Thursday, August 12, 2004

Called Out

Matthew 15:21-31 (The Message)

I took me a while to find Him. I came over hills, with my bare feet raw and blistering. The heat was unbearable, beating a sistah down. Heavy as a mother's heart.

I just need Him to help my kids. It has to be Him. There is no one else.

I see Him, and there is that hope and expectation rising in the midnight that is my life, full-bodied and immense, like a pregnant moon. He will give me what I need. I know it. I don't know how I know, but I trust Him. The Deliverer. The God-man. Before I am all the down the Hill I'm calling Him.

"Mercy, Master, Son of David!" I go on and on about my kids. I just need a mercy. The simplicity of Him seeing me.

I am taken aback.

He is not listening. He is ignoring me.

I don't understand. I have heard the reports of what He has done. He is Reckless Compassion. Why has He turned His face from me? His reaction fuels my desperation.

"Mercy, Master." I scream it until my throat hurts, until I am restrained, and He does nothing to stop the rough hands snatching me away from HIm.

I beg His men to help. "Don't you see? Don't you understand I need Him? Only Him?" I am cloaked in shame, but I can't help myself. Words tumble out of me and I realize I am babbling. I am no longer woman. I am panic. "It's my kids. I need help. I can't..." I look at the twelve. They have traveled, and they are tired and foul. There is no mercy to be found in them, and their cloying complaint rushes past me like an odor in the wind.

"Now she's bothering us," they say. "Will you please take care of her? She's driving us crazy."

Jesus refused. Oh, Dear God. He refused.

What do you do when Jesus refuses you? When he throws up His hands that look empty to you, but tells His followers, "I've got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel."

I don't belong. I am not His choice. I know it, and so does He. He doesn't have time for me.

It is only reasonable that I fall hard to my knees.

And then the words that kill me. Jesus calls me out:

"It's not right to take bread out of the children's mouth and throw it to dogs."


The words are a spinning vortex, stripping my insides. Heart, brain matter, blood and guts chip away, making a soup of my interior. I am terrified. Reduced to nothing. Did Jesus just call me a bitch? Every hurtful thing ever said to me becomes a part of this destruction . I am blasted in two, and I can't distinguish what is memory, and what Jesus is saying. My split mouth utters, "Mercy." But no one hears.

What was I thinking? Did I really believe I could approach the God-man? What arrogance in me. I am like the ones I've heard He called stiff necked. I haven't even considered my own sinfulness. I have no right to the Tree of Life. I am filthy next to Him. I am the things that are said about me.

But I still need Him.

I was quick. "Then make me your pet. Feed me from Your own hands."

I take his hand, boldly. I am unworthy, but my need is bigger than my pride. I want Jesus to own me. I remember the thieves and whores and accountants he has loved. Love this dog. This other from You. I kiss His hand. His words are true. I don't even bother to cry.

And some amazing thing takes place.

I feel the gentle touch of His surrender. He gives in to me. He lifts my face. He looks at me, as if I am His pleasure.

"Black woman, your faith is something else." That's what He said to me.

I laugh. I hear in Him the voice of my great-grandmother. My faith is somethin' else. He receives me. "What you want is what you get!" His voice is Power and Light and Assurance. I feel Him knitting me back together. My bones and organs are solid again. I am whole because He sees. His hand is still in mine. My children are well. I know this like I know that He has taken me. He owns me now. He is my master.

I kiss His hand again and scramble to my feet, until I am running, flying over hills, my feet strong and sure. Empowered by His Love.

Behind me, in valley I left behind, is the clamour of the healed. There is the sound of joy, unashamed. The mute are speaking, the paraplegics are walking around, and the blind, are memorizing the lines of His face.

What will you do with what Jesus calls you?

In love,
God's raga


bobbie said...

oh claudia - this is so heart rendingly beautiful. i almost put the line 'even dogs get the scraps under the table' into my blog post yesterday. i deleated and retyped them 2 times, eventually leaving it out of my post. reading your words today made your pain and christ so very real to me. thank you!

upwords said...

Reckless Compassion. He is that. Even for mothers with heavy hearts, people that don't fit in the crease of tri-fold brochures and neatly scripted faith statements. For us, there are crumbs, straight from the Master's lips, dewed with his breath, funky with his sweat.

That's a lot to take sometimes. What sustains us, what makes us whole is funky cornmush to those in stained-glass worlds with flowing banners indicating their crusades. I stare at the pregnant moon that is you on all forms, clawing with my fingers at the truth in you. At the lies in us.

You've got a TRAVELING MERCIES in you. I'm honored to be along for the ride. Again, you silence me. Make me stretch on my belly under His table with palms outstretched. I expect a crumb, but a hunk of bread, fluffy and sweet, thuds into my hands. I smile, knowing there will be many baskets full left over.

Broken bread and poured out wine. Thanks for the meal.


bobbie said...

sister?? you edited it out?? what's up? are you getting flack for this?? be strong woman, don't let the narrow minded get you down!

Candy said...

"What will you do with what Jesus calls you?" I fall on my face and cry out one more time for His mercy just like you did, Claudia. I know, I've been there. Thanks for putting words to where I've been. And for where I'm going. This was poignant and disturbing and perfectly honest. wow.

ragamuffin diva said...

Yeah, Bobbie. I edited it. Not because of the flack I got (and I did) but because I didn't want to cause any of God's little ones to stumble. I've found my freedom in Christ, but if my freedom is a roadblock to someone finding faith...

It's been a challenge. I didn't feel good about the edit. I feel the entry lost some of it's power, and that saddened me, but I tried to keep the honesty. I can't edit out the truth. But there's still power in that blog. I mean, the truth of it isn't so much in the word "bitch", which is mostly what was edited. This final version only uses the word once. The truth, as always, is in the question, "What do we do with Jesus?" What if Jesus called me dog, or bitch, which is a female dog? What if it were me washing His feet with my hair? What if Jesus were with me on my most depressed day? When I lost my virginity? Or what if I were with Him, on a boat as He tells stories? I engage the scriptures so that I find more of Jesus. I write so that people find Jesus. If people screw their eyes shut because I said "bitch" four times, then they won't see Jesus, and I've missed my purpose.

It was a hard call. It was a hard passage of scripture to engage. It was a lesson for me. One thing I learned is that no matter what, I can't please everyone. It's best I tell the truth, and yet, be sensitive to the people that are not so much like raga. My girl Mary say I have a bloody scalpel. I might have to cut away some stuff making folks sick. I might not have time for pain meds, or sanitizing. That's scary for people who are healthy (or think they are), but the ones with the tumors draining their life away; those people are glad to see a sistah coming, hard truth and all.

Ken says his John the Baptist. Thunder in the desert. A storm in a dry place. I'd just like to stay true to that, with or without expletives.

Thanks for your comments, and for all of you who come here and do this raga thang with me.

I love you all.

Paul said...
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Paul said...
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Paul said...

Just came to your blog via GraceReign

Thank you so very much for the things that you shared. Your sharing from the heart and your sharing from reality and not mere theory and most important you are being real and reality is what the world needs to see.

They need to see that Christians are real people, living in a real world, with real problems and they need to see that there is hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Raga, thank you for sharing from the heart and for being real, for the things you are sharing are speaking to the heart.

Keep on writing and keep on sharing and keep on being real.

May God continue to bless you as you write for Him!

Writing for the King,


If it is ok, I would like to add you to my favorite reads.