s not what you get called,
but what you say that makes you.
What she got called didn’t move her,
like the weather on the way to the well:
raining or hot, you just go through it,
you get the water.
So people call her things. Still,
didn’t God want her daughter well?
And now people will say things again,
call her a bitch, think of something mean.
Fine, say things.
Doesn’t God still love her daughter?

Jesus knows the inside of those names.
Got the scars from those stones.
Knows it won’t be long
till they think of some bad ones for him,
traitor, crazy, demon, trash.
And doesn’t God still love him?

Doesn’t God keep saying,
I don’t care what crap you throw,
I give life and tenderness and guts?
Doesn’t every Easter, every miracle say,
All those people you condemn,
I love and I will raise them up?
Doesn’t God say, You put them down,
put them away, put them out of mind,
call them queers, illegals, retards,
demean them, deport them,
imprison them, dehumanize them,
and don’t I love them?
Does God call them names,
or is the name God calls them Beloved?
Does God want to put that girl down,
or raise her up?
Isn’t that what the heck God does?


Yes, sister. It is.
You got it.
Even the dogs get the master’s crumbs.
The put-down, the shut-out, the dispensable,
the ones nobody cares about, nobody sees,
everybody uses, everybody shrugs,
they are God’s precious, God’s little sweeties,
and God will fight for them
like a mother for her baby girl.

Sister, you get it.
You know God cuts through all our meanness,
raises up who we put down.
You count on God to love against the flow.
No faith is worth having
that isn’t that.
Your daughter will be fine, Sister,
real fine.


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


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