James 1:17 / Mark 7: 1

The Gospel story of the healing of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman has long been seen as amazing. She was white, non-Jewish, a woman and seen as an outsider as the Greeks were traditional enemies of the Jews. They had defeated and oppressed the Jews for well over 100 years. Jesus was sent to minister to the Jews. Jesus culture of the day would see her as a white dog that came wanting to take his time for  her daughter. Jesus felt he was sent to care for the children of Israel-hence the reference to children and dogs in the Gospel.

The Syrophoenician mother persisted in love for her daughter and trust in Jesus who was of a different colour- brown and religion than herself. We normally think of Jesus' compassion in healing her daughter a the core meaning of this Gospel reading.

However, there is much more happening here! Jesus was processing the situation! He was looking at his own attitude, his calling from God as well as having to respond to someone different and in an unimaginative situation. Jesus used reason, love and his own faith principles to solve this emerging problem and to change his own mind about his plan of action. He did not rely on old doctrinal formulas of his faith. This different problem solving process is application of "Process Theology”. It is what we as Anglicans do as we confront the emerging issues of our day. We work to apply God's love through reason to the new situation. Ministry is therefore dynamic and engaging in new issues through the love of Jesus. It is a model to think progressively and holistically, to practice ministry as Christians to "think beyond the box”.