Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 15th Sunday After Pentecost ( Year B )

With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).

 
 

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading:
Mark 7:24-37

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

Syrophoenician Woman
George MacDonald

“’Grant, Lord, her prayer, and let her go;
She crieth after us.’
Nay, to the dogs ye cast it so;
Serve not a woman thus.

Their pride, by condescension fed,
He speaks with truer tongue
‘It is not meet the children’s bread
Should to the dogs be flung.’

The words, because they were so sore,
His tender voice did rue;
His face a gentle sadness wore,
And showed He suffered too.

He makes her share the hurt of good,
Takes what she would have lent,
That those proud men their evil mood
May see, and so repent,

And that the hidden faith in her
May burst in soaring flame,
From childhood deeper, holier,
If birthright not the same.

‘Truth, Lord; and yet the dogs that crawl
under the table, eat
The crumbs the little ones, let fall –
And that is not unmeet.’

Ill names, of proud religion born –
She’ll wear the worst that comes;
Will clothe her, patient, in their scorn,
To share the healing crumbs.

The cry rebuff could not abate
Was not like water spilt;
‘O woman, but thy faith is great!
Be it even as thou wilt.’

Oh, happy she who will not tire,
But, baffled, prayeth still!
What if He grant her heart’s desire
In fullness of her will.”

*** This poem is in the public domain, 
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

The Syrophoenician Woman
Mariam Williams

Snippet:

And I remember the first slap that followed the slur, how soft
were the fingertips, so slick with oil and sweat the burning mark
seemed to reassure both ‘Know your place’ and ‘This, too, shall pass.’

READ THE FULL POEM ]

 
 

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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